Month: March 2014

Penguins

 

DON’T PANIC

Yesterday I defied the heading you just read.  I’ve been frustrated with the Penguins performances lately, and whilst I’m not watching every game, I try to follow the team as close as time allows and watch games whenever I can, albeit most often just the 2nd and 3rd periods.  I encountered an article that proposed an argument of why the Penguins should fire Dan Bylysma and didn’t disagree with it.  I still don’t.  Problematic to me is that it’s not all his fault, I don’t blame him for last year, that was on Ray Shero.  He took a pick axe to the locker room chemistry.  It’s been tried before and failed, but it worked when last the Pens won the cup; Bylysma coached up Therrian’s team, who had lost the locker room.

Every local sports area has the iconic guy that people either love or hate.  Usually that guy is decidedly negative and always has a crappy opinion about everything, and how it’s all terrible.  If you’re not a Pittsburgh sports fan, this guy is Stan Savran.  He’s the guy who never quit waiting for the other shoe to drop during the Pirates run to the playoffs, and when they lost in the divisional round espoused “I told you so’s” like manna for the people.  During the Pens pregame I’m watching he came on to talk about how terrible they’ve been since the Olympic break.  In the graphic they showed, pre-Olympic Penguins were 6th or tied for 6th in goals, power play goals and assists (respectively).  Post-Olympics, they’re tied for 4th in goals with 9, 2nd in power play goals with 3, and last in assists with 12.

I hate being on the side of Stan Savran, and I’m not after seeing that graphic.  Statistically they’re not worse, it’s just that the pressure is on.  The assist statistic is the sole reason that they’re losing games.  I’ve never seen anyone pass more poorly, at all, ever.  They may as well intentionally be passing it to the opposition because at the rate they miss their passes they’d be more likely to hit their own player with the puck.  #1, #2, #3 on what to fix is passing.  The rest are defense.  I understand he’s not going to give up the ghost on dump and run, push to the blue line and hope for the best style of offense, but if you can’t pass it’s just not going to work.  I’m not going to panic, I’m going to hope that I can spend my birthday watching the Pens competing for the Stanley Cup.

Snowflakes start falling
      Like an afterthought in Spring
Wish they’d go away.

I am terrible at planning meals.  Awful.  I think about meals ahead of time quite often, as I do enjoy cooking and the satisfaction of a job well done, when you take that first bite and everything has come together perfectly, is wonderful.  Unfortunately the best way to achieve that result is to plan, to shop, to set time aside and prepare hours in advance; that’s not how I operate.  The other day we had a surprise pot roast for dinner thanks to the in-laws generous donation, however it wasn’t cooked with vegetables and potatoes (this ended up being a good thing).  Obviously a great portion of this went uneaten.  The next night we had boiled sausage and cabbage, and since our girls don’t eat cabbage, they had green beans for a veggie.  We never use all the cabbage, so I saved that, and the girls didn’t eat all the green beans (lightly seasoned with garlic salt).  I now had an idea.

Today is another winter day off, as close to personal days or vacation days as I get in my line of work.  As long as there aren’t too many of them and they don’t affect the bottom line too heavily, I try to take advantage of them.  Clearly this was a wide open window of opportunity to execute the beef stew I contemplated the other day.  Three of my ingredients were ready to go, I even saved all the juices and simple gravy from the roast.  What to fill it out with?  My wife and I have been trying to eat “clean”, or at least as clean as we can stand, so potatoes are  a no-no.  A-ha!  Sweet potatoes!  Carrots!  Onion!  Excellent!

I took a whole onion, chunked half of it and petaled the other, and browned it lightly in 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil.  In went the leftover pot roast, and two cups of water.  Then for the sweet potato, I took a monster one out of the bag (equivalent of two mediums probably), scrubbed it but didn’t peel, and made 1/2″ cubes.   In went the chopped carrot.  It was all brought to a slow boil, stirring occasionally, and left to simmer for about a half hour (I hate crunchy carrots in stew/soup).  In went the green beans, which was maybe 1 1/2 c, and the cabbage, which had filled a chinese food soup container, the tall one for won ton, yes that’s an official measurement.  Ground sea salt and pepper to taste, left to simmer a bit longer to warm the rest of the veggies.

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Wow, I really impressed myself!  I was never great at sports, and always played on crappy teams which may have been my fault, but I think this is what winning tastes like.