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Monday, April 29, 2013

Pittsburgh Penguins: Keys To Winning The 2013 Stanley Cup

     The 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs are officially upon us and the Pittsburgh Penguins have made it clear they are primed and ready for a deep playoff run!  Already sporting the two best players in the world(Evgeni Malkin & Sidney Crosby) The Penguins have plenty of  additional high offensive production Pascal Dupuis, James Neal, Chris Kunitz and added to its already potent offense with key trade deadline acquisitions Jarome Iginla, Brendan Morrow, and Jussi Jokinen. With these players alone, the Penguins are arguably the deepest team in terms of scoring depth entering the postseason. Having established themselves already as clear favorites and potential Cup champions, we will take a look at some key elements for the Penguins to have success in the playoffs!

     Super Stardom

     As mentioned above, the Penguins have the two best players in the world in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. If the Penguins plan on capturing Lord Stanley, their success will be determined first and foremost with the play and performance of both Crosby and Malkin. If they are able to generate offensive production like usual, everyone else will soon follow suit.

     Scoring Depth

     As stated, much of Pittsburgh's offensive success starts with Malkin and Crosby, but by NO means are the Penguins short on scoring! James Neal a 40 goal scorer last season, registered a hat trick in his first game back since his concussion, has provided the Penguins with an established sniper for Pittsburgh for years to come. Both Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis have been having career years during their time in Pittsburgh. Dupuis recorded his first career back to back 20 goal seasons and Kunitz finished 7th in the entire league in scoring with 52 points (22 G 30 A). It's no surprise both Dupuis and Kunitz lead the league in +/- respectively with +31(Dupuis) and +30(Kunitz). Add the additions at the trade deadline of Jarome Iginla(11 points in 13 games with PIT), Brendan Morrow(11 points in 12 games with PIT), and Jussi Jokinen(11 points in 10 games with PIT), the Penguins are clearly stacked in terms of offensive production. Not to mention, the Penguins have Kris Letang, whom is always up for the Norris Trophy(Leagues Best Defenseman) registered 38 points in 35 games played and Paul Martin has done a complete 180 and stepped up his game and tied a career best of 6 goals, a feat which he achieved in his rookie season, in which he played in more than twice as many games as this season!

     Veteran Presence & Leadership

     The Penguins had been lacking veteran leadership presence in the locker room ever since Bill Guerin's tenure with Pittsburgh came to an end. That was all taken care of, but not adding one, but two players who were captain of their teams when the Penguins acquired Jarome Iginla and Brendan Morrow. Both are hungry for a Stanley Cup Championship. Iginla was one win away back in 2004, and is now again in great position to fill that void in his illustrious career. Morrow is a playoff warrior as evident of his 2008 playoff performance( 6 goals, 9 assists 15 points in 18 games played) which was also the last time Morrow made it to the playoffs! Each will have huge drive and hunger to capture Lord Stanley and with this extra motivation for both, this makes the Penguins as a whole all the more dangerous!


     Whenever the Penguins offense is having a slow night, the defense has stepped up their game and have contributed in a big way. During the Penguins 15 game win streak, Pittsburgh held its opponents to one goal or less nine times, four of which came in shutout fashion. The additions of Mark Eaton and trade deadline acquisition Douglas Murray have injected new life into the Pittsburgh defense.

     Special Teams (PP & PK)

     Pittsburgh's Powerplay(PP), though at times have gone into dry spells, is nevertheless, loaded with scoring and fire power which should and more than likely, will drastically improve its power play. Especially when you have likes of; Malkin, Crosby, Iginla, Letang, Neal on one unit and; Morrow, Kunitz, Sutter, Martin, Jokinen on another, with the possibility of Dupuis, Niskanen, Cooke, Kennedy, Bennett, Despres, you have the formulas for lethal powerplay combinations. For the Penalty Kill(PK), Pittsburgh has always been at the top of the league. Starting with PK specialist Matt Cooke and Craig Adams, Shutdown D-men Orpik and Murray, as well as Tanner Glass's big body and help from even Sidney Crosby himself, the Penguins PK is very diverse.


     Marc Andre Fleury will more than likely get the nod as the starting netminder. Fleury has struggled as of late in the playoffs, but now with everyone healthy, and a quality backup in Tomas Vokoun, Fleury will not have to carry the load like he did in the 2011 & 2012 playoffs when players were injured and Fleury was called upon more, thus fatigue setting in sooner. All Fleury needs to do is find himself and have the success much like he did in the 2008 & 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs. If Fleury can do that, Pittsburgh will have a complete roster top to bottom and all the way around and set themselves up for a good run at the Stanley Cup!

     Lets Go Pens!

     Losing is unheard of. Perfection, unacceptable. Just win.

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Monday, April 8, 2013

Wrestlemania 29 Review

     Well WrestleMania 29 is officially in the books and now that I've had almost a full day to digest, I am ready to give my thoughts and opinions on it by discussing each match.

