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Penguins Fall Short in Game 5 – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Fall Short in Game 5

I was hoping against hope our Penguins would win Game 5 of their first-round series against the Rangers. If not for themselves, then for goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

No one deserved a victory more. The willowy native of La belle province made 34 saves in a courageous performance that lit up the Madison Square Garden ice.

Alas, it wasn’t enough. At 10:52 of overtime the Rangers Carl Hagelin curled off the end-boards with a Malkin-esque move and beat Fleury high to the glove side to make it game, set, and match New York.

Rarely has “Flower” shone more brilliantly in victory as he did last night in defeat. He was superb. Razor-sharp. On his angles. Gobbling up rebounds. Making impossible saves look routine with that wonderful athleticism we’ve come to admire over the years.

Too bad his counterpart, Henrik Lundqvist, was better…at least on the stat sheet. Aside from Nick Spaling’s line-plunge of a goal late in the second period “King Henrik” was airtight, stopping 37 of 38 shots.

Disappointing result aside, it was a terrific hockey game, with plenty of ebb and flow and playoff-style intensity. With the series on the line, Penguins coach Mike Johnston pulled out all stops. He moved slumping superstar Evgeni Malkin to left wing alongside Brandon Sutter. “Geno” responded with far and away his best effort of the series, firing off a game-high six shots, a total matched by Sutter.

Each team had its moments. Each had a chance to win in regulation. Six minutes into the third period Pens captain Sidney Crosby rifled a shot off the crossbar from the right faceoff dot. With 3:49 left in regulation New York’s Dan Boyle shanked an attempt at a wide-open net.

Then came overtime and Hagelin’s game-winner, which brought down the final curtain on what can best be described as a star-crossed season for the black and gold.

Once again, the Penguins face an off-season rife with uncertainty. Is venerable GM Jim Rutherford, who did mostly good work with some clunkers mixed in, the man to oversee the rebuild? What about Johnston? While tactically sound, is he able to inspire the troops?

Health-wise, how about Pascal Dupuis, Kris Letang, and Olli Maatta? Can they return?

Will the Pens re-sign any of their burgeoning stable of UFAs, which include Craig Adams, Blake Comeau, Steve Downie, Christian Ehrhoff, Paul Martin and Daniel Winnik? Do they give the kids a chance?

More important, can a top-heavy team like the Penguins thrive in the salary-cap era? Or is it time to break up the core?

It figures to be an interesting summer.

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

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5 Comments

  1. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    June 4, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    June 5, 2015
    NEWS FLASH…..PENGUINS COULD BE SOLD ! NO kidding..
    Answers the question below Rick…..Is the glass half empty or half full !
    Owners are cashing out. Take the half empty glass and getting their money NOW before the other half of the glass is gone next year when the Pens miss the play offs. Does not do much for confidence for the fan base !
    Ron Burkle as I mentioned to you in an earlier piece Rick,is NOT going to lose a couple hundred million dollars if next year this team misses the play offs, TV ratings drop, and the season ticket fan base starts to leave. The only sound business decision to make is to sell while you can. Say all the right things to the fans like we want to keep a piece of the Team or we will always be around…..That is Bull S_ _ T.

    If I am going to pay 500 or 600 hundred million dollars,most of it with Bank borrowed money to buy this struggling team,the last thing I would want is to have the former owner around telling me what to do. Mario as an owner is the reason the team performed as it did.Yes he is a very nice man, a class act, and a great corporate citizen….but he is also the reason why HIS TEAM failed to win.
    Being an owner means YOU are accountable for YOUR TEAM.We blame the GM for bad contracts. Pittsburgh had a 5 year history of bad contracts. This is the role of ownership to over see their management to insure that their investment is protected.
    Jarome Iglina said” that there were egos in the dressing room and he did not want to step on anybody’s toes.” Country club environment in the locker room some said.
    Elite players were not coming to Pittsburgh any more after that season. Why ??
    The teams future is definitely on the down turn. If the new owner has to finance 3 or 4 hundred million to buy this team…..Then you can kiss goodbye the spending to the cap limit every year. Burkle and Mario never had to carry those kinds of financing costs on their books. The new owner will.
    Nobody is going to spend 5 or 600 million of their own money to buy a average NHL team with no future stars on the horizon. Dark days ahead for the Pens….
    I do not blame the owners for selling..It is the right thing to do for them.
    I also bet that Crosby will be traded before the sale goes thru.He and Mario are really close and Mario owes “A LOT ” to Sid and Geno.. Never forget that Sid and Geno gave the owners probably 5 to 6 million dollars per year between them in lower salaries, which in theory was supposed to help Mario get better players to help Sid and Geno win more Cups. Over a seven year time span, that translates into a lot of money. $$$$$$$
    So if Sid wants out,I believe Mario and company will make his wish come true.They owe him that much. Geno too !
    Really hope he goes to Edmonton and we can get Mc David,plus probably last year’s # 3 pick, Center Leon Draisil ( MVP of the Memorial Cup ) Nails Yakapov, ( winger for Geno ) and send Peron back and get our # 16 pick back.

    Then trade Goalie Tristan Jarry and Paul Martin,Chris Kuntz, and who ever else you want to unload for cap reasons, to get young D man Darnell Nurse.

    We can only dream…

    Hope you have a great summer Rick !

