I can't even count the number of times someone, upon discovering that I have a blog, made some kind of joke comment about it. It's all in fun really, and to be honest I've gotten used to it by now, but one of the most popular ones is "You better get home and blog about it."
When I saw the latest blog from Max Talbot (many thanks as always to Becky for the translation) I couldn't help but wonder if he thought to himself, "Man, I can't wait to blog about this," following Wednesday night's fight night between Brent Johnson and Rick DiPietro.
Even if he didn't, I'm going to pretend he did anyway.
After the jump, Max talks about Johnson decking DP, Evgeni Malkin returning to the ice and the Pittsburgh Steelers' championship run (a weird score prediction, if I do say so myself).
A spectacular KO from our goaltender!
Wow! It was exciting! That’s my opinion on the spectacular KO that Brent Johnson inflicted on Rick DiPietro at the end of Wednesday’s game. For a team, it’s nice to see your goalie do that, and it gives us energy.
The worst in all that is that Brent is right-handed, so I don’t dare imagine what he could do with his right hand in a fight!
I appreciated his decision to go to the other end of the ice, since DiPietro had just laid a hit on Matt Cooke.
I can’t say that I was very surprised to see him fight. We know he is physically strong, that he’s an athlete of character, and that he is a winner. I wasn’t that astonished, but still it is rare to see two goalies go at it, and it was quite a fight!
When he returned to the bench, Brent was welcomed by several teammates and we were all psyched by his performance. Marc-André Fleury, our No. 1 goaltender, was particularly excited. You need to know that Marc-André has always wanted to fight, but he hasn’t yet had the chance to do it during a game. You can see that he likes that and he talks about it sometimes, so you can say that Brent beat him to the punch…
My 50th goal, a relief!
If you watched our game to the very end, you noticed that I finally put an end to a run of 25 games without scoring. I confess, this goal (the 50th of my career and also my 100th point) did me a lot of good, even if it was into an empty net.
It was a relief, as I was bugged to be stuck at 49 goals in my career for so long. I’ve been playing some good hockey lately, with my work on the penalty kill and winning my face-offs. Also, I have been getting lots of scoring chances, so it was beginning to get frustrating.
I remember winding up with a bunch of chances in a game against the Islanders before the All-Star break, but it just wasn’t working. I took some time to get rested up during the break and that was beneficial.
I knew that by playing that way it would end up working, and I was finally rewarded. It had gotten to the point that my teammates were encouraging me, and several said to me, "I have a feeling that you’re going to score tonight!"
They saw that I was knocking at the door and they couldn’t believe that it wasn’t working. My reaction after the goal says it all. You can see that I was happy and my teammates were happy for me, even if it wasn’t a very important goal on the score sheet.
Our coach, Dan Bylsma, spoke highly of my work in his press conference after the game, and he had also said before the break that I didn’t need to score goals to be useful to the team.
That is how I felt also, and that was okay for several weeks. I play my role, but I also need to contribute more with all the injuries in our organization, especially since I feel well physically.
In short, it was a question of time. OK, OK, let’s say it took me a little bit too much time…(haha).
We welcome the return of Malkin
Our coach confimed Thursday that Evgeni Malkin will be able to return to play Friday against the Sabres after a five-game absence.
That is obviously very nice to hear. Also, Gino has always responded well after a few days away from the game. He is a leader on our team and one of the best players in the NHL. We really can’t wait to see him back in uniform for our games!
While I’m at it, I’d like to go back to our tough game on Tuesday against the Rangers. We were just coming back from a five-day break and you never know what to expect in those circumstances. It was a very intense contest and things got complicated when Jordan Staal was thrown out of the game early.
We were already having to do without Sidney and Evgeni. It was quite a match, even if it wasn’t easy, and we managed to get the victory (4-3 in a shutout). These kinds of games in late January and early February help solidify team spirit and character.
Brent’s battle had the same effect. The guys were really happy going back to the locker room and that is excellent for a team.
A Steelers victory, of course!
I can’t help slipping in a few words about the Super Bowl. We go up against the Capitals in Washington on Sunday, but luckily we’ll have time enough to get back to Pittsburgh for the game, since we play at 12:30 pm.
We have rented out a small restaurant to watch the game and cheer on our Steelers all together.
That team encourages us and supports us so much, and we see them often at our games. We do the same thing for them and it would be great to see them win the big game.
I will end with a bold little prediction about the score. I predict 39-35 in favor of the Steelers!