Wednesday, April 27, 2011

GTOG Instant Reaction: It's Over, But the Split is Amicable; Pens Lose, 1-0

By Artistry

We wanted it to work out. We really did. But part of us was holding back. We kept something in reserve. Because in our heart of hearts, we knew it wasn't meant to be. We were 1-for-35 on the power play, for crying out loud. Of course it hurts to blow a 3-1 series lead and get blanked in Game 7 by a 41-year-old journeyman netminder, but you know what? It doesn't hurt too much. The 2010-11 Pittsburgh Penguins are the hardest working bunch I've seen since I started following this team 27 years ago. They didn't get cheated. They took their cuts tonight. They just couldn't make contact.

Well, He Made Contact
The call-in shows will be overrun on Thursday with frontrunners lamenting the Pens' inability to close, Dan Bylsma's decision to go with Connor and Niskanen over Tangradi and Engelland, and Alexei Kovalev's late-game disappearing act. Turn off the radio. The Penguins lost this series because the Lighting are talented, well coached, and the Penguins have two $9 million players in street clothes. They didn't close because they couldn't close.

None of the remaining core players let you down tonight. Staal was a beast. Letang was a warrior. Orpik killed it. Fleury was spectacular. They gave everything. After popping in a single goal, the Lightning went into 1995 New Jersey Devils mode, and you can't expect Mark Letestu to power through that. You just can't. The Pens were dealt a s--- hand this season, and they played it as well as anyone had any right to expect. Don't hang your head for a single second. No other team gets to welcome Sid and Geno back in October. Meet back here Thursday for GTOPG.

5 comments:

  1. 1.) Lets PRAY that both Sid and Geno are COMPLETELY healthy come september. And, that what happened this season was an anomally and not the beginnings of an ominous trend.

    2.) Lets hope that picking up James Neal was the shrewdest way to get the young skilled power forward that Tangradi has not materialized into just yet.

    3.) Lets look forward to a guy like Tom Kuhnhackl surprising some people in training camp and providing the penguins with an additional young sniper.

    4.) Let's trust that Ray shero will have taken advantage of all the player movement this season because of injuries to identify who can fill what roles, and who out there can provide some additional offense for balance.

    5.) And lastly, lets not spend time wondering what could have been. It's over, it's done, time to regroup.


    Dave

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  2. That's the spirit, Dave. And great call on Kuhnhackl.

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  3. I'm totally fine with putting this team to bed and getting ready to welcome my Pittsburgh Penguins back next season, because the two teams don't have much in common.

    Last night the season came to an end for a team sporting 2.5 fourth lines, a very good defense, an incredible goaltender and absolutely zero offense, with an active payroll barely above the salary cap floor. Read: Florida Panthers North. This team had no business making it to the playoffs, let alone come within one win from the conference semis, if not for a winning attitude and a Jack Adams worthy coach, who made his team laugh in the face of adversity.

    Thank you, Dave, for putting our minds in the right place. Let's now settle into our secondary roles as NHL fans and enjoy the rest of the playoffs. This loss hurts, but mainly because we mistook our team for what the 2010-2011 roster reads, and couldn't fully see them as the overachievers they really are. Let's hope the Pittsburgh Penguins, as we remember them, come back healthy and ready to grind bitches down in October.

    Thanks for making this season so much more enjoyable, guys. Can't wait for the GTOG season review.

    * We should definitely pray for Sid's full recovery. We can take it for granted as much as we could accept his initial diagnosis of one week off the ice.

    ** I would be surprised to see Kuhnhacki even in training camp. He is 19 years old and is still in Juniors. I don't see any new young forward coming up from the farm next season either (we basically saw all of them this season). If Shero determines that Sid, Geno, Staal, Jeffrey, Kunitz and Neal cannot provide enough scoring, then help would have to come via offseason signings and trades.

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  4. "None of the remaining core players let you down tonight. Staal was a beast. Letang was a warrior. Orpik killed it. Fleury was spectacular."

    Exactly. The loss didn't hurt me so bad as I thought it would because those guys put forth a great effort. Can't say the Penguins didn't try hard enough in the third and can't be disappointed with our core players. Not Staal or Letestu's fault for being what we wanted them to be when we signed them.

    Ray Shero is in prime position to create a monster. This roster, when healthy, is fantastic, and there's no question about what comes next. Hold on to some role players, and get working on that power play.

    GTOG always has the best Penguins commentary on the net, BTW. Good work.

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  5. Long time reader, first time commenting. I just wanted to second your entire Instant Reaction post. I couldn't be prouder of this team, their work ethic, and their heart.

    I am already looking forward to some Shero magic in the offseason, Geno being 100% again, and Sid and Neal puting fear into the hearts of defensemen league-wide.

    Thanks for making the season so much more enjoyable with all your posts. I'll be abroad next season and will depend on your blog to keep me a part of Pens Nation. LGP.

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