Sunday, March 11, 2012

Run To The Hills

Bruce Dickinson's first album with Iron Maiden, "The Number of the Beast," is often lauded as the band's best. While I disagree, and think "Powerslave" is their best, I can't deny that "Beast" is full of classic songs; "Hallowed Be Thy Name," "22 Acacia Avenue," "Invaders," and of course, the title track all come to mind.

At an Iron Maiden show, there is one song the band keeps as a reward for a great crowd. It is only played when a crowd has reached superhuman levels of insanity. After an encore of "Number of the Beast," "Hallowed be Thy Name," and "Running Free," (from the first album, "Iron Maiden") the crowd sits in anticipation as the lights go down a final time. On many nights, the crowd is disappointed to hear the PA system begin playing "Always Look On The Bright Side of Life" from Monty Python's "The Life Of Brian". Some people laugh, some sit in stunned disbelief that they didn't exactly get what they came for. Something is missing.

However...on rare occasions, after all the smoke has cleared, Nicko McBrain begins pounding out the tribal drums, and Dave Murray, Janick Gers, and Adrian Smith play a familiar harmony. Soon, Bruce Dickinson begins filling the empty space with lyrics about Europeans taking over the lands of North America. Eventually, Steve Harris comes in with his trademark bass sound, and it's on: "Run To The Hills".

The NHL should collectively hit up iTunes and begin listening. The song is about to become their reality.

As of right now, 6:30 on Sunday, the Penguins sit in 4th place in the Eastern conference with 89 points. Were it not for the unfortunate seeding rules the league follows, their 89 points would put the Pens into second place, behind the first place New York Rangers, whose once seemingly untouchable lead in the standings has dwindled to just two points. They play the 14th place New York Islanders tonight at 7:00.

It was not too long ago that things seemed bleak for the Pens. In early January, there were reports that the team was splitting at their core, with players being vocal about their displeasure regarding the rehabilitative efforts of captain Sidney Crosby. These reports, fueled specifically by Tribune Review writer Dejan Kovacevic, caused a kind panic that hasn't been seen since the stock market collapsed in 1929.

Since those reports, the team has been playing with fire, and are 9-1-0 in their last ten games. Their penalty kill is first in the league, and their power play is ranked 7th. Marc Andre Fleury is second in wins.


Today, the Penguins disposed of the once fearsome Boston Bruins in convincing fashion, chasing last year's Vezina-winning goaltender, Tim Thomas, to the locker room after one period. Run to the hills, indeed.

Here's my artistic rendering of the game:

No mercy from the drop of the puck. Though the Pens were outshot by Boston 36-32, the outcome was never in doubt. Admittedly, the Bruins may have been tired after being defeated yesterday by an abysmal Washington Capitals squad. The Penguins' Arron Asham scored 3 minutes and 24 seconds into the first period, and was quickly followed by a goal from defenseman Matt Niskanen at 7:12. 

They never looked back.

Despite two goals from David Krejci in the second period, the Penguins lived up to their reputation as one of, if not the best third period teams in the league. They did not allow a third period goal, and got some offensive help from Pascal Dupuis, who netted his 18th goal of the season with assists from Deryk Engelland and Jordan Staal.

Pascal Dupuis: The Red Fish Warrior

Nothing else too important happened. Just kidding, Evgeni Malkin got his 500th career point on Matt Niskanen's goal, which also saw James Neal get his 200th career point. With that assist, Malkin became the 4th fastest current NHL player to reach 500 points.

"I like make score many point"
-Evgeni Malkin


It's Cam Neely's knee.

Sorry Pensblog, I couldn't help but make the joke.