The initial topic was about the Penguins first rivalry, which was with the St. Louis Blues, and Madden had a distinct memory of a bench clearing brawl between the two teams during the '70-'71 season; specifically remembering goalie Al Smith taking off of his jersey and shoulder pads just so he could punch more freely. That is awesome. There's some even better info in this article, including John Garrett recalling his match up against Smith in a WHA game:
He was nuts. We had this brawl in the WHA and of course, you grab the other goalie. Well he didn’t want any part of me, I was a wimpy little guy. He’s trying to tear me away and I’m hanging on for dear life. He’s dragging me all over the ice and he’s saying, "I don’t want you, I want one of the Carlsons." So they finally break up the fight and I have to go off the ice and puke because I’m so tired just from being dragged around the ice.There's also this little gem from the New England Whalers '74-'75 Yearbook:
Al Smith is many things to many people. To fans, he is the faceless security guard, patrolling that critical hockey area known as the net. To teammates, his jack-in-the-box sense of humor helps keep the club loose during the long hockey winter. For you just never know when the ebullient Smitty will spring a hilarious line or a well-timed practical joke on fellow Whalers. But to the total Whaler community, Al Smith is a brilliant goaltender. A third team WHA All-Star for two consecutive years, many astute hockey men felt Al was robbed when snubbed by Team Canada. He's that good.There's also some pretty good stuff about his post-playing career from his Wikipedia page (fellow former cab driver). Smith played two seasons for the Pens ('69-'71), during which he participated in 92 games, but managed to win just 24 games. But really, who cares? Look at that goalie mask!
Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and BucsDugout both have good looks at how Zach Duke may be effected by the downgrade in the Bucs' infield defense this year. This is kind of why I wouldn't have been all that surprised to see Duke traded this off-season, and depending on how well the Pirates play early, he could be shipped off in June.
Fan Graphs has the Bucs ranked #25th in their annual preseason organizational rankings, which isn't great, but it could be worse. They also have a few posts about their current and future talent.
The PBC Blog has a look at Danny Moskos and where he might be in his career path. I hope he can turn himself into a decent reliever, but given his K and BB rates, it's looking more and more likely that he'll be a bust. People will always bring up Matt Wieters as the guy the Bucs missed out on, but now that Jason Heyward is the top prospect in baseball, it could just as easily be his name that haunts Pirates fans for years; supposedly, Scouting Director at the time Ed Creech preferred Heyward, but was overruled by Littlefield, ugh... let's change the subject.
Pens play the Red Wings in Detroit tonight. Malkin is gonna' be out for the game (much to Trevor's delight... there I gave you a shout-out, now shut the fuck up), and though the Wings may miss the playoffs this year because "they old", it's still a huge game, should be electric at the Joe, that is if anybody shows up. Quick note; if you ever go to an event at the Joe, make sure you take a catheter with you because it is pointless going to the bathroom, there's like 7 urinals in the entire building. Place is a dump, but so is Mellon... so whatever.
In NASN (Non-Assault Steelers News), Behind the Steel Curtain has another good roundup of what the mock drafts have us doing in April. And in ASN, apparently Ben has some people concerned.