Gonna do something a little different rather than my normal bloviating.
We're gonna do a weekly post with some awards, selected only after a painstakingly-difficult nomination process.
OK, I lied, it wasn't hard at all.
But we've come up with some awards that hopefully accurately portray the Penguins during the particular timeframe.
So, without any further adieu:
Doghouse of the Week - Mark Letestu
Wish nothing but the best for the young lad. But I've been saying for quite a while now that a shitload of Pens fans were salivating just a bit too much when Letestu arrived on the scene at the beginning of last season. Unfortunately, Mark cooled off dramatically as the calendar turned to 2011, only scoring 6 goals after New Year's and getting only one assist in seven playoff games. The start of this season hasn't been any kinder for him, with only one assist in eight games, while going -5. He's been a healthy scratch the last two games. And it's not going to get any easier for him as the Penguins get healthier.
Mancrush of the Week - James Neal
What else can you say about this guy? Fuckin' En Fuego. What's he going to do on a regular line with either Geno or Bing? His awesome wrister is only part of his excellent all-around game, whether that be on the forecheck or defensively. Is this guy FINALLY the scoring winger the Penguins have been waiting for like 17 years now?
Michel Therrien Disappoint of the Week - Zbynek Michalek
This was a tough one. I might take some heat for this, but then again, I don't give a fuck. The recent injury to Zbynek Michalek came at the worst time. It seemed as though Z was starting to turn the corner after a relatively poor start to his season. -5 after the first 10 games, but it wasn't just the +/-. He just wasn't playing the shutdown defense we've come to expect from Z. Hopefully his time off the ice is shorter rather than longer and he can regain his proper place in the Pens' D corps.
Forgetting Max Talbot Award of the Week - Joe Vitale
Impressive start for the young man. Good speed, great work ethic, tenacious along the boards. Attributes that HCDB absolutely loves. It's been Vitale's play that has resulted in Letestu eating soft pretzels in press row. The only thing I would caution my fellow Pens fans is to take it easy on the adulation on Vitale. Hopefully he'll continue his impressive start, but the Pens are balls deep with veteran 3rd and 4th liners.
Money Shot of the Week
No, not that fucking dingbat.
This may just be the year that MAF starts getting serious consideration for the Vezina. Although he's regularly been in the upper echelon of wins amongst NHL goalies, his GAA and Save Pct. have been mediocre. Not this year, so far anyway. Not only is his positioning been stellar, what you're not seeing is the unfortunately too-often soft goal from previous years. Fleury is already in his 8th NHL season, and will turn 27 in November. Perhaps we're seeing Fleury entering his prime. Sounds good to me.
And finally, I'm going to add a weekly video of a band that I grew up with. Those who've listened to the TPBRadio show know my favorite band is the original lineup of Van Halen. No, I'm not going to give you a Van Halen video every week.
But you're getting one this week.
No, fuck it, you're getting three.
These videos are from Van Halen's Oakland, CA shows during their Fair Warning tour of 1981. These videos are considered the Holy Grail of Van Halen bootleg videos, partly because of their great live show back then, but also partly because the band simply refuses to release any bootlegs of that era to their fans. So here's The Mighty Van Halen with Unchained, So This is Love, and Hear About it Later. Enjoy, 'cause I know you will.
UPDATE: Sam Kasan at the Pens' website graciously allowed me to bloviate some more about Van Halen at today's Penguins Report. Here's the link: