Win one for Bruce.
Go Habs Go.
The Pittsburgh Penguins celebrated a HUGE win on Saturday night. Pens Nation and our little C-blog world then mourned a huge loss come Sunday morning.
His name was Matt Moran. He was a hell of a friend, a professional jobber, a Sergeant in the US Army, and a Pittsburgh Penguin fan. In the land of C-blog, he was known as freecandy44.
Matt recently returned stateside after a tour in Iraq. For reasons we will probably never know or understand, Matt took his own life sometime on Saturday night.
Matt was one of those Pens fans that loved every inch of this team. We shared a fondness for former players that most of you jokes would job the hell out of us for. His love for Rico Fata was unfathomable. Matt began an unreal jersey collection thanks to our unhealthy obsession including Fata, Kris Beech, Ian Moran, the 1st ‘Superstar' jersey Talbot had ever seen and one of his more famous purchases, THE Chris Bourque jersey. I had the honor of wearing that jersey at the Pens vs Avs game on December 3, which ended up being Bourque's last game as a ‘guin. Say what you will but the Team Bourque vs Staff was fun while it lasted. Matt's appreciation for the "goat" players lead to one of the greatest gifts I've ever received. A few months ago, a package from Matt arrived in the mail containing a game-worn Josef Melichar jersey. We'd joke that anytime I wore it, I wouldn't be able to lifet my arms above my head & I'd instantly be a -4 walking into the igloo. Job all ya like but once upon a time ago the great MeliScoods combo was all us Pens fans had. It will always be one of most prized ‘guins possessions and I can never thank Matt enough for that.
Matt Moran was a buddy guy. He had hundreds of friends and deep down truly cared for each and every one of them. There has been an incredible outpour on his Facebook wall. Hundred of messages sharing stories and of people thanking him for always having their backs. Maybe with all of this love & support he gave to his family, friends, and brothers in the Army, it left him with little for himself. It's hard to say, really. When someone takes their own life, that question of ‘why?' will just never be answered.
Matt gave such extraordinary dedication to everyone he knew, his country, and The Pittsburgh Penguins. He has definitely left quite a hole in many of our hearts.
It's amazing how this little universe that is The Pensblog has created such a supportive community. Since it's conception, I have met & made some of the best friends I will ever have in my life. Matt was one of them & I know this place affected Matt in the same way. The Pensblog gave him a circle of some of the kindest people anyone could know and reunited him with some long-lost pals. It helped him get through the days spent over in Iraq for sure. I just wish he could have made it through a little longer. Matt was due to return to Pittsburgh at the end of May.
Matt, you will never be forgotten, ya jag off. I ask of you that in his memory, please continue giving support to our troops. Those brave men and women need it more than we will ever know. And as a final farewell, I'll leave you with some words from Dr. John Dorian. Matt was as obsessed with the TV show Scrubs as I am & I know he'd like what JD had to say. Cue the daydream head tilt, Zach Braff voiceover, and the sad piano sound:
"Things rarely go exactly the way you want them to, so sometimes you make due with whatever you can get. Endings are never easy; I always build them up so much in my head they cant possibly live up to my expectations, and I just end up disappointed. I'm not even sure why it matters to me so much how things end here. I guess it's because we all want to believe that what we do is very important, that people hang onto our every word, that they care what we think. The truth is: you should consider yourself lucky if you even occasionally get to make someone, anyone, feel a little better. After that, it's all about the people that you let into your life."
So please raise an appletini for Matt. I know he's probably raising one back at us.
Give Herb & Badger Bob our love, Matty. And may you rest in peace.
Matt Moran 1986-2010.
He's banged out beastly Homer-esque comments with a high level of consistency.
