Are Penguins Doomed to Repeat History? – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Are Penguins Doomed to Repeat History?

During a recent interview with Craig Adams, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asked the Penguins forward if he thought history might play a part in the opening-round series between the Pens and Islanders.

pp0379“I always laugh when I see historical statistics that don’t really mean anything,” Adams said.

However, as Winston Churchill once said, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

And so it was during the Penguins’ shocking Game 2 loss to the Islanders Friday night. Following an all-too-familiar postseason script, the Pens came out smoking and snatched a 3-1 lead, forcing Islanders coach Jack Capuano to burn an early timeout. Like a Kentucky Derby thoroughbred that blew out of the starting gate too fast, the Pens faded and allowed the Isles to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Echoing the disastrous first-round loss to the Flyers last spring, our boys spent too much time chasing. They chased the points while shorthanded, leading to glorious scoring chances by the Islanders down low.  They chased the speedy New Yorkers—and the puck—all over the ice, to little or no avail.

They may well have been chasing ghosts, too. The last time the two teams met in the playoffs in 1993, a hungry young Islanders team that bore more than a passing resemblance to the current crop upset Mario Lemieux and a star-studded Penguins team with a relentless, determined attack.

Fortunately, the Pens can right the ship by taking a page from history—recent history. After all, the black and gold rolled up a 15-game winning streak in March by embracing playoff-style hockey. They were smart and responsible with the puck, taking care of their defensive chores first and trusting that the goals would come.

The fact that the venue is shifting to Long Island may help. Playing on the road has a way of forcing a team to regain its focus and purpose, which the Pens clearly need to do. Even though they’ve sprouted a few warts, they’re still an exceptionally talented bunch. If they tighten things up in Game 3, I’m confident the Pens can add a new chapter to their playoff history—one with a happier ending.

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  1. RINIJG's Gravatar RINIJG
    May 8, 2013 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Can we panick now????? We play well in the regular season, but can’t step up any higher to playoff hockey? We see weaknesses, fill those voids and still can’t cream this team? UNBELIEVABLE!

    What has changed from us playing the Flyers last year?

  2. May 6, 2013 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    A “doomed to repeat the past” post after one loss, Rick? I’ll admit that the ghosts of ’93 wailed for a moment in my head after game two, but I shut them up remembering the value of an early loss to a team the Pens are supposed to roll over: humility and a learning opportunity. I’d rather the Pens lose an early game and recover against a weaker opponent than our boys sweep the Isles and come up against a more complete team thinking they’re invincible. Judging by game three, I’m not sure if many lessons they should have taken from their loss have sunk in yet, but at least the win was a reminder of what the Pens are capable of. More importantly, I hope these last two games have reminded them of what the Isles, or any other team for that matter, are capable of, too.

    Keep skating and win those races to the pucks, boys!


    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      May 6, 2013 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      I may have been jumping the gun a bit, Joey. But frankly, I was stunned to see them revert to their bad old 2012 ways in Game 2. And—let’s call a spade a spade—they were L-U-C-K-Y to escape with a win on Sunday. Blowing a two-goal lead in the third period in the playoffs is inexcusable. Thank goodness that was Sidney Crosby wheeling off the sideboards in overtime and not … say … Matt Cooke. Had it been anybody else that penalty wouldn’t have been called and Lord knows how the game might’ve turned out. And I shudder to think of where we’d be right now, emotionally and psychologically, if we’d lost.

      I was especially appalled by how poorly we played defensively. There had to be at least half-a-dozen instances where an Islander came blowing down the slot completely uncovered. You just can’t allow those kinds of opportunities in the postseason and expect to hang around very long.

      Fortunately, they figured out they can beat Nabokov to glove side with relative ease. And Sid has come back in top gear. (Geno, Kunitz, and Dupuis have been great, too.) But I sure do wish the Pens could tighten up defensively. Getting Brooks Orpik back would help a ton. But team defense is a collective effort, and there’s lots of room for improvement from everybody.

      Along those lines, I wouldn’t mind dressing Joe Vitale in place of Beau Bennett (who I really like) to get a truer, grittier fourth line. Then you could move Jokinen to the second line with Geno and Iginla, where I think you’d get more out of him.

