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Pennsylvania on my mind

I’m very glad I stayed in SJ to watch the Penguins practice today instead of leaving it for tomorrow.  This looks like a proper practice, not the half-warmup I guess many teams do on game days.

It’s also surprisingly gratifying to see Crosby skating in the drills.  I guess no one else would be surprised by that but I didn’t expect to care much.

They don’t look new but  I like the pads on one of the goalies, black with gold and silver arched stripes.  Very pretty.  It also clarifies the strange beige hue in the Pens colors.  I guess it’s supposed to be gold.  Without shine, though, it just looks beige.

I always feel like I’m talking my way into practices at HP. The same people are never at the security desk so I do have to explain myself each time.  I guess I better ask for some sort of a pass, as well as permission to be here.  I still don’t feel like I have it.

I don’t really need it, there’s no clear reason to let me be here.  I don’t cover anything per se, but I want to learn this thing and there simply is no degree program to enroll in so here I am.

I’ve been putting off buying my plane tickets or the rest of the game tickets for a trip in January to Philly and Detroit.  Initially, I simply couldn’t bring myself to commit to it, then I used a good family-related excuse that I should not plan to be away in the next few months.  But that seems to be working out, so I guess I should proceed with trip planning.  I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to do things well in advance. It didn’t take me this long to plan the Russian trip and I needed visa for that and didn’t have the money to pay for it.

Maybe I need to be thrown into a thing without warning.  I need to remember I get to see Jagr on the trip.  Jagr usually makes me get up and go.  But he’s coming here just a little over a month later.  I’m just a nutter.

Watching the Pens is going to make me late for the Flyers game.  That bugs me but I’m still glad I did this.  They aren’t doing any hitting so Dr. Nearly can’t offer any opinion on Crosby’s progress but he looks very good out there, and jolly.  Kicking pucks up to his skates, shooting, hopping around other players… yes, all appears well.  Glad he’s feeling better but I can’t say I’m sorry he won’t be playing tomorrow.

On the other hand, the Sharks do seem to rise to the occasion, and if they believe an opponent to be less than worthy, they tend play down to that.  That hardly ever ends well.  Even though they won against the Islanders, I still feel as if they lost.  The continuing hubbub about the “soft” comment highlights the dangers of under estimating your opponent or the effect arrogance has on your own game.

The Pens end their practice with shootout practice.  Gosh darn I hope that isn’t needed. I decide to leave shortly after my companion goes around the rink to sit with the Pens people.  I always sit in the wrong place.  I didn’t even notice those other folks come in.

For the shootout practice, the Pens lined up along the bench with just a few guys at center ice at a time.  Now, see if I were really a reporter or some sort of a spy I would have made a note of who was out there shooting.  Not everyone went. But I’m still a rookie, a temporary idiot.  Oh well.  Who would listen to me anyway?

I got home for the end of the first period of the Flyers @ Sabres game.  I got to watch the best part only a little delayed, the part where the Flyers scored three times in the first six minutes.  After that it was downhill.  Bryzgalov performed well, the Flyers were outshot.  I liked the lines Lavy used today. Jagr-G-Hartnell, JVR-Couturier-Voracek, Simmonds-Talbot-Nodl, and Shelley-Rinaldo-Homlstrom.  Swap Briere in for Couturier, move Nodl down to the 4th line instead of Rinaldo or Shelley and I think that makes for a very nice balance.

That would mean moving Couturier to the wing but I think the kid could do it.  He was very effective with JVR and Voracek.  He wouldn’t be as productive on the 3rd line but he should be in there and he might add some offense to that line.  Since Lavy likes him for the pk, he clearly sees defensive responsibility in the youngster.

I mean, if my opinion counted for anything.  I’ll just call this a record for future reference, in case any of that comes to pass, so I can say “Aha!”  I still like to be right.  Who doesn’t?

These last couple of wins for the Flyers, while the last was less than tidy, these are pretty significant.  Briere has been out for both.  I don’t mean Briere is a drag or a jinx.  On the contrary.  Once he is back and in form, they might actually have something here.  That’s one thing I wouldn’t mind being wrong about,  my woeful predictions for this Flyers season and possibly Jagr’s last in the NHL.  That would be wonderful to be wrong about.

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