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Penguins Must Wait ‘Til Next Year – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Must Wait ‘Til Next Year

As a long-time Penguins fan, writing the summary for yesterday’s Game 6 loss to the Flyers was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. It was somewhat akin to writing an obituary for a dear friend who suddenly had passed away.

Watching the game was even more painful. With dreams of a dramatic comeback from an 0-3 series deficit dancing in their heads, the Penguins never got untracked. Indeed, the enduring image from Sunday’s defeat occurred five seconds in, when Philly superstar Claude Giroux deposited our captain, Sidney Crosby, on his wallet. That pretty much summed up the whole game—if not the entire series—in a nutshell.

Give Philadelphia credit. While the Pens appeared to be skating in mud, the Flyers played with purpose and fire. They scored early. They capitalized on the power play. They forechecked hard. They protected their goalie to the tune of 40 blocked shots. When Evgeni Malkin scored a potential momentum-changing goal, they immediately countered to take the wind out of our sails. In short, Philly did all the right things.

The Flyers also got big-time performances from their best players. Giroux, who had a fabulous series (14 points), scored the game-opening goal and assisted on two others. Philly’s leading regular-season goal getter, Scott Hartnell, notched the game-winner by diving into the crease on his belly and poking the puck home. Maybe it was goaltender interference and maybe it wasn’t. Either way, Hartnell displayed a ton of passion.

Contrast that with the play of Crosby and Malkin, who tallied one point between them in Games 5 and 6. To his credit, Geno tried his best. But Sid’s stat line from yesterday (0 points, minus-3) was a far cry from a similar Game 6 in Philadelphia three short years ago when he scored two huge goals to win the series. We’re so accustomed to seeing No. 87 come up big on a big stage, I couldn’t help but be disappointed.

I must confess I never saw this coming. I knew the Flyers would provide a stiff test. After all, they’d beaten us four out of six during the regular season. And they’re a lot more skilled and talented than most fans in the ‘Burgh want to admit.

Still, I thought the Flyers would be no more than a formidable speed bump on the road to a fourth Stanley Cup. The Penguins had too many horses to lose. I even picked our boys to win it all in a hockey pool.

But the Pens simply made too many mistakes. They dug themselves a deep and precarious hole by blowing 3-0 and 3-1 leads in Games 1 and 2. Likewise, a team can’t allow 15 special-teams goals in six games and expect to hang around very long.

It’s hard to know what lies ahead for our Penguins. With a core consisting of Crosby, Malkin, Kris Letang, James Neal, Jordan Staal, and Marc-Andre Fleury they’re still an exceptional bunch. Yet I couldn’t help but feel that I watched more than a season-ending loss yesterday. I felt like I witnessed a changing of the guard, too. The Flyers—with all their young talent—suddenly appear to be the team of the future.

And the Penguins? Only time will tell.

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18 Comments

  1. PJ's Gravatar PJ
    April 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Rick, I Really enjoyed your coverage all season long. Penguin Poop has been a reliable and entertaining source for information. What are the plans for the site now that the Pens season has come to an unfortunate halt?

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 25, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Hey PJ. Thanks for the compliments … I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. I’m not sure what Phil and the gang have planned, but I’m sure it will be something good … :)

    • April 25, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

      PJ – We’ll be discussing what changes(If any) we all think the Pens need to make going forward. What players should be resigned and who should be let go. We’ll be covering the draft in June (Taking place at Consol) and the start of the free agent frenzy on July 1. We’re going to give Penguin Poop radio a break until next season starts, but we’ll be back better than ever with that in the Fall. Thanks for being a loyal reader and for the kind words about the site.

  2. Danny's Gravatar Danny
    April 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    we should learn from mistakes to prevent them in future post seasons. maybe we missed older guy like guerin or roberts but anyway i was surprised of philly in all game situations. they are pretty good and maybe could win the cup but not with those russian goaltenders who couldnt stop a beach ball. GO PENS the next season !!

    • ed27's Gravatar ed27
      April 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      I whole heartedly agree about the Billy Guerin type player. An older guy or two that has been around. One who could teach the Pens that not many people get to win the cup, and they should try their hardest every chance they get. Their hearts weren’t in it. One more year of hearts not in it and I could see some big changes. None of which have anything to do with the Flyer fan posing as a Penguin fan gmovy2002 said.

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        April 23, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

        I think you guys may be right about the Pens lacking a veteran leader. It seemed to manifest in Game 3, and again in Game 6. You just got the sense that nobody was taking charge on the bench.

        I really liked when the Pens had Gary Roberts, and then Guerin, to provide a stabilizing influence (can’t overlook Sergei Gonchar, either). Guerin, in particular, had a way of lifting the leadership load off of guys like Crosby and Malkin, which kept them loose and allowed them to just go out and play their game. I thought he was a huge (and underrated) factor in the Pens winning a Cup.

        Although Steve Sullivan, Craig Adams, and Chris Kunitz have been around for a while, I’m not sure if they have the same presence as a Guerin, Roberts or Gonchar.