      Anyways … LET’S GO PENS!

      • May 7, 2013 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        Rick, I agree with the Vitale. They need some energy guys in the lineup. Bennett will have his day, he’s real close just not ready yet. One thing Vitale brings to the table is that he draws a lot of penalties and could help wear down the Islanders defense.

      • May 7, 2013 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        I agree with everything you said. Including the jumping the gun part. Haha. But I understand completely, because the 2-1 lead can evaporate in a second if the Pens continue giving the Isles so much ice to work with. It looks like the Pens are trying to play a speed game against a speedier team, and it’s frustrating as hell because the one thing we all agreed on is that the Pens couldn’t allow the Isles to get into their groove. Disrupt and don’t give their weapons any room. It worked once and then… well, then game 2 happened. I’d like Vitale in the lineup, and I’d love to see Orpik get healthy. His presence would help reset the strategy and get the Pens back to their game.

  3. Pgh Nick's Gravatar Pgh Nick
    May 4, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    couple of things we need to do to stop from repeating history. 1; if Felury gets off his game we need to take advantage of having Vokoun, and put him in. Felury has been something of an Achilles’s heel in recent playoff years. we have two all-star caliber goaltenders but what good is that if we don’t take advantage of both of them.
    2; the issue of Paul Martin. He has to go, healthy scratch him and dress Bortuzzo who is a better player instead. it seems to me that every time Martin’s name was mentioned in the play-by-play something bad happened. I figured this would be an issue. he is NOT a good hockey player, and even with this past regular season’s improvements he is still just a mediocre defenseman and it seems that he can’t handle his shit now that it’s crunch time. let’s look at the streak of 15, who were the D-pairs? I’m pretty sure his name was absent from the roster for the majority of that. and now that we are in the playoffs with quite a bit invested in going for the cup, with a roster we can’ recreate next season, we need to stop playing/dressing people based on their salary and focus on ability/performance.
    then there is point #3; Disco Dan needs to play lines truly based on chemistry. we need to take advantage of the known chemistry between Sid and Iggy, ad well as Sid and Duper. then leave Kunitz, and Malkin together, even if Neal is down. I know he moves people around all game long, but he needs to be more aware of who plays well with who, rather than his mix and mach game in situations where the last thing we need is forward line experimentation.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      May 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Hey Pgh Nick. Like you, I wouldn’t mind seeing Iggy join Sid, and Dupuis. Given that they both play so well down low, I think they’d make a dynamite combination. The only problem is, Geno seems to finally be hitting his stride, and I’m reluctant to make any changes that might throw him into a funk.

      Fleury perplexes me, too. A couple of the goals he gave up in Game 2 were just god awful. And he leaves so many juicy rebounds lying around. He can get away with that during the regular season when the pace is slower (it actually helps the Pens transition game). But in the playoffs when the speed and intensity is ratcheted up, half the time he’s kicking the puck out to an opposing forward.

      Still, I can’t fault him at all in Game 3, when the Pens pretty much allowed the Islanders free access in our zone. Given how loosely we played, it’s kind of a miracle they didn’t score more.

      I don’t agree with you at all about Paul Martin. Truth be told, I wanted Shero to trade him for a bag of (used) pucks at the end of last season. But I thought Martin had an excellent year (he and Orpik made a terrific tandem). And, if I’m not mistaken, he was a plus-2 in Game 3 when all of our other d-men were like a minus gazillion. He’s the least of our worries.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      May 7, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

      I’ve changed my mind. After watching Fleury’s pathetic display in Game 4, the Pens MUST start Vokoun in Game 5.

  4. Melissa's Gravatar Melissa
    May 4, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    I think everyone just needs to relax. We lost 1 game, only the 2nd of a 7 game series. It’s far from over. Chill Pgh it’s ok!

  5. Art's Gravatar Art
    May 4, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Are we really writing this piece already?

  6. pen's 4ever's Gravatar pen's 4ever
    May 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Come on boy’s get it together

  7. May 4, 2013 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    lol.it is up to Disco Dan to adjust the way we could you offensive potential based on well defensive plays

  8. May 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    hope not hate new york

  9. Heather's Gravatar Heather
    May 4, 2013 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    No friggin’ way!!! GO PENS!! 🙂


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