Sunday, July 2, 2017

Mario with the Cup

Getting a chance not just to see Mario raise the Cup but to be able to photograph it was the dream of a lifetime, or at least of the last 8 years or so.  Since 2009, when we were lucky enough to see Mario raise the Cup in Detroit but didn't get any photos thanks to an overzealous security team at the Joe, I have dreamed of getting another opportunity.  Unbelievably, that opportunity came on June 11, 2017, in Nashville.

The story begins with Dr. Dharmesh Vyas, head Team Physician of the Penguins who already has his name scratched on that fabled Cup.  He appeared understandably excited to be in position to pass the Cup to a five time winner.

Now Mario has the Cup and I'm just trying to hold the camera steady while a surge of emotions races through me.  I'm only mildly disappointed that he is facing away from us.  Oh well, I can settle for some nice shots of the back of Mario's head.  Then he starts to lower the Cup for the kiss.

Okay, catching his reflection in the Cup will be pretty cool.

Definitely can't complain about that shot; it's a keeper.  And then, as if he can hear my every thought, Mario starts to turn to face the bench area, where we had relocated to after Hagelin's goal.

What a great smile from the big man.

Not bad, I thought, while going through these pictures later.  Then I noticed the part of the Cup facing us has the 2015-16 Penguins and the empty space that will hold the 2016-17 Penguins.

Whoa, that's pretty cool.  Thanks Mario!


As a bonus the moment was made even more cool by the fact that it was also being captured by a true legend in the world of photography, Dave Sandford.

I'm guessing Dave got some great pics, but I'm pretty happy with the ones we got. :)

Let's Go Pens!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Stories Behind The Sock: The Media Edition

Lately I've been going back through the old "sock photos" - pictures of Penguins, coaches, management, media and anyone else who we wanted to get a picture of holding the sock that Michelle happened to be knitting at the time - and I thought it might be time to share them again.  As much as the pictures themselves, the memories of the cool, funny and awkward encounters have really stayed with us through the years.

Today's installment was inspired by a tweet about being "elite" and I replied that the person must be elite because they are in the "ring of sock holders".  And so I present you with members of the media holding the knitting of the one, the only, Pens Knitting Lady.

Sorry Josh :(
I know the tweet was about you and your excellent sock pic, but this category can start with none other than Dan Potash.  He isn't the all-time leader in number of socks held, but he is a two-time sock holder and was the first "human" to get a sock pic, shown above.

Sorry again, Mr Yohe.
Without this guy I probably wouldn't even be a Penguins fan. That's a story for another post, but let's just say I was stunned to get to meet Mike Lange at an open morning skate in Raleigh.  Mike and the Canes broadcaster did a Q&A and then mingled with fans.  He was more than happy to pose with the sock Michelle was knitting for me.  Wow.  Thanks Mike.

From here I'm getting lazy and going in no particular order.
Pierre stepped up.  When the yarn started flying (over the glass, in this case), our favorite (other than Bourque and Errey) between the benches broadcaster not only caught the sock (or socky, as Pierre would call it), he really drove it on net with this excellent sock pic.  Plus any time you can get a sock pic with the team warming up in the background, my friends, you're doing it right.

Wow, who doesn't miss Grover?  Thankfully he's still around on twitter and blogging.  I like to think he has partly inspired a generation of Pens fans who selflessly give their time to spread the knowledge with their fellow fans.  He took time out of a break in the Pens postgame show to pose with my sock.  I wish Mike Lange was here to do the play-by-play of the encounter because this was real bang-bang action. Bob had the sock no more than a few seconds but still managed to put up what is one of the top five sock pics of  all time.

How about that Steve Mears?  Congrats to him on heading back to Pittsburgh next season!  After a Pens win everyone is happy, especially first time sock holders.

This is pretty rare.  I'll need to consult with the PTML historians but this could be the only double sock pic on record.   Rob King and Jay Caufield during a break in their postgame show. I forgot what a great pic this was. It's legendary! Well done, guys!!!

Bob Errey is the all-time sock pic leader at three, mostly because the first two were terrible!  It ain't easy shooting through the glass sometimes.  But Bob was a trooper and agreed to a third attempt on his way in for the morning skate.