  3. gmuny2002's Gravatar gmuny2002
    April 23, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Crosby needs to go, he’s overrated, the team did just fine while he was hurt. Plus, he did act like a petulant child during the series! If I didn’t see it myself I wouldn’t have believed it! Shero should send him somewhere for a few good players and draft choices! And b4 all of you start ripping me, I’ve been a Pens fan since 1967 and have been watching hockey since 1962 (Pittsburgh Hornets). Besides the way he represented the team (and the league) with his complaining he proved to me that he is only an overpaid jerk like 90% of the athletes today! I used to admire him until I saw this display over the past two weeks! Go ahead everybody, unleash your venom, sticks and stones…….

    • gmuny2002's Gravatar gmuny2002
      April 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been following the Penguins since 1962. I go on Penguins websites and make stuff up.

      • gmuny2002's Gravatar gmuny2002
        April 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

        I did not post that! I’ve been a Pens fan since 1967, they weren’t even in the league in 1962, fool! BTW, ru the same creep who was on ESPN posting crap in my name threatening people! Don’t you have a life, you have to start trouble and then not only hide behind the internet, but then use my name to start trouble! You want to talk about a coward!

    • Danny's Gravatar Danny
      April 23, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      Sids series was not his standard i know but be patient. he is not overrated. won the cup, olympics, world champs, trophies. wake up old man ! Anyway you should be patient. his time will come again. thanks god he is ok after that concussions. moreover you should be more experienced and dont say that the team was good or better without him. bullshit. you cant compare regular and post season. the most responsible is the coach who could handle philly cause they were very good and lucky too

      • Mercury's Gravatar Mercury
        April 23, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Flyers fan here. Glad to have won the series. I cant stand it when crosby throws his head back….complains….and dives….You can say he does it a little or alot…that really doesnt mean anything. Its that he does it….

        And the reason it eats me is…he is to good for that crap. There is a reason the league has made him their golden child. He has awesome skills and a league with Crosby in it is better than a league with out him. The league needs these star players and they each need to be their own personality. We dont want robots. Is it earth shattering? No. But I dont think he does himself justice. He needs to leave that song and dance crap to the Neals and Hartnells of the world. Let them hit and claw and cheap shot each other. Stay above it. Much like Mario did. In the end, he is 24. Young. He is competitive and that can make you brash and impulsive, particularly in the face of a loss, such as to a hated rival.

        Im a hockey fan first…Flyers Fan second. In my world Crosby is their to be hated by the Flyers faithful. I love hearing all the boos for our guys when in Pittsburgh. These games are what makes hockey awesome. But I dont want to see anyone laying on the ice from a cheap shot. And the Malkins, Girouxs, Crosbys..etc…Need to rise above that crap….

        Thats what makes a great hockey player legendary….

        IMO

        • gmuny2002's Gravatar gmuny2002
          April 23, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

          Nice comment, I could not have said it better! Now if only people wouldn’t post false info using my name!

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          April 24, 2012 at 12:11 am | Permalink

          You make a lot of good points, Mercury.

          I really don’t have anything to add, so I’m going off on a bit of a tangent. As hockey fans, aren’t we blessed to be able to watch players like Crosby, Giroux, and Malkin on a regular basis? Win or lose, the Pens and Flyers played some of the most riveting, entertaining hockey I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching, filled with spectacular goals, sensational passing, and gut-wrenching momentum swings.

          Sometimes I think we forget just how fortunate we are to be able to root for players and teams such as these.

          • Mercury's Gravatar Mercury
            April 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

            I agree. As long as neither team cheaps the other, just think how long we get to see two teams battle the hell out of each other 6 times a year. Sweet.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 23, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Boy, Gmuny2002, you said a mouthful. I don’t disagree that Crosby’s comportment left something to be desired in this series. I was especially disappointed in his leadership (or lack of) during the pivotal Game 3, when he let his emotions get the better of him. The team followed his lead, and we saw where that got us.

      Having said that, I agree with Danny. With all the phenomenal things Sid’s accomplished we tend to forget that he’s only 24 years old! (I shudder when I think about some of things I did when I was his age.) He’s been through so much these past couple of seasons, I think we need to give him a pass. Hopefully he’ll learn and grow from this experience and become an even better player and leader.

      Let’s get Sid back hale and hearty next season and go on from there …

      • April 24, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

        Rick,

        And I believe if you check the stats, Sid had 8 points in the series. Only two other players have more points than he did so I think it’s safe to say he did show up.

        • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
          April 24, 2012 at 9:40 am | Permalink

          You’re right, Disco Stu. I sure wouldn’t call Sid’s performance against Philly a failure. Eight points (including three goals) in six games is pretty darn good by anyone’s standards. It just wasn’t quite Crosby-esque.

          In Sid’s defense, I think he was still working out the details in his game, post-concussion. Let’s get him back for a full season. Given his passion, drive, and focus, my guess is he’ll be out to prove that he’s still the best in the game. If he stays healthy I think he’ll have a monster season.

    • ed27's Gravatar ed27
      April 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      Gmuny please stop breathing in that Philadelphia air over there in Philly. You are starting to become the crap they are feeding you. If you are a Penguin fan like you claim, you win the award for dumbest comment by a Penguin fan this year. Congratulations. Please do tell everyone where you live. A simple search of Gmuny2002 on google shows he lives right outside of Philly in York Pa. It also shows he’s a member of Philly.com with a Philadelphia Phillies logo beside his name.

      Just thought everyone know who they were giving credence to.


            

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