Thoughts while desperately trying to ignore mindless T.O.-Romo coverage/lovefest...
-I suppose I should be grateful that the Penguins' 9-2 romp over the visiting Islanders last night got a quick mention on SportsCenter this morning. After all, there was a football game last night and plenty of Brokeback Cowboy talk to breathlessly indulge in. No matter how much I try to convince myself otherwise, getting hockey a legitimate seat at the ESPN table is important, because like it or not, ESPN is probably still the primary agenda setter in the media world. Until the coverage balance tilts further toward the NHL once football season comes to a merciful end, I can ponder how things would be different if hockey was still being broadcast on the four-letter network.
-Speaking of the Pens, boy, was last night's annihilation of NYI ever needed to release some mounting pressure. It was liberating for once just to sit back and enjoy the second half of a game without worrying about either protecting a tenuous lead or frantically trying to come back from an early hole. The club had played well Wednesday night in New Jersey, but came up on the short side of Lady Luck's coinflip seemingly every time in a 4-1 loss. Although after a few games this season that felt like fortuitous escapes (hello, Detroit!), maybe a game like that was due. After Miro Satan scored his 5-on-3 goal in the first period, it seemed that the team played with freedom and fun in front of the home crowd.
-I was chanting along with the Mellon Arena throng who were screaming "WE WANT TEN" in the waning moments of the third. Alas, it was not to be, so we'll have to settle for the biggest Pittsburgh offensive outburst since February 2001 and the first dual hat tricks recorded since this night in 1993:
Joe Mullen had the other HT on that historic night, as the Pens blitzed the Rangers to set the alltime NHL record for consecutive wins with 17.
-On to college football for a moment, and specifically the Heisman Trophy ceremony this weekend at the Downtown Athletic Club in NYC. Of course, I won't be watching because Texas Tech's Graham Harrell hasn't been invited to attend, despite the fact his performance this season is just as good as the three official finalists - Florida's Tim Tebow, Oklahoma's Sam Bradford and Texas' Colt McCoy. I seem to recall a couple occasions in which four players were asked to be on hand for the trophy presentation (Randy Moss' big year in 1997 stands out in my mind, right or wrong). If any year called for the DAC to bend its rules a little bit, it was this one as Harrell, McCoy and Bradford each put his team in position to play for the national title. Chalk it up to just another way in which college football gets it wrong.
-Pens at Flyers on Saturday afternoon, then four days off. Games against Philly are always important, and check it out, the Flyers have recovered from a bumbling start to the season and are tied with the Penguins for second place in the tightening Atlantic Division. The Rangers are four points ahead of both Pennsylvania teams, but one gets the sense that they are primed to be overtaken in the coming weeks. The team that wins Saturday gets an early leg up in the effort to push past New York.