Been in town a few hours, and believe it or not, seems to be more hype surrounding the Pens then there is the beloved Eagles. I mean Steelers. Sure, Heinz Field is going to be filled to the brim with towel waving lunatics tomorrow, but there doesn't seem to be much of a vibe for the game.
I'm thinking it's because the Steelers haven't played real well of late, and, got beatdown by these same Jags here just a few weeks ago. Reminds me of the times the Dolphins used to sneak into the playoffs (remember those days?) They would swoon in December, then limp into a wild card game at Joe Robbie.
And guess what? A lot of those games (save for the stinker against the Ravens) turned out to be entertaining games. Just like tomorrow's tilt. Don't know who I like in this one yet, but probably leaning for the home team. Although I like this Jacksonville team, love the way they play.
Remember to check in tomorrow night as I give my take on the festivities. Will blog in the afternoon from the Penguins/Panthers game at the Igloo, then take a break to talk to JM and the players and get myself over to Heinz Field for Steelers/Jags. Then back to bloggin!
Going to be a busy day for your favorite Miami Herald hockey writer not named David J., but I think it'll be fun. I love covering playoff football, especially on the grand stage like this. Seriously, a playoff game in Pittsburgh on a cold Saturday night in front of a national TV audience? That's gold Jerry, gold.
-- The big news around town right now is the Hannah Montana concert. The Marriott City Center across the street from the Igloo has been overrun by little kids. Can't even get near the restaraunt/bar area because they've turned it into a kiddie buffet of hot dogs, mac and cheese and the like. And for $10, it was a pretty good deal! I love me some mac and cheese...
-- The Pens have won five straight and are playing very well right now, just a point away from taking the lead in their division. Think they'll come out fired up tomorrow? Panthers better be ready.
Remember, game has been moved up to 3 p.m. tip. FSN Florida and 790 The Ticket are broadcasting.
-- FSNF is putting a live microphone on Craig Anderson. That, I want to hear. Andy has a great sense of humor and I'm glad he got his win last night. Really deserved it. Sure his comments tomorrow are going to be pretty funny.
-- Just saw a report on TSN.ca saying the NHL received, measured and approved Rick DiPietro's pads. Remember he wore those pads in the first period of last night's game before the league saw them on TV, called the arena and told him to take them off. Apparently all is well. Carry on.
-- The Carolina Blue Devils waived John Grahame and today assigned him to their AHL affiliate in Albany. Grahame has really been struggling, and the Canes haven't been able to find any takers for him. Grahame has been decent against the Panthers lately but really brought the desired result.
Grahame was 1-1 against Florida this season and 5-1 last year. I'm sure if he gets his game back in the AHL he'll be called back, but then another team can snag him off re-entry waivers. If he's playing well enough that Carolina would bring him back, that's not far fetched.
Here's some stuff from Luke in the Raleigh News-Observer:
Michael Leighton, 26, is called up and meeting the team in Atlanta; Leighton's 2.14 GAA is fourth in the AHL, his .928 save percentage is second and he leads the AHL with five shutouts with a 13-14-2 record for the River Rats.
"I'm definitely surprised," Leighton said Thursday night. "I didn't expect it, but I'm excited to get the chance to play. That's what I wanted -- to do well in the [AHL] and get my shot in the NHL. Now I have to focus on doing well there."
Read Luke's stuff here: Carolina struggling like the real Hurricanes...