Wednesday, February 9, 2011

GTOG Fireside Chat

Dear GTOG Nation,

Pull up a chair and have a seat next to Uncle Finesse, right here above the fray.  Let's have a chat.

Huge GTOG Fan
There is a lot of noise out there right now.  About Crosby.  About Malkin.  About Matt Cooke.  About Matt Cooke.  Oh yeah, and about Matt Cooke.  Plus I forgot, the Steelers just lost the Super Bowl.  Oh, and there's the fact that Chris Kunitz is hurt, too.  Wait, did someone also just say that Jordan Staal has only 2 assists in his last 8 games? Oh, and that Matt Cooke is suspended for four games?

But now is not the time to get down on yourselves or down on the Pens.  It's February.  Two February's ago, the Pens were enduring the Valentine's Day Massacre, an epic 6-2 meltdown on Hockey Night in Canada to the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Four months later, some friend of a friend of a friend of yours was swimming with the Cup in Mario's pool and posting pictures on the Internet.

Times are tough right now, but this is a time to stay strong.  The season is still young, and better days lie ahead.  Was it over when the Red Wings dismantled the Pens in Game 5?  Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

We know you feel in a lonely place right now, having to defend two more Matt Cooke hits to his seemingly infinite number of detractors.  But you shouldn't feel compelled to do that.  So what if the hit on Tyutin was dirty?  It was.  But Cooke was punished, nothing will even remotely change in your life, and we'll all move on.

As for the Ovechkin "knee" hit on Sunday, your only disappointment should be that one day I won't be able to take a future Little Finesse to the Pittsburgh Sports History Museum and point at a jar filled with fermeldahyde and say to my boy, "You see that, son.  That's Alex Ovechkin's ACL and MCL.  It's right there.  In the clear jar.  Next to Carson Palmer's."

Turning toward the future, the players who could be missing from the Pens' lineup on Thursday against the Kings have accounted for approximately 114% of the Pens' goals so far this year, but that doesn't mean we will lose.  The Kings stink.  Well, not really, but we can still win.  Hopefully.

The point is this.  You have every reason to be pessimistic about the next 4 months, but you also have cause for optimism.  Yes, we will drop out of the #4 seed, and probably soon.  But, the Pens have a 14-point cushion over the 9th place team in the East.  Sidney Crosby is not out for the season, or so Rob Rossi confirms hourly.  Chris Kunitz will be back.  Matt Cooke will be back.  Jordan Staal will start scoring.  Mark Letestu will return.  We have a Stanley Cup caliber defense corps.  And we still have The Flower.

"Um, dats a lot of de onus for juss me."
So to get through the next month, imagine where we will be in April.  The #7 seed in the East.  A healthy Sid.  $9 million in trade deadline acquisitions.  A split of the first two on the road against the Lightning in Round 1, coming back to a raucous CEC for Game 3.  We will be the first to say what we guarantee will be the common refrain among the punditry come playoff time -- the one team you do not want to see in the first round is the Penguins.

Reinforcements are on the way.

Yours in black and gold,


P.S. If the above doesn't work, I'm going to the Washington Wizards game tonight so that will definitely help me feel better about myself.

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