The Pens’ big comeback in the Stanley Cup Final helped a South Side bar avoid some humiliation and turn the tables on its counterpart in Detroit.

 

It didn’t look good for Carson City Saloon when the Penguins fell behind 2-0 and 3-2 in the seven-game series. But the Pens stormed back to win the final two games against Detroit and take the cup back to Pittsburgh.

 

Under the terms of a bet, The Rock On 3rd in Royal Oak, Mich., has to hang a Penguins jersey outside for an entire day and send a picture of it to Carson City.

 

The Rock on 3rd also has to send Carson City a case of Stroh’s, Bell’s and Founder’s, plus a round of ribs and pizza.

 

If the Red Wings had won, Carson City would have been forced to give up a case of Iron City, IC Light and Yuengling, plus a round of pierogies and kielbasa.

 

 

Check out WTAE’s videos of Sheldon Ingram at Carson City on the night of Game 7 …

 

1) Fired Up! Pens Fans Ready To Rock On South Side

 

2) Pie In The Face! Carson City Fans Party Before Game 7

 

3) Carson Street Crazy For Pens!

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Game 7 is a winner-take-all affair for the Penguins and the Red Wings, but a related bet is a sure winner for fans in both Pittsburgh and Detroit.

Cupcake Station in Birmingham, Mich., challenged CoCo’s Cupcake Cafe in Shadyside to a competition to see who has more fans during the Stanley Cup Final.

 

Each place is selling tasty cupcakes in the home team’s colors. One sale counts as one goal, and whoever has the most goals at the end of the seven-game series is the winner.

 

Check out the CoCo’s Web site for more info.

 

Bethel Park’s Bethel Bakery is also getting into the spirit with its “No-Cut Stanley Cup Cake” made from 24 individual cupcakes.

Check out the “NBC lineup” for tonight, provided by a Red Wings fan …

Nice try, but we think Pens fans will like this one better…

Because of NBC restrictions, Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final will not be shown on the big screen outside Mellon Arena.

big screenA blogger for Hockeybuzz.com is calling on Penguins fans to contact the network and ask them to bring back the screen.

It’s highly unlikely, since the screen has already been disassembled and removed from its spot outside Gate 3.

But if you still want to make your voice heard, here’s the link.

 

You can see more about this story tonight on WTAE Channel 4 Action News at 5 p.m.

I grew up in Upstate New York, so I was never emotionally attached to the game of hockey. I’ve always respected the game and its players, but it was never something that got me all worked up. I must say, though, the playoff run turned in by the Penguins this spring was nothing short of inspirational. Sure, it was a fairly easy run through the Eastern Conference, but the Stanley Cup Finals was a true test of their character. After the Detroit Red Wings won the first two games by a combined score of 7-0, all looked lost. But, the Pens circled the wagons, dug deep, and made the Wings earn their eleventh Cup title. Sure, this is a team loaded with skill players, but we also saw a team with heart and grit. Witness the game five miracle win with the Red Wings ready to celebrate on their home ice. Two nights later, down 3-1 with less than two minutes to play, the Pens get a power play goal from Marian Hossa, and then make a mad dash for the equalizer which they almost got. This team will look quite different next year, but I don’t think anyone will forget the inspirational run by Pittsburgh’s pro hockey team. Penguins fans, I know you already know this, but you have a team you can be proud of.

You had to be there to believe it.

Game five. Third period. The Penguins were a shade over 34 seconds away from their season coming to a close. The Detroit Red Wings had a 3-2 lead and the crowd at the Joe Louis Arena was going crazy chanting, “We want the Cup!”

As I looked up at the big screen from where I was sitting in the press box, I could see the Stanley Cup being brought out of its protective rolling box on the network feed.

I remember thinking that I was about to go on live television and deliver some disappointing news: The Pens come up short, Detroit wins the Cup. So, I decided to at least savor the moment.

When a team wins the Cup, it’s one of the wildest celebrations in all of sports. Since there’s no guarantee of seeing something like that again in person, I decided to soak it all in. My plan was to watch the Wings celebrate for a few minutes and then make my way downstairs.

Then, it happened.

Henrik Zetterberg couldn’t clear the puck with an empty net staring him right in the face. Here come the Penguins.

Goalie pulled, extra attacker on the ice. One shot, save. Another shot, save. Then, somehow, some way, Max Talbot was able to squeeze the puck past Chris Osgood to tie the game.

It was like someone had stuck a pin in the top of the arena. The cheering stopped. The towels were no longer waiving. I could hear a few “Oh, no’s” and a few other things not suitable for print being uttered throughout the crowd.

And there was Max Talbot jumping up and down getting hugged by his teammates. Tie game. Overtime. No Cup celebration for Detroit.

Right after the goal was scored, I remember looking up at the scoreboard. It still said Red Wings 3, Penguins 2. Not even the scoreboard operator wanted to believe it. After several agonizing minutes, a “3” was finally put on the board.

Now, Petr Sykora’s game-winner halfway through the third overtime was certainly memorable. But as long as I live, I’ll never forget the atmosphere when Mad Max got the equalizer. Regardless of whether or not the Pens win this series, Talbot’s goal was one for the ages.

My job as a sports journalist is to be objective. I get heat from people from time to time because I don’t openly cheer for the teams I cover.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t root against them, either. I just feel that my role is to be the filter between you — the fan — and the teams you love.

All that being said, I would be a fool if I didn’t say the Penguins deserve to be playing for the Stanley Cup. They are, by far, the best team in the Eastern Conference and their hard work and commitment to team is paying off.

From superstars to role players, the Penguins are a team Pittsburgh can be proud of. Coach Michel Therrien has pushed all the right buttons, and he has done it his way.

