Pens Go Out With a Whimper, Not a Bang

Damn was that a pathetic outing in Game 7.  I can understand losing, but for the first half of that game it seemed that the Pens just didn’t give a damn.  It was an incredibly lame penalty call against Crosby, but the usually listless penalty kill was even more listless than usual and it was 1-0.  From there the Pens blah’ed their way along.  Orpik wastes his time grinding a guy into the back of the net, then wanders aimlessly in front just in time to screen Fleury; 2-0.  Defense backpedals and blithely watches the Habs pass it around until Cammileri is wide  open for the zillionth time in the series; 3-0.  Turnover while on the power play, Gonchar  waves at the guy on his way to the net; 4-0 and Fleury is benched.  Then they wake up and if they could’ve beaten Halak on the power play early in the 3rd they may’ve actually perpetrated a fraud on the sporting world and won the game.  But of course they didn’t.

The inevitable next morning postmortems focus in a few directions:

1) It would help if the Pens had defensive-minded defensemen.  The problem wasn’t that Hal Gill was marking Crosby.  The problem is Hal Gill wasn’t playing for the Penguins.  And neither was Rob Scuderi.  The only good defenseman the Pens had left was Brooks Orpik.  Gonchar, Letang, and Goligoski are all better on offense, Eaton and Leopold are solid but unremarkable.  That meant every defense pairing had only one guy that was decent at playing defense.

2) Sid & Geno were non-factors.  Personally, I credit the Habs for that.

3) Fatigue.  Earlier in this playoffs the Pens hit the 300 games the past 3 seasons mark.  Additionally, several players participated in the Olympics this past February.

4) Fleury was inconsistent.  Personally I don’t put much stock in that.  They won when he played outstanding, but you can’t expect outstanding every night.

5) The Habs beat them.  More to the point, Halak beat them.

6) Stubborness.  Specifically, the Pens thought if they just kept playing “their game” everything would be fine they would overcome Montreal.  As such they never game-planned for the Canadiens.  If they had put resources into frustrating Cammilerri and Gionta the Habs would’ve scored like twice the whole series and the Pens could’ve won 2-0 type games instead of losing 3-2 type games.

The pity for Montreal fans is they don’t have anything to do now.  They just rioted after winning a conference semifinal.  What do they do if they win the Conference?  Shove the entire city into the St. Lawrence River?  Also, the ungrateful ignats won’t have Sidney Crosby, ie their national Savior, to heckle anymore.  If I had to watch one more game at the Bell Center w/ those absurd “Crosby sux” chants I would’ve driven up there and personally throttled 20,000 people one at a time with my bare hands.  What a bunch of dipshits.  The dude saved all your asses just 2.5 months ago.  You don’t have to applaud him every time he gets the puck.  But polite applause at player intros and then a non-reaction during the game would’ve indicated a level of intelligence above that of your typical potted plant.

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