  2. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    April 25, 2015 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rick,
    There is an old saying,” is the glass half empty or is it half full “. This is the same question that can be said of the 2015 Pens.Some will say that “we played statistically the best team in the NHL regular season,and every game was by a one goal margin.We lost in five games,but we were so close and because of all our injuries we lost the series.There is nothing wrong with our team.Just get us all healthy and next year we can win the cup ! Oh by the way, we were fantastic last October and November.Nobody could beat us then… our PP and PK were awesome, because we were all healthy.Injuries and bad coaching..That was the problem !” The other side of that statement says, ” The 2015 Penguins were terrible from the last 25 to 30 games of the regular season.We snuck into the playoffs beating the last place team on the last day of the season! We did not have a 30 goal scorer on the team.Our two star forwards could not score the big goals when we needed them.None of our forwards could score consistently.We could not even manage a salary cap and played with only 5 d-men the last two weeks of the season.
    We have no high draft picks.Our forwards in WBS are all small and or have limited talent. No elite talented forwards with size ready to play next year except Sundiquist, who may be a third line center at best.We were great two years ago, but now we are a mess…. Break up the core of the team while you still have some trade value left.Fire the GM and fire the Coach. If you do not, next year will be even worse than this year.Oh AND by the way, Nobody cares about what we did in October and November. The rest of the league improved during the regular season like they are supposed to do and we did not keep pace….The Rangers are the better team. So are at least 10 others in the league.We are not that good any more ! ”
    Two opposing view points. Both have some points that are correct and some points that are incorrect. I can not judge which opinion is the correct one for you. Both will spur much debate over the next two month’s.
    My opinion is that a player like Conner McDavid comes along every 10 years, and if we can get him…..I would trade my own Mother to do so. Meaning that even if I traded a Crosby or a Malkin for him, in ten years from now you will thank me. He is a Mario or Sidney or maybe a Wayne. The long term future of the franchise is what I am concerned about. This kid can sell hope and Tickets for a long,long time. If we lose again next year in the first round,or maybe even miss the playoffs with this current core group, your season ticket base will drop drastically. Scouts say there is no player of McDavid’s stature available next year or even the year after that. So if you are thinking about the long term future for the Pens franchise, the answer is pretty clear to me what to do !
    I also realize we would have to clean up a lot of older players no longer producing as expected and replace them with younger, faster, and larger players thru free agency,trades and the draft as well.

    Thanks Rick ! It is going to be a fun month of June and July for the Pens.

    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      April 26, 2015 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Hi Rick,
      Just read that team President DM told the media that Malkin and Crosby are staying put.Same for the Coach and GM. Said the owners believe in the Core group to get the job done…..The owner’s are taking the easy way out of the problem by pretending we are still an Elite team. Wake up and take off the ROSE COLORED GLASSES !
      Our team is old,small,slower than it used to be,can not score 5 on 5 consistently,injury prone,and has no elite forward prospects with size ready to play next year. AND NO HIGH DRAFT PICKS !
      Most importantly is the fact that many,many teams in our conference have great young talents in their minor system that are ready to play next year and their teams will be much better in 2016.We won’t be.
      The Penguins have a great future goalie in Mat Murray. The way MAF played this year,Goal tending is not an immediate problem. Letang can skate like the wind,but he also has had 4 concussions plus his other health issues.The guy is only one hit away from permanent retirement. Matta,has had 2 shoulder operations already in his brief career. Defense men are supposed to be physical during play off hockey.Plus he has other health issues as well.Pouleot is only 6 ft tall.Small by NHL standards… and injured .
      The other D men in our system are not top two pairings.Maybe 5-6 D men on any other Elite team.We have no game changing forwards with any size in our system.Period. But we are to believe that some how, some way if we only just add a few UFA’s players we will win the CUP. This type of thinking has the rest of the conference laughing at us. If we do not get a top 5 draft pick in June, and the Flyers draft well,we will not even be the best team in Pennsylvania next year.

  3. 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
    April 25, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Good piece, Rick! Lots of questions. I’m not what one would call GM material so I’ll waive the particulars, perhaps for another time. My lack “geemming” skills aside, I do believe that in the most simple terms this team is not big enough, mean enough, fast enough and, I dare say, at too many times this past season, hungry enough. How those issues get addressed is anyone’s guess. But they beg attention before the dawn of a new season.

    Their near heroic performance in the final series notwithstanding, it was clear they didn’t lose the series because of patchwork defense, or even untimely injuries, they lost because they couldn’t and didn’t score. The only game they won was the one in which they did just that. They may bring on the hustle of the Kapanens, et.al., but if they don’t bring on the muscle, too, that can also find the net more than once a month, it won’t matter much to future cup hopes.

    That they traded at the deadline for more experienced defense still puzzles me while watching a team that was so unfamiliar with the net. While defense does indeed help win cups, the last time I looked you still had to score more goals than the other guy to win a hockey game. If you can’t do that it doesn’t matter, even if your defense is the Great Wall.

  4. Pen's 4ever's Gravatar Pen's 4ever
    April 25, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    I feel/felt bad for MAF he played so awesome all series, I don’t care what anyone says.
    Rutherford, coach Mike and Morehouse all need to go. Does MArio through a tonne of money at Babcock and give him full GM control and then bring in a assistant GM and president?
    As far as players..well maybe it is time to trade one of the two headed monsters and make a statment..
    Sid, Kunitz, Tristen JArry and Scott Harrington
    To Edmonton for the # 1 overall pick.
    Scuderi to any team thats wants him for a 7th rounder.
    The only UFA I would keep is Lapierre. But as far as the future goes it will not be better anytime soon with the top picks traded away.
    Pen’s need to get big on the wing and one or two BIG defenseman, who are not afraid to push and mix it up in front of MAF


            

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