Welcome Back! (Steeler Nation Edition)

Devastation

Welcome to the newest feature on MYFO: Welcome Back! We know there’s a lot of fans of football teams that have nothing to pay attention to anymore. Knowing that, they’re turning to other sports. We’re happy to help. Every time a football team’s season ends, we’ll welcome those fans back to the fold by giving them an update as to what that city’s team has been up to this year. Rock.

Welcome back, Steeler fans!

Your Pittsburgh Penguins are looking a lot like last year’s Penguins, only a week later. The first thing you may notice is an absence of Heinz Field Seat Yellow pads on the goaltender. That’s because Marc-Andre Fleury is out with a high ankle sprain. You may also notice an absence of perpetually scruffy French-Canadian penalty killers. That’s because Max Talbot is out with a high ankle sprain. The Indestructible Gary Roberts? Not so much; broken leg. The quiet, reassuring presence of Mark Eaton on the blue line? ACL. Wunderkind Jordan Staal? The mother of all sophomore slumps.

Yet things aren’t as scary as, for example, hearing the phrase “We’re down to third-stringer Trai Essex at left tackle.”

Kris Letang is here to stay, he’s picking up the NHL game faster than most defensemen, and he’s the new Mr. Automatic in shootouts. (Erik Christensen has been demoted to Mr. Some Goalies Are Learning His Move.) Petr Sykora, one of those Devils you wished was a Penguin because he always killed us when he was with the Devils, is now a Penguin. He’s kinda streaky, but it’s not for lack of effort. He just gets the yips sometimes. Tyler Kennedy was called up from the Baby Pens when Talbot got hurt, and has demonstrated a knack for finishing. Darryl Sydor got off to Sergei Gonchar’s slow start, but after a few healthy scratches, he’s stepped up to take Eaton’s place. (For the record, that gives us a Sid whose nickname is “Darryl”, and a Darryl whose nickname is “Syd”.)

On defense, you may be surprised to learn that the John Woo film Face/Off was not entirely a work of fiction. Instead of a mercenary and a fed switching faces, it was Ryan Whitney and Czech-bound whipping boy Josef Melichar.

Other than that, everything’s where you’d expect it to be. Crosby is Crosby, Malkin is Malkin, and Ty Conklin is Tom Barrasso.

No, I’m not kidding.

Seriously.

He’s on a 7-0 run with 2 shutouts.

2.00 goals against average and a .939 save percentage.

OK, not entirely like Tom Barrasso. Conklin talks to reporters, isn’t playing head games with Dany Sabourin, and, as far as we know, is not foolin’ around with the babysitter. But he wears 35, and he stops 30+ shots a night and wins games, which is something he rarely did in Edmonton or Columbus.

So, Steeler Nation, you’ve arrived at a good time. The Atlantic Division is tight, so the annual Holiday Let’s Stop Running Around In Our Own End Drive has catapulted us from 5th to 2nd in the division, 1 point behind New Jersey, and 4th in the conference. We’ve dealt with injuries well, we found a surprise between the pipes, and we don’t have an offensive coordinator who calls a quarterback draw on 3rd and 6 late in the 4th with a 1 point lead, WHEN A FIRST DOWN WOULD ALLOW US TO RUN OUT THE FUCKING CLOCK–

Sorry ’bout that. I promised myself that I wouldn’t let it get to me.

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