FanPost

Preds/Pens Preview: Game of Thrones

"The dark descends through the promised land...

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"Down kingdom come and the acid ban...

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"I'm bad alone, burned inside out...

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"Nothin' to kill it, I hit the city..." "Hit the City" - Mark Lanegan

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On the eve of a fateful match up with one of the most celebrated and intimidating teams in hockey, I decided it would be a good idea to detail what the Preds – and Smashville – should expect from the Penguins and from Pittsburgh. I have visited Pittsburgh, watched hockey games in Pittsburgh and I have close friends who are proud to call themselves Yinzers. So you can just take my word for all this. Or not. Here I am, by the way:

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I’m not gonna lie. I do not hate the Pittsburgh Penguins. In fact, I think there’s a lot to like about them. A LOT. Unless you’re a Flyers fan, or you really believe that they really believe their own press, they’re a difficult team to dislike. It’s outright wrong to hate them simply because they’re talented, expertly coached, have a rabid, loyal fan base and play in the best venue in the league. And did you know that they’re shape shifters?

Exhibit A: Marc-Andre Fleury, Goaltender

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(Ben voyons donc.)

Here are forwards Geno Malkin and Chris Kunitz:

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(Geno, quit plucking Kuni bald!)

And here are defensemen Deryk Engelland and Robert Bortuzzo:

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("You can’t rollerskate in a buffalo herd…")

But the champion shape shifter of them all, of course, is none other than that MVP Everybody Loves to Hate, Mr. Sidney Crosby:

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(Wow!)

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(Whoa!)

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(Awesomer!)

If the Preds are going to contain – let alone defeat – the Pens, they’re going to have to keep Sid in check, so to speak. They’re also going to have to keep an eye on this guy, because when he’s not having his time of the month and he decides to be productive, he’s extremely dangerous:

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These guys are kinda famous for swarming the net and shooting the puck a lot – just FYI. Here they are in warm-ups giving Fleury a relentless workout. Oh, and he’s taunting them as well. It’s not even the first period yet and I’m already exhausted:

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No, it’s not right to hate them for their assets but you have full license to laugh at them. At this point in the proceedings, their legacy and provenance is ridiculous:

Mario Lemieux, Owner and Hall-of-Fame Penguin. I’m not going to tell you who is or what he did, okay?

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But I will tell you that he has a throne in his executive office. Here he is sitting on it. (I told you – they’re all shape shifters!)

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Ray Shero, GM and son of the newly-HOF enshrined Fred Shero:

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They enter the Consol Energy Center through a secret, executive entryway (Hint: The super secret password is Yinzer):

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Once inside, they pass through corridors adorned with bling the likes of which Smashville can only conjure in its wildest dreams. Hark, the Bling Drawers Mounted On The Wall:

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And remember how in Denver, there was some sort of f’ed up "Chair Jail" or some crap like that? Well, in Pittsburgh they’ve got a WALL OF THRONES...

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... because they don’t do chairs in PIT. They do THRONES in PIT. When you’ve won championships and you’ve still got the taste in your throat for more, your ego and your bowels demand nothing less and management indulges the call of the wild, heeds the slap of the cheeky:

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The first office you see in the bowels of the Consol is that of Coach "Disco" Dan Bylsma. Behold, the Beast Master General, Tamer of Wild Team USA Slaves, Beckoner of the Call of the Wild:

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For Ladies Only:

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This is Disco Dan’s coaching mantra. Feel free to compare and contrast with the mantra of Coach Trotz at any time, by the way:

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(Mesmerizing, trance-like positive reinforcement? What a concept!)

This is Disco Dan’s Office Throne. He lets everybody sit in it because why the f**k not? Plus, it reminds him of Star Trek:

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Here is Disco Dan’s official portrait, posing with his A-listers:

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(L-R: James Neal, Geno Malkin and Sidney Crosby)

Dayum straight, Smashville. If you get to Disco you get to this entire team. Some teams have all the fun. Are you catching my drift? It’s nice to be a Pittsburgh Penguin. And it’s nice to live in Pittsburgh. Once an industrial canker sore that spewed coal smoke and grime into the sky and the punch line of every struggling standup comic’s tired old joke, Pittsburgh is a reborn, revitalized city boasting an alright employment rate, a bustling arts and entertainment scene and crazy sports fans who can and will show up at Pens games looking like Hulk Hogan with snarky signs whether you like it or not:

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(Don’t let this guy piss you off, Preds. He’s a season ticket holder and his signs are hysterical. He goes in peace.)

So where were we? Oh yeah. Keys to the Preds’ strategy to winning this game? O-kay. This is Penny, purchased from the National Aviary Gift Shop in Pittsburgh, PA.

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This is Abner. MouthGuard’s Pride And Joy, from San Francisco, CA.

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Did you notice what "happened" to Penny when MouthGuard gave her to Abner as an offering from her trip to Pittsburgh? Abner tore off Penny’s wing "by mistake" in the heat of excitement.

BOOM. Follow Abner’s lead, Predators. And may the force be with you. You will need it.

** lion’s share of photos taken in and around fantastic Pittsburgh, PeeA, at the National Aviary and the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History; portraits of Penny, Abner and Sid are from San Francisco and San Jose, CA, if you want to get all technical.

This FanPost was written by an OTF reader, and does not represent the views of the editorial staff. Got something you'd like to share? <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/admin/entries/new?community_id=208&entry_type=FanPost" target="new">Post your own</a>!

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