          The Shield vs. Sheamus, Randy Orton, & The Big Show

Despite the randomness for this match as Big Show was practically thrown in at the last minute, not to mention he was a heel who suddenly became face only to seemingly end up heel again after the match, the match itself overall was good. I think it was the right decision to have the Shield win as it establishes further credibility for their stable and each of the wrestlers as an individual themselves. I liked the ending where Rollins jumped off the top rope and Orton caught him in the RKO. Then Roman Reigns spears Orton and Dean Ambrose covers him to pick up the win for the Shield. Though I think it was pointless to have Big Show in the match since he reverted back to essentially being a heel anyway when he knocked out Orton and Sheamus after the match.

      Ryback vs. Mark Henry
Nothing to special about this match. You have two big guys who are not really going to have high flying moves or anything flashly. Still it was alright given those circumstances. Ryback did get his "WrestleMania moment" when he Shellshocked Mark Henry, but it was not until after the fact Henry already won the match. I do not understand the outcome as it does nothing to put Ryback over as a wrecking force.

      Team Hell No vs. Dolph Ziggler & Big E Langston
Decent tag match that mainly served as a filler. Good choice for WWE to have Team Hell No win and retain the titles as they are one of the more interesting topics going on right now for the company and I think Kane and Bryan's character's have meshed well together.

      Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
I understand the choice in having Fandango beating Chris Jericho to put him over. What I do not understand is that WWE waited to have Fandango have his first match be at WrestleMania. His character has not even established himself leading up to the match. The match was okay. Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho only for his "bummed" knee to give out and Fandango would win in an undramatic fashion with a rollup.

      Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger
A storyline of Swagger's character being fed up with America and taking an ultra conservative approach of how the country should be with Del Rio's defense claiming himself to be "American Made". The matchup consisted of each wrestler putting one another in their submission moves. In the end, Del Rio would prevail via Cross Arm Breaker. (side note: O thought there was a good possibility WWE would decide to have Ziggler cash in his "Money in the Bank" since this match took place after Dolph's tag team match.)

      CM Punk vs. Undertaker
Maybe the best match of the night. (and that is not saying too much) It is kind of disappointing at the fact WWE invested so much into the death of Paul Bearer leading up to Mania, but then hardly have it become a factor in the match or the outcome of it. I was hoping WWE would get creative(lol yeah right!) and have CM Punk at the end dismantle Undertaker and hit him with a GTS and then mock Taker by hitting him with a Tombstone. Then as Punk would go for the cover and sure win to finally end the streak, green smoke would "mysteriously" start coming out from the urn that Heyman was holding. The "spirit" of Paul Bearer would cause Undertaker to rise and sit up and then for Punk to turn around all bug eyed and shocked to see Taker standing there who would then finish off Punk with a Chokeslam and Tombstone to pick up the win and extend the streak to 21-0 that way. (I am least happy the Undertaker remained undefeated)

      Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar
Probably the most predictable outcome for a match on the night (along with Cena vs. The Rock) Not to take anything away from the match itself as it was decent, but the buildup to it was stale. Brock Lesnar breaks Shawn Michaels arm. Triple H wants revenge only to lose at Summerslam to Lesnar. Lesnar would then break Triple H's arm. Brock later on would go on to give Vince Mcmahon an F5, causing him to have "surgery" on his hip. Triple H comes back to get redemption against Lesnar for all of his actions against him, his best friend, and family. Maybe if the outcome would not have had been as predicatble if the stipulation "If Triple H loses, he must retire" Come on, this is the guy who is going to be around forever as he is next in line to run the company when Mcmahon is gone.

      The Rock vs. John Cena
Another redemption match. As noted before, the most predicatble match (along side Triple H vs Brock Lesnar). Nothing spectular as the "highlight" of the matchup was near the end when the wrestlers were trading, countering, doing the other's signature move(s) only to repeatedly kick out at the last second. The result was nothing outstanding either, it was with 100% certainity that Cena would win and become champion as The Rock will go back to Hollywood to film more movies. If that was not bad enough, they had Cena & Rock embrace one another by shaking hands and hugging. It gets a little redudant seeing wrestlers break character and kayfabe(i.e. last year when Undertaker, Shawn Micheals, and Triple H all embraced each other after the end of the match) instead of trying to get the fans to believe their is legitimate heat between the wrestlers. Oh and did anyone really think WWE was going to have Cena turn heel? (How many times has that rumor popped up only for it to obviously never come to fruition?)

      As far as the show goes as a whole, the results were actually good, but the delivery of the matches could have been better. WrestleMania 29 was average as I feel the writers made to many things predictable with no surprises twists or endings. No real special "WrestleMania Moments" other than Ryback(even though it was AFTER he lost his match) Too much advertising during the show and in between matches (i.e. promos for The Rock's movies, John Cena and his involvment in the Make a Wish Foundation, etc.) There was really no backstage segments in between the matches either. Finally, P Diddy singing was also pointless. I give this WrestleMania a 4 out of 10.

      If you like my blogs, feel free to follow me. Also, I have a facebook page devoted to my blogs, so check that out by visiting this link

     Also, I have a youtube channel where from time to time I upload videos announcing my latest blog. So if you want to have other update information regarding my sports blog, feel free to subscribe to the channel (I talk about sports among other things as well)