Penguins Get an ‘A’ for Atrocious – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Get an ‘A’ for Atrocious

I’ve been a die-hard Penguins fan for nearly 40 years. During that span there have been precious few times—especially since the arrival of Mario Lemieux—when I haven’t been proud of our team. But this is one of ‘em.

It isn’t that the Pens lost a crucial Game 3 to the piping-hot Flyers yesterday. Every team loses. Rather, it’s the way they lost that has my guts churning.

With their playoff lives on the line, our boys seemed infinitely more interested in extracting a pound of flesh than extending the series to … say … a Game 5. To make matters worse, the chief instigator in the team’s roguish and thoroughly undisciplined play was their leader and captain Sidney Crosby.

I’ve always had the utmost admiration and respect for Crosby. Not only is he an exceptional hockey player, but he’s a wonderful young man as well. However, this wasn’t Sid’s finest hour. Instead of focusing his energies on dissecting Philly’s defense, he seemed most intent on stirring up crap.

The team followed Crosby’s questionable lead to the hilt. Our best defenseman, Kris Letang, got tossed in the first period of a must-win game for fighting. Arron Asham cross-checked Brayden Schenn up high in response to a hard, but clean hit and then pounded his head into the ice for good measure. If I didn’t know better, I’d have sworn the Pens and Flyers had switched jerseys before the opening faceoff.

Much to my dismay, Crosby and fellow superstar Evgeni Malkin continued to engage the Flyers in extracurricular activities all game long. There were numerous occasions during the course of the telecast where I found myself screaming, “Get out of there!”

I’m all for physical play as long as it helps the team. I don’t have a problem with fighting, either, when it’s warranted. And I fully understand that a rivalry such as this can cause emotions to boil over. But what the Penguins were doing made no sense at all. It reminded me of an infamous heavyweight match between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Realizing he couldn’t win, “Iron Mike” got himself disqualified by biting off a chunk of Evander’s ear.

Pens coach Dan Bylsma deserves his share of the blame, too. He flat-out lost control of his team. In some instances he even fanned the flames. When Bylsma left James Neal on the ice following the big winger’s borderline hit on Flyers rookie Sean Couturier in the third period, it was like squirting a fresh coat of gasoline on a smoldering fire. All things considered, I thought the Flyers and their coaching staff showed remarkable restraint.

I wonder how Lemieux feels about all this. Mario’s worked so hard over the years to turn the Penguins into a classy, dignified organization. My guess is, his stomach’s turning over.

Fortunately, the Pens have one last chance to get it right. They’ve got an opportunity in Game 4 to show the hockey world that all the negative things people like NBC analyst Mike Milbury and Rangers coach John Tortorella are saying about them aren’t true. Win or lose, let’s show some class.

*Be sure to check out Rick’s new book, “100 Things Penguins Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die” at TriumphBooks.com. It features 296 pages of bios, stories, anecdotes and photos from the team’s colorful past in a compelling, easy-to-read style. Whether you’re a die-hard booster from the days of Jean Pronovost or a big fan of Sid and Geno, this book is a must have for any true Penguins fan.

Don’t forget to check out Rick’s first book, “Total Penguins,” at TriumphBooks.com. A complete and comprehensive book on the team’s rich and storied history, it’s filled with season-by-season summaries, player profiles and stats, bios on coaches, general managers and owners, photos from the “Post-Gazette” archives, and much, much more.

*Be sure to check out Rick Buker’s books,
available at TriumphBooks.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com

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  1. Pen's 4ever's Gravatar Pen's 4ever
    April 16, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Good article, right on the money.. your comments where the same as mine Sunday afternoon, Schenn’s hit was OK, Hopefully we can focus on the hockey game Wed. ( it was entertaning though). I was hoping Engelland would get a chance to land a couple, but he got 10 for pushing Kubina around the pyle!!

  2. Caps Fan's Gravatar Caps Fan
    April 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Props to you for a well-written article. Some very good points were made and I couldn’t find anything with which I disagreed. It’s nice to read something coming from the Pens corner that’s actually written objectively. Bylsma definitely lost control and the team as a whole looked out of character.

    PS… perhaps you can help Mr. “Southside Shultzie” with his writing. Not only is it riddled with grammatical errors, but the content is inaccurate homer trash!

    • April 16, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      In defense of Southside Shultzie, this is a Pittsburgh Penguins blog. Our goal is to give the Pittsburgh Penguins fans side of the story. Not all of us are perfect (Rick) grammatically. I for one am the king of the run on sentences.

      • Caps Fan's Gravatar Caps Fan
        April 16, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Fair Enough. Just my two cents. That’s the problem with these opinions – everyone has and is entitled to one. : )

  3. Travis Turchak's Gravatar Travis Turchak
    April 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Rick, i was wondering if you could do me a favor, in future articles when you mention scott hartnell can you please refer to him as MANPERM? any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

  4. Travis Turchak's Gravatar Travis Turchak
    April 16, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Ashams hit on shenn may have crossed the line rick, but it might help if you actually watched the game or the series for that fact. Asham cross-checked his shoulder pads, not his throat or face, poor schenn was so injured that he missed one shift. The couturier hit was a joke, gamesmanship by the flyers. This was the 3rd time in recent weeks the flyers almost called a coroner for their critically injured players (Briere, Schenn and Couturier) and they claim crosby takes dives! I honestly think the penguins did hit that breaking point of enough is enough, and its time for a change, too bad it wasnt on the scoreboard.

  5. April 16, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Rick please for the love of God stop listening to the announcers. Schenn’s hit was NOT a clean hit it was a vicious dirty hit. He was called for charging, but not until Asham took action into his own hands.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 16, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      Even if–as you say Phil–it was a dirty hit, it didn’t merit Asham cross-checking the guy in the throat. I love “Ash” and love the fact that he sticks up for his teammates. But his response was way over the top. Now we’ll probably have to play Game 4 without him.

      Frankly, this was one of the most undisciplined efforts by a team fighting for its playoff life that I’ve ever seen.

      • April 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        As usual we will have to agree to disagree on that one. I’m an eye for an eye person. Asham getting an instigating for fighting or just plain leaves it go and the Flyers take runs at the Penguins all afternoon.

        I will agree to say the Penguins did play the game of hockey undisciplined.

        • Joe M's Gravatar Joe M
          April 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

          Take off your blinders or put in your contacts, or get a new TV. Cheap is cheap, you can’t defend what the Pens intent was. It was dumb and the classier/more talented team won in the end.


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