First, forgive Jaroslav for his Caliendo worship. Our comrade watches only hockey (and only hockey), and doesn't realize most of America wanted to choke Caliendo close to death after the TBS MLB Playoffs debacle (which was so awful, poor Frank was answering questions from Artie Lange three weeks later on The Howard Stern Show about how he was "hated by America") during which the formerly-great network showed a "Frank TV" promo during every commercial break, and sometimes twice (to be clear though, I love Caliendo ... I'm a sucker for impressions, especially his "turreble" Barkley).
Anyway, back to hockey ... .
The NHL Network (thank you, Time Warner Binghamton) carried the Lightning-Pens ...
And I watched 35 seconds of the first period when I realized the Pens were half asleep and, possibly, thinking ahead to a trip to the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday. Our friends at HNIC radio (Marek and Morrison on a Friday -- thank you CBC, I can't handle Cassie or Kelly "a message to you ... quit" Hrudey on a Friday) told me all about The Sidney's lust for playing in front of Les Supporters des Habitants ... and then The Sidney sprained his ankle on an ugly slide into the boards.
Didn't see the play -- I was flipping back to the Notre Dame-Michigan college game -- but I saw The Sidney limping and Paul Ranger sitting in the box, and I figured George Laraque would be giving Ranger the Steve Downie at centre ice in two minutes, but nonesuch. Watching the replay, it didn't look like anything more than a soft X penalty, or holding, or tripping. Yeah, something.
The result: Pens fan get to watch the raw, adaptable genius of Michel Therrien without that pesky team leader getting in the way. After Crosby went down last night, Malkin looked like the only player on the Pens who wasn't ready to pack up for the night. He played how I imagine Olli Jokinen would play if he were still an Islander -- driving the net, splitting defenses, pestering on rebounds. Pick him up if he's a free agent in your hockey pool (just kidding Canadians! Even we Americans of wee hockey knowledge know the man isn't worth picking up without The Sidney feeding him sweet bounce passes).
Elsewhere in the hockey universe
Notre Dame played at Michigan. It was a thrilling 3-2 victory for the Wolverines, and I watched about 15 seconds. I tried. And I continue to try. We picked up college hockey games Friday and Saturday nights on the $2 sports tier that gave us the NHL Network, so I've been trying to slog through Minnesota/Minnesota-Duluth matchups and the occasional Denver v. Somebody game, but I just can't do it for some reason. Even Cornell makes fairly regular appearances on TW's local sports feed, but the cameras at these games are a close rival to Slingbox on the Mac (anything past 4 in. and you're watching Atari Sprites and digital lag), and really, as much as I love hockey, I don't know who these guys are, and I know they're not going to fight. I'll keep trying. The Reverend grew up with AHL hockey in the slummy, hockey-gorgeous Broome County Veterans Memorial Arena, where the three-curse, four-beer minimum is still enforced, so the gentrified climes of the collegiate game are still growing on me. I will continue to try. See this for further discussion.
Buffalo scores 10, Rick Jeanerette's heart lives through it
Didn't see any of this game because I forgot it was on. Did switch over in time to see the refs sorting out some kind of mess in the third period, with the score 9-1 ... the Thrashers wound up two men down. Jeanerette, with the camera focused on Don Waddell, said something to the effect, "maybe it's time to throw up the white flag." If Jeanerette thinks a visiting team is getting screwed, the team is getting screwed. Many times over. The Sabres scored again. Derek Roy had a hat trick. Jason Campbell is still overrated.
I watched A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints in commercial breaks, and committed myself when I realized there weren't gonna be no more fights in the Sabres game. Not bad. Robert Downey Jr. is getting better as he gets older. He's growing out of that "I'd agree to do The Shaggy Dog for a half a rock of crack" stage and getting a little more weathered and more subtle with the "I'm manic! Manic and brilliant!" thing. He was pretty damn good in Zodiac.
Saints had every guido's favorite father, Chaz Palminteri, and Shia LaBeouf. Both were serviceable. Downey Jr. was excellent until the closing scenes, which were written by a man wearing hams on his hands. Rosario Dawson was awful. The assholes who put the stars on the digital movie guide gave it ***. I'd give **1/2. And you don't care.
Go forth and forecheck.