Several Penguins coaches in the past have tried to get this team to commit to defense. Most didn’t have a lot of success in that department. But Therrien has been able to find a way to let the scorers score while still clamping down on the other end of the ice.

Captain Sidney Crosby is only 20 years old and he’s already building a reputation as being one of the best leaders in sports, joining the likes of Derek Jeter, Brett Favre, and Kevin Garnett.

Why? He leads by example. When you see your best player busting his behind, it kind of trickles down to the rest of the squad.

Again, the Penguins deserve to be only four wins away from a third Stanley Cup title. I’m not going to predict what will happen. But I’m not betting against them.

Enjoy it, Pittsburgh. Guess what? YOU deserve it, too!

It was quite a scene in the Penguins locker room just moments after they defeated the Rangers in overtime to win their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series.

The players were giddy, there was loud music playing, and I saw plenty of smiles on their bearded faces as the Penguin players conducted interviews with the media.

I was leaning over to get an interview with Ryan Malone, and I happened to glance over to my right. There sat Sidney Crosby all alone at his locker, just him and his thoughts. There were no media members around, because he was about to head over to the postgame news conference.

I could see the look of relief on Crosby’s face. He kind of smiled to himself. I think he finally realized what he and his team accomplished.

You see, it’s not easy being Sidney Crosby. He’s supposed to be doing this. He was born to be the best hockey player in the world… the next Gretzky, the next Lemieux, the next big thing, leading his team to numerous Stanley Cups.

Crosby is carrying the weight of a team, a city, and an entire league on his broad but young shoulders. That’s a lot to ask for a young man who isn’t even old enough to buy a beer. And I think sometimes, he just needs to take a deep breather and take it all in.

I kind of leaned over to Sid and offered my congratulations. He gave a rather proud and satisfied look, and simply said, “Thanks.”

Now, there’s still the matter of beating the Flyers in the Eastern Conference finals, and either Dallas or Detroit in the Cup finals.

But Captain Crosby is halfway there. He can taste it. And he’s not the only one!

Penguins versus Rangers is pretty much reality TV at its best. You have it all. Two highly skilled teams with great young goalies and a superstar trying to stick it to his old team one last time.

JagrIf you are heading to Mellon Arena and you plan to boo Jaromir Jagr, that’s certainly your right as a paying customer. But, my only question is: Why?

Jagr played his heart out when he was here, serving as Scottie Pippen to Mario Lemieux’s Michael Jordan. He helped the Pens win two Stanley Cups and did his best when “The Big Guy” was down with injuries or retired. The Pens traded Jagr because the NHL didn’t have a salary cap at the time, and they knew they couldn’t afford him any more.

Whether you like it or not, Jagr is one of the greatest Penguin players of all time, and one of the best athletes to ever play for this city. Not liking him simply because he doesn’t play here any more is ridiculous.

If you want the Penguins to beat the Rangers because the Pens are your team, fine. But if you want the Pens to win simply because you don’t want to see Jaromir Jagr succeed, shame on you.

Come on, Pittsburgh. You’re better than that! Enjoy the series.

You think the Penguins don’t remember what the Ottawa Senators did to them in last year’s playoffs? Highly unlikely. If the first two games are any indication, the Penguins are bound and determined to show Ottawa they are a different hockey team than the one who lost in five games in ’07. I never really thought playoff experience was that big of a deal in the NHL, but I see I’m wrong. Last year’s Penguins team was a bit tentative. The majority of the squad had never played in the postseason before, and there were major expectations going in. This year, they seem to be the team that wants to take the fight to their opponent and not the other way around. (See Roberts, Gary!) I’m not sure how long the Penguins will stick around this year’s playoffs, but I do like the look their collective eye. This team means business! Senators, Eastern Conference: You have been warned!

There have been a lot of questions lately about who the Penguins’ MVP is this season.

Evgeni Malkin? Not a bad choice. When Sidney Crosby went down with the ankle injury, “Geno” stepped up big time and carried much of the Penguins on his shoulders.

Ty Conklin? Hard to argue. He stepped in for the injured Marc-Andre Fleury and turned in the best season of his NHL career, often making saves he (or anyone else for that matter) had no business making.

But my choice is Ryan Malone. To me, “Bugsy” is the heart and soul of this team.

Until this season, Malone was the type of player with tons of potential and not a whole lot to show for it. But this year is different.

Malone became a father for the first time. He started to realize that he could be a leader and a go-to guy, and it looks like he finally has gotten over the pressure of being a local guy playing for his hometown team. He does all the dirty work, paying the price down low. He also stands up for his teammates.

There’s a reason why Ryan Malone has an “A” on his sweater. He’s a player the Penguins MUST re-sign this off-season, and how he plays will go a long way toward determining how well the Pens do in the 2008 playoffs.

No pressure, right?

Whitney Earns Respect

February 9, 2008

You certainly have to respect Penguins defenseman Ryan Whitney.
After getting taken to task by coach Michel Therrien for a loss at New Jersey on Monday, Whitney responded with two goals and an assist in a win over the Islanders three nights later.
Whitney knows he needs to play well. He has a big contract and he’s considered one of the young leaders of the Penguins defense.
Many say Therrien was wrong to publicly criticize Whitney, but Ryan just shrugged it off and said his coach was just showing some tough love. That tells me that Ryan Whitney gets it.
There’s no sense pouting and complaining about not getting any love from your coach. Go out and show him you can get the job done. That’s exactly what Whitney did.
Whitney’s a good player and a well-respected member of the Penguins locker room. I’ll bet he’s earned even more respect for “manning up” after getting challenged by his coach.