Playoff-related thoughts, dudes…
1. One of the most amazing things about the Pens-Sens series was watching Sidney Crosby evolve into the present-day Lemieux. After watching a regular season in which he remade himself from elite playmaker to elite goal-scorer, it didn’t seem possible that Crosby could elevate his game much more. Wrong. Facing an opponent that has historically kept him bottled up, Crosby finished the first round of the playoffs with 14 points (5 goals, 9 assists) in 6 games. That’s a ridiculous 2.33 point-per-game average, even more unreal considering he was held scoreless in Game One. His career postseason high is 31 points, which he posted last year. In 24 games. He’s almost halfway there in one-fourth the time.
2. I know it’s a very small sample size, but that pace would equate to a 192 points over an 82-game regular season (69 goals, 123 assists). He couldn’t possibly keep that pace up, right?
4. Dear King Shero, Sign Matt Cooke. Yesterday.
5. Remember all the worrying and hand-wringing about Letang’s contract extension? Watch him closely in the playoffs. He was one of the Pens better all-around defensemen in both the offensive and defensive zones. Another playoff game-winning goal, and also drew compliments from Sens players via the media about his physical game and his composure with the puck. This kid was primed for an offer sheet if he would’ve gotten to July 1. Shero HAD to sign him.
6. Ruslan Fedotenko, the KHL is on Line Two.
7. Jay McKee started off the season playing absolutely unreal defensive-zone hockey and then tailed off drastically around December. The Sens series was the best hockey he’s strung together since, despite pulling off the near-impossible feat of looking slower than Hal Gill. And Frankie Leroux. And me.
8. And as I type this, Montreal and Washington are going to a Game Seven. Someone must’ve showed Halak a tape of Marc-Andre Fleury in Game Five of the 2008 Finals because I’m not sure I’ve seen a goaltending performance that amazing since. Doc Brown’s DeLorean may have been parked outside the Bell Centre with the date May 1986 on the computer and luggage marked “P. Roy” in the back.
9. Phoenix takes Detroit to a Game Seven. Montreal takes Washington to a Game Seven. Nashville and Chicago are exchanging goals tonight like it’s a series between the 1992-93 Pens and a mid-80’s Oilers team. What the hell kind of Bizzaro hockey world is this? Next thing, you’re gonna tell me that the Flyers smoked Brodeur in five games…oh, wait.
10. Speaking of which, maybe it might be time for New Jersey to think about 1) getting Brodeur a decent backup goaltender and 2) playing him more than five starts a year. Three years in a row Uncle Daddy has flamed out in the playoffs and in spectacular fashion. Either he’s overworked, or the new rules that actually force the Devils to play a little bit of offense impact his game that much. Speaking of which…
11. I know Jacques Lemaire built up an impressive career on the ice and a great coaching career off it, and his style of play and coaching acumen translated into Stanley Cups. But Lemaire’s trapping style of play choked the life out of the game in the mid-1990’s and made the game unwatchable on television as every team devoid of offensive talent copied his trapping systems. The game of hockey is better off with fewer coaches willing to resort to that defense-first, defense-second, defense-third style of play.
12. Tuukaa Rask for Andrew Raycroft. Tuukaa Rask for Andrew Raycroft. Tuukaa Rask for Andrew Raycroft.
13. The tension in the Verizon Center for Game Seven between the Caps and Habs is going to be thicker than Mike Green’s skull.
14. Bruce Boudreau just called out the Habs players, Maxim Lapierre specifically, for diving. Brucie, how’s about taking a look at your own Kapitan before throwing that little dart out there, eh? Ovie is 6’3”, 235 and flops worse than a Jennifer Lopez movie when he gets whacked across the legs.
15. Eric Fehr in the Caps postgame comments said that “this will be [their] fourth Game Seven and [they] know what to do.” Would be nice if someone reminded him that the Caps are 1-2 in those previous three Game Sevens.
16. I would love to see Alexandre Burrows on a wing with Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. C-blogger I Have Kasparaitis said it best – dude is Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke with better hands.
17. From the “It Must Be Late April” department: Joe Thornton’s got no goals, three assists and is a -3 in the playoffs. Marian Hossa took five games to score a playoff goal. Joe Corvo is a -2 in six games. And Craig Adams has more points than Alexander Semin.