Pens Win Game Three 3-2

Sidney Crosby is the man. This was a spectacular game. It's what I'd hoped the series'd be like....and not just because Pittsburgh finally won!

Game Three

My stomach is in knots. If the Penguins don't win this one, it's all but over. But I'm keeping the faith.



Stanley Cup and Cheesecake - Finals Edition

Well, dear readers, the time is upon us. The Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Detroit Red Wings, for the right to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. And I'm like a little kid at Christmas. I've got a ton of random thoughts I need to get out of my head before I make my prediction, so if you'll indulge me...

  • Last Sunday, the Penguins finished off the Flyers in five games, and won the Prince of Wales Trophy, which is given to the winner of the NHL's Eastern Conference. Tradition says it's bad luck to touch this trophy, since the only one you're really interested in is the Stanley Cup. Pens captain Sidney Crosby made sure to recognize this superstition, keeping a good foot or so away as his picture was taken with it. Another superstition among NHL players is not to touch the Stanley Cup either, until you've won the right to do so. Touch it without winning it, legend says, and you never will. My hockey skills being what they are, I chose to ignore this custom...but I do observe a similar respect in the presence of comicdom's Harvey Awards.

  • Although they're not really one of my favorite teams (in fact, call it overexposure or whatever you want, but I really don't like them very much), I'm nonetheless pretty well versed in the history of the Red Wings, thanks to several biographies I read as research for my story about Red Wing goaltender Terry Sawchuk in Old-Timey Hockey Tales. If nothing else, they're a proud organization with a lot of colorful history, so at least I can say I respect them!

  • This playoff run has really been the icing on the cake for what has been a really enjoyable season of Penguins hockey for me. I still haven't sprung for the Center Ice cable package so I can watch all the games on TV (seems kinda unfair to take over the big screen from my wife 82 nights a year, considering she's the one who bought it), but I did listen to the majority of them over the internet, all of them called by the incomparable Mike Lange. And, I actually got to see a Penguins game not only in person, but in obscene luxury, as my wife worked her job connections to score us seats in a luxury box at Verizon Center for the Pens 2-1 win over the Capitals last October. Amazing food, free drinks, and a dessert cart with the biggest slice of carrot cake you've ever seen...seriously, the way rich people live is on a whole other level.

  • I have a bet going with indie cartoonist and Red Wings fan Jeffery Brownfor the series...we'll both be exhibiting on Indie Island at Heroes Con in Charlotte next month, and whoever's team loses has to wear the opposing team's jersey all day Saturday!

  • It blows my mind that I did this cartoon just four years ago (trust me...the Penguins really were that bad), and that just over a year ago, there was a real question as to whether or not the Penguins were going to remain in Pittsburgh or move to Kansas City. Now, here they are playing for the best trophy in all of sports. Gotta love it.

Anyway, the pick: I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I'm taking Pittsburgh. True, it's pretty difficult for me to be objective about it, but I actually think they have a pretty good chance to pull it off. These are, without question, the two best teams in the NHL this season, and that makes it hard to gauge who has the upper hand...but I think in the end, the Penguins youth, speed and depth will enable them to get the job done. The only potential for disaster I see on the Pens side of the ledger is if goalie Marc-Andre Fleury completely loses his mojo and crumbles under the pressure...but I really can't see that happening. If anything, it'll be 103-year-old Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood who cracks. I expect "The Flower" will challenge Evgeni Malkin for the Conn-Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP!

So, here's how I see it breaking down: The Penguins gain a split in the first two games in Detroit, and head back to Pittsburgh tied (or DEADLOCKED, as Joe Beninati might say) at one. Then, they win games three and four on home ice, and head back to Motown one win away. The Wings make it interesting, winning away in Game Five...but the Penguins will not be denied, and celebrate a Stanley Cup victory in front of the home crowd in Game Six. So, mark it down...it's Penguins in six.

'Course, Penguins in four'd be fine with me too.


New Atom-Bomb Bikini.net Stickers

I've got new stickers! They're 2.75" in diameter and based on the banner design for the blog. They're not for sale per se, but you get one free with any order from the shop!

And speaking of the shop, keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for two new mini-comics: TEENY BIKINI #4 and CRUSTACEAN FRUSTRATION. They're slated to appear in time for Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC the weekend of June 20th, but should be on sale here shortly after Memorial Day!

Random Sketchiness


Bargain Bin

Skipping around Amazon.com recently, I discovered that the entire series of five "Little Scientist" children's books that I illustrated in 1999 (and which I blogged about a little over a year ago) can be had for $1.24!

Yikes! That'll humble you.


Dolla Dolla Bin, Y'all!

Here's my cover art for the upcoming Dollar Bin Sketchbook, scheduled to debut (I believe) at Heroes Con 2008. More info as it becomes available!


Stanley Cup and Cheesecake - Keystone State Smackdown

(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (6) Philadelphia Flyers

People feel the same way about the Philadelphia Flyers as they do about the Barenaked Ladies: They either absolutely love them, or they'd like to see their bus sitting at the bottom of the sea, all hands on deck. For my part, there is absolutely no team that I would rather see the Penguins beat on the way to a Stanley Cup Final. I hate the Flyers like I hate the Patriots, Ravens and Braves. That's why it's going to bring me such great pleasure to see the Penguins out-skate them, out-hit them, and generally out-class them as they knock them out of the playoffs.

I'd almost like to see it go all seven games, just to make it that much more heartbreaking for the people of Philthadelphia, but with the Flyers best defenceman, Kimmo Timmonen, out indefinitely with a blood clot in his leg, I have trouble seeing it go past five. But I'll take the Penguins in six, just because I'm sure the Flyers are bound to cheat their way to at least one victory along the way.


Stanley Cup and Cheesecake - Western Conference Finals

Dallas and Detroit get rolling tonight out west, so I'll tackle that series today and save the main event (Pittsburgh v. Philly) for tomorrow...although, judging by my picks in the last round, you might want to just skip the following text altogether and just check out the illo!

(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (5) Dallas Stars

Underdog Dallas has outperformed everybody they've faced so far in these playoffs, handling the Ducks and Sharks pretty easily on their way to the conference final. Detroit has had a similar easy go of it, being taken to six games by Nashville and sweeping Colorado along the way. Difference is, the Red Wings were expected to play that well, while everyone ptetty much wrote the Stars off when the playoffs began. Well, something's got to give in this series, and I have a feeling it's going to be the Stars. Their captain, Brenden Morrow, and goaltender, Marty Turco, have been playing extremely well, but Detroit just has too much depth, and many of their stars, most notably Johan Franzen, are on fire right now. They kind of remind me of the 2001 Penguins, who won two very exciting series against the Caps and Sabres to reach the conference finals against New Jersey, only to lose in five games because they just seemed exhausted.

To be honest, I haven't watched many of the Red Wings' playoff games this year, because I find them kinda boring, and frankly, I'm sick of 'em. And something tells me I'm gonna be a lot more sick of them by the time these playoffs are over. Red Wings in five.


Excuses, Excuses

Big apologies for the recent lack of posts, folks...where does the time go? It's not that I haven't been working hard...it's just that with the amount of jobs coming in and the midget learning to crawl (gasp!) I'm finding it harder and harder to find a minute to post the work! Looks like a post every day month is not far off, just to clear out the backlog!

Anyway, look for another Stanley Cup post Thursday, picking the conference finals (and trying to recover from my abysmal semifinal round picks). Until then, here's a recent illo from Las Vegas Weekly, examining the phenomenon that as the "regular people" get more and more attractive, the movie stars we flock to see (Seth Rogen, Steve Carrell, etc.) seem to get less so.