Today, B.D. Gallof from Hockeybuzz.com & NY Islanders Blog Box will be your kind host, may the lord save us all . . .
As you read this, the sun of Punta Cana beats down on soft fair Irish Penguin blogger skin. This is the skin that has the pasty white glow of a LCD screen, Long Island beers and fast food. The kind that hearkens to Woody Allen's statement: " I don't burn in the sun. I stroke".
Not many know this, but Punta Cana is a hotbed of Flyer fan country. Did Leahy know this as he put down his hard-earned cash from out of his Rainy Day fund jar? It is a jar also known as: Strip Club Loot in the Leahy household. You didn't think Going Five Hole was just a hockey term, did you? Not a chance. To find that name, Leahy delved into the deepest and darkest of the Queens strip clubs while listening to Soundgarden's BadMotorFinger.
Little did he know, the name was already taken . . . but we won't tell.
Chances our hero had no clue what he was getting into as he flew in a cargo plane, with a ragged parachute, a duffel bag full of Lemieux Underoos and some Penguin 1992 Stanley Cup champs VHS tapes.
Leahy landed into a dusty road, meeting his contact: Cornholio. Two burros brayed as the two men began their journey into the heart of darkness. That heart of darkness where Penguins fans lie in the jungle, guerrillas of the new revolution. Leahy brings underoos and videos under the dark of a Dominican night.
Leahy: A hero. A revolutionary. Despite that his soft fleshy underbelly now roasts in the hot Carribean sun like a Pork Loin. But can you blame the man for celebrating his hard work at a beach resort?
Sadly, Cornholio lies in a shallow grave. Two bullets cleaved their way through his #66 jersey, puncturing an artery, emptying him of his Malkin and Crosby love. Leahy buried him right after stalking their attackers with a sharpened butter knife lodged between his teeth. All that is left is ribbons of bloody carcass and Flyer Legion of Doom jerseys.
We will leave Leahy to bask in the glow of victory and return us to American soil . . .
Return of the Penguins
A world at-large has already accepted the Penguins as that new breed. Already the landscape is shifting to show off this new school of the NHL. Some in the media are acting like the Pens will be a lesser team due to changes this offseason. I do not subscribe to this point-of-view. I think the media is out to lunch, as usual. They ignore that it is core growth to this team that will have them stronger and more able. However, this is also the same media who ordained the Pens before their time into Cup contenders. They are premature with laurels, and over-analyze thereafter. A fickle and finicky lot, to say the least.
The Pens will contend once again, to be sure.
Sidney Crosby will be better. Malkin will be better. Marc-Andre Fleury should be better. To me, his Detroit series was a coming out party of top-level play. These three are the Bermuda Triangle for other teams. They will get lost between these three key cogs. The supporting cast around the three will also be better. Some still stew with Malkin's outage this past playoffs. To those naysayers, go look at how many games he's played in previous years. This was the longest stretch of play he ever did by a large margin. He was running on empty and still trying to make a difference. Those long playoff legs will come.
Sure you guys lost some good depth and key pieces. No team in this NHL goes without that kind of adjustment. Ryan Whitney will be out of commission for a while. Yes, another bump in the road to overcome. It is a bump under the wheels to a vehicle with a solid engine that can rev with the best of them. Hossa going to Detroit should be a startling slap in the maw. However, a good slap deserves one in kind. Maybe Orpik will save him a good one when they meet again.
I think Crosby and many of the Penguins youth's mettle was hammered into steel during last year’s playoffs. It is the playoff that makes boys to men. It is only under that hot light and pressure that players are irrevocably changed. Sidney will have more to the table this coming season, besides a few more facial hairs. One day that boy will be Grizzly Adams. He will have a beard that can toss pucks into opposing goalie nets like ZZ Top on a Barry Bonds training pill orgy.
You might say to yourself: What do you know BD? What do you know past your hapless Isles.
Well, I'll tell you. My favorite player is Mario Lemieux. Sure I like my dynasty core of Long Island in the late 70s to early 80s. But, to me, there is no better player that every laced up a pair of skates than Super Mario.
Meanwhile, for us Isles fans who sit in another rebuild, we look to the Penguins as our justice. For the Pens knew hard days. For the Pens fans know what we feel. For Pittsburgh, the corner has been long been turned. It is our deep hope that we, like you, turn that corner. That we have those pieces that bloom. Will Bailey, Okposo and Comeau lead us from out of the murk of mediocrity? Hard to say. But there will always be an enviable eye peering from Nassau and Suffolk County as the Pens launch into the playoffs once again, be assured.
The dog days of August will turn into the training camps of September. It will be a long road for some teams. Less for others. One thing is for certain; it will be a good season to be a Pittsburgh fan. Best of luck.
Thank you to Sean Leahy for the guest blogger slot to ply my barely coherent babble this Tuesday afternoon. Hope you enjoyed.