We bumped into Steigy on a cold February night in Buffalo.  Let's just say he was 'cool' enough to pose for a pic.  I mean, it was pretty slippery out that night and he could have gone down hard, though obviously not as hard as Hobey Baker. Congrats to Paul on a great broadcasting career!  He and Mike Lange were important parts of my early years as a Pens fan.

He wasn't in the media at the time but he is now, meaning this Brent Johnson pic makes the post by a technicality.  It was freezing and icy after the morning skate, so a lot of the players stopped for the poor, few, foolish souls who were out hoping for autographs (it was so yucky out the professional autograph seekers weren't even there!).  Beej posed for a sock pic and also signed the photoshop I made of him in a gunfight against DiPietro.  I'm going to maintain the sanctity of the sock pics post and refrain from including it here.

Not only is this great as sock pics go, the timing was really special as it was the night of the first regular season game in the new arena.  We spotted Katie on the red carpet and the picture tells the rest of the story.

The through the glass photos are tough but the Ol' Two-Niner was up for the challenge. I'd go on about Phil Bourque but I'm getting tired.  Needless to say the dude is all-time.

Hey, it's Elliotte Friedman!

Another classic from Potash, this one during pregame at MSG just two days following the Pens-Isles brawl on Long Island in 2011.  One of the few downsides of a long playoff run is missing out on seeing Dan.  I'm sure he's enjoying it as much as we are!

Well, that was a lot of fun for me.  Hopefully you enjoyed seeing these pictures again or for the first time.

What's that?
Another picture?
The one from the tweet that inspired this post?

Oh, that's right.  Now I remember.  After that open morning skate down in Raleigh, we took a walk around the building to see if maybe the Pens would walk out and sign autographs.  That didn't happen but we spotted none other than Josh Yohe.  Josh got to hold the same sock that Mike Lange's hands touched just a few minutes earlier.

See you next time from Nashville when we look back at another group of sock holders.  Until then..



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pens vs Blue Jackets, December 13, 2014

If you were coming up with a soundtrack for the Pens latest visit to Columbus, you might have led things off with Ray Stevens' "The Streak".  After all, the Jackets entered the game having won their last five, which is pretty impressive considering they dropped six straight before that.  For their part, the Pens had won the last six regular season games at Nationwide Arena.

Once the puck dropped, the tune quickly changed to "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" as the teams combined for a respectable 46 penalty minutes in the first period alone.

There is definitely a nice rivalry brewing here in the wake of last year's six game playoff series, which ended with the Jackets on the losing side of the handshake line in front of their home crowd.  Clearly this wasn't the game 7 that some fans in the building were hoping for, but credit must be given as for the first time in recent memory the chants of "CBJ" managed to drown out "Let's Go Pens".

Alright, enough talk, let's get to our pics from the game.

Pens vs Flames, December 12, 2014

Just as Knitting Lady and I made our long awaited return to Consol Energy Center Friday night, so too did Kris Letang, getting back into action after missing five games with a groin injury.  Tanger's first period goal would prove to be the game winner as the Pens got another solid performance from Marc-Andre Fleury on their way to a 3-1 win over the Flames.

Check out our pics from the game below.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Pens fire Shero, Disco sticking around for now

Just when it seemed that Dan Bylsma
was on his way out the window, 
I mean door, 
it turns out Pens fans will have him to kick around
at least a bit longer.

Not so for GM Ray Shero.
Uh Ray, we're going to need those fat stacks back.
I'm sure they'll have more at your next job.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Pens vs Blues, March 23, 2014

Marc-Andre Fleury had a chance to get real familiar with Blues captain David Backes Sunday.
In fact it was a tip-in by Backes that provided the only scoring of the day
as the top team in the Western Conference came into Consol Energy Center
and managed to push the Pens around a bit on their way to a hard fought 1-0 victory.
We were there and managed to get a few photos from the cozy confines of section 105.
Check them out after the jump.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Pens vs Lightning, March 22, 2014

Any game that ends with a Geno interview is a good game.
And any day spent watching hockey is a good day.
That's just what Knitting Lady and I got to do this past weekend
after a 3-month hiatus brought on by the Olympic break and a generally crappy schedule.
The Pens didn't disappoint in this one.
Sure, we have some key injuries,
but there were enough stars shining Saturday afternoon
to get the win against a Tampa team that is comfortably
ensconced in a top-3 spot in the Atlantic Division. 

So sit back and enjoy our pics from the game after the jump.