In the novel Jane Eyre, Bronte's protagonist Jane places a great deal of faith in physignomy, or face reading. Every time the Penguins play the Flyers, I find myself thinking about that book, that penchant of Jane's and the fact that were she to meet the Flyers poster boy, Scottie Hartnell, she would be certain he was a sociopath. But the Pens managed to neutralized him and the Philadelphia fans. I'd rank the Penguins come back from a 3-0 deficit in front of over 20,000 cheesesteak eating, profanity hurling Philadelphia, um, fans, among the best single game comebacks I've seen in any sport. Not quite as great as the Red Sox 2004 ALCS Game 4 comeback against the Yankees, but still not far behind that for me. After the Flyers scored their third goal, I said to GearGal, "This thing is over." I nearly turned it off and I'm quite certain I stomped out of the room and puttered in the kitchen for a few minutes. Next thing I knew, Max Talbot was having his face smashed in and Geno Malkin, the scoring machine, was creating a scoring opportunity for Ruslan Fedotenko. A couple of minutes later, Mark Eaton swatted in Tyler Kennedy's bouncing rebound. Suddenly the Philly fans were quiet. It was eerie. And so, so satisfying. According to the Deadhead, "Philadelphia fans suck. Fans of the Flyers suck. Fans of the 76ers and Phillies* and the Eagles all suck. Philadelphia Phiharmonic fans suck. Rocky sucks. Cheese steaks suck. Villanova sucks. Elton John was great until Philadephia Freedom. After that? Sucks." So the Pens play on and they can add this particular win to their psychological arsenal. The next time they're down in a game - and they will be - they know they can come back and win. It's one thing to think you can come back, it's even better to believe you can come back but the best case scenario is to be certain you can come back.
(* per my buddy the SportsNoter, that's the "2008 World Series Champion Phillies." Duly noted, Noter.)
I missed most of the NFL draft catching bits and pieces between the hockey game and leaving for the Pittsburgh Passion women's football game (more on that later.) I am pleased to see nary a tight end or punter in site on the Steelers draft board. With the first pick, they picked up Evander "Ziggy" Hood, a 300 defensive lineman form Mizzou, and as great as the Steelers D-Line played last year, those guys are old by football standards, so it's good to have some young blood to mix in there. Then they went out and picked a guard from Wisconsin (those big ole linemen from Wisconsin always seem to be good), a speedy wide out who can return kicks - an area noticeably lacking last year - and a PAC-10 corner. All in all, a good day for us Nor'Siders.
Meanwhile, Pitt's Shady McCoy heads off to the land of cream cheese and Rocky. Good luck Shady. I hope coach Andy Reid actually allow him to run the ball and the fans give him a chance. Yeah, right. WVU's Pat White landed in the perfect situation in Miami with a coach who seems to be unafraid to utilize his talents, regardless of how unconventional they are. As my buddy Smiley says, "Pat White + Wildcat = points." Church.
Last night, the Pirates knocked the hell out of the Padres 10-1, remaining in second place in the NL Central. This morning, out of curiosity, I checked the stats to see where the Pirates team ERA ranked: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/aggregate?statType=pitching&group=9
I almost fell over from shock. Moreover, the Pirates have allowed only 55 runs against through Saturday night. No other National League team comes close (the San Fran Giants have allowed 62 runs to this point.) For whatever that's worth.
As to the Passion versus Baltimore Nighthawks game, it was unbelievable in many regards, none of them really football regards. This is the fourth season I've spent around those girls, I've witnessed many games and, of course, heard so many of their stories. But last night every player I talked to said that this Nighthawks team was the dirtiest they've ever played. Mind you, Baltimore sucks - the Passion were up 35-0 at the half and finished up with the score of 49-0. Midway through the 3rd quarter, Baltimore had the ball and the QB threw a pass, just a little eight or 10 yard out route to the far sideline. The Pittsburgh defender Peru Barber (is that an NPR name or what?) had great position and battled the ball down, as both she and the receiver came crashing down on the sideline. And then, inexplicably, a scrum ensued. According to the players, it seems that a Nighthawk player, probably the receiver, rolled over onto Barber as some other Baltimore player kicked her. A bunch of Passion players went flying over and then the Baltimore coach started shoving and swinging. The freaking coach! Really, I've never seen anything like that. I can't believe the officials didn't toss the coach. Of course, I'll take the Passion coaches in The Octagon versus those "Charm City" guys any day. Jay and Tuck would kick some ass.