It's easy to be down this morning. The Pens lost again to the Rangers, continuing a trend of not being able to beat the better teams in the East. The Pens were outplayed (though not as badly as you might think -- the Pens outshot the Rangers 38-21, and if you flip-flop Fleury's gaffe and Kunitz's interference, it's a 2-2 game), Jordan Staal got hurt, and rumors continue the swirl about Crosby's future, or lack thereof. It was a rough night.
But before we go into a collective panic, let's remember a few things. It's not even the All-Star break yet. At times this season, even without Crosby, the Pens have looked as strong as any team in the league. And most importantly, if all the goals that Chris Kunitz has had waived off this year had actually counted, the Pens would be undefeated.
So, in the spirit of remaining positive, let's play a made up game of Flip Side!!!, where I throw out a negative observation that one might consider making about the Pens on this gloomy Saturday and then attempt to put a positive spin on it.
- Marc-Andre Fleury has not played well and is no longer in the Vezina conversation.
- FLIP SIDE: You can still talk about him in the "Is he giving up 3 or 4 goals tonight?" conversation.
- Jordan Staal appears to have a serious injury.
- FLIP SIDE: If he's hurt that means he can't play and get hurt again.
- Zbynek Michalek gives up a 2-on-1 on every shift.
- FLIP SIDE: The opponent doesn't score on all of them.
- The Pens played someone named Colin McDonald last night.
- FLIP SIDE: The McDonald family must have been really excited.
More Flip Side after the jump...
- Matt Niskanen plays with what appears to be an absence of all energy, passion, and emotion.
- FLIP SIDE: That just means more emotion for our Bachelor podcasts.
- Brooks Orpik is back to 2007 mode where he backs in and lets oncoming rushers use him as a screen to fire high glove-side on Fleury.
- FLIP SIDE: The economy was better in 2007.
- Steve Sullivan missed infinite wide open nets on some 5-on-3's a few weeks ago.
- FLIP SIDE: He isn't injured yet.
- Half the time you scream at the TV, "what defenseman should have been there?!" the answer is Ben Lovejoy.
- FLIP SIDE: He was so cute on 24/7 when his face was all puffy and he scored.
- Dan Bylsma's famous "Grind Bitches Down" style seems to work for about 15 minutes, the Pens score once, then give up a bad goal.
- FLIP SIDE: Bob Errey's tips to win always say it's important to start fast.
|"Ok, guys. Let's go to Plan B."|
"What's plan B?"
"Keep trying to grind bitches down, I guess."
- FLIP SIDE: If you want to beat the traffic, you just have to stay until the end of the game.
- Evgeni Malkin dazzles, but also turns the puck over more than anyone in the league.
- FLIP SIDE: Evgeni Malkin dazzles.
- Craig Adams is nice, but is really only valuable on a team that's playing well.
- FLIP SIDE: Craig Adams had a nice pass on