Ashamed? Disgusted? No, Disappointed.
Mario has no reason to apologize to the NHL for the conduct of his team. After he complained about the Isles game last year, we’ve seen little to no change in cheap shots, head shots or fighting. And the punishment doled out by Shanahan has, at best been inconsistent. Until the leagus seriously address that, no apology is needed.
Fleury is to bame? 42 wins this year. Very good record overall but inconsistent play. He can make spectacular saves that other goalies dream of but he has extreme trouble handling rebounds and soft shots especially from any distance. And once he’s burned, many times he can’t put it behind him and recover. He stops players in shootouts maybe better than anyone in the game but during regulation on a breakaway, has severe problems. Great goalies stop those shots. Stop enough and you might not need to be good in shootouts!
Do the Pens read too much of their own publicity? They know they have maybe more individual talent than almost all other teams. Maybe the problem is it really is individual talent and not team talent. Couple this with the fact that they seem to think (for whatever reason) they don’t have to play 60 minutes and you have the makings of first round exits, and not just this year.
The Flyers have no business complaining about hard hits they think are cheap or even if they are cheap. This is the franchise that, since its inception, has relied on and added addendum to the book on bullying, cheap hits and fighting maybe more than any other team since the original six. And in the late 90s when the Pens had the biggest team in hockey and beat up the Flyers, just remember how they and the Philly media complained about those Penguin Bullies. Short memory Flyer Fans?
The power play may just have been a major downfall of the Pens but it’s not unprecedented. Last year in the playoffs, the same non existent power play very easily cost the Pens a chance to advance. Why can’t an effective PP be devised?
The Pens may have the highest percentage of just missed shots in the league. For whatever reason, they hit the posts an alarming number of times. It seems as though they can’t quite put the puck where they want it. Either that or they shoot right into the goalie. 40 shots and 3 or 4 goals normally would be fine but when an opponent shoots half that time and still outscores you, maybe you need Sid’s Dryer to practice on!
Shero’s a bad GM? Must be nice to never make mistakes. Let’s see how the next couple of years go, then you can tar and feather him.
Pittsburgh doesn’t need an enforcer, they need big, good defensemen. Maybe it’s time to try for a seasoned, All-Star one? The trend in defense today seems toward six foot plus, 230 plus pound competent players. What this means though is hockey will become more and more dangerous until some change is accepted. Tennis is a prime example of poor foresight. When rackets were changed that allowed players, both male and female to serve over 100 mph, it took something away from the game. No more long rallies; just slams, aces and out of bound returns.
Now we have guys who can skate like lightning, stick handle and shoot the puck at the speed of light on ice. The rink is shrinking because players are getting bigger and faster and there just isn’t as much free ice as there used to be to play the game the way it was intended. Maybe the future of hockey will be 4 players and a goalie to play on the ice or going to an Olympic size rink.
Maybe lastly…it’s a game… to us. It’s only a game to us. These guys get paid to do what we might love to but it’s still a game for us. It’s amazing that every year 29 of 30 teams don’t win the cup. 31 of 32 NFL teams don’t win the SuperBowl. And yet, reasonably competent and semi skilled players continue to be paid to play for teams regardless of where that team finished. Are there 580 disappointed hockey players that didn’t win the big prize? Sure! But loyalty to a team is secondary to pay. That's life. It’s a job for most of them. If there were true loyalty just for the game, there's be more players staying with their teams longer.
Oh and where was the PR for the games? This year it was a given, I guess, that the Pens were going to win (at least according to Vegas). A jumbo tron outside? Whoopie! What happened to the Whiteouts, the tee-shirts? Are we getting back to the days when Pens fans sit in the stands and talk or text others on their I-phones while the game plays on? You can have 250 straight sell-outs but this year the Philly Fans made the Pens fans look like pikers. Did Max just “shhh!” all of us?
Maybe the biggest problem off the ice is the fans. Hey guys, while this is a very good and very talented team of players and maybe the most talented in 10 to 15 years, this isn’t the 90 – 93 Penguins. It’ll be a while before a team like that shows up again and not just in Pittsburgh.
If Wednesday’s game is the last Penguin hockey game this season, it’s probable their season actually ended with the last Islander games; games the Islanders shouldn’t even have been in the ice with the Pens. That alone may give an indication of poor attitude or an ego problem that needs addressing. Win one of those games and the Pens get the top spot. Does final position make a difference? This year? You betcha. Do the other 82 games really mean anything? Sometimes, maybe. When 8 of 15 teams from each conference make the playoffs it’s beginning to not matter if you’re good, but just lucky and timely. Too many times, a mediocre team enters the playoffs only to get hot and beat a better team. Philly doesn’t have more talent than Pittsburgh even though the two were pretty evenly matched. But the Flyers are a TEAM, at least for the last 3 games, a team that didn’t give up; a TEAM that continued to play, which may not be true of the Penguins. Check out how many teams have won the President's Trophy yet failed to win the cup. Can you say 1993 for an example? Maybe one of the best teasm ever to play hockey.Thanks Kasper!
Think the Pens feel Bad? At least they have (had) 4 chances to advance. Now think how the Steelers felt! One and done! Wait! Uh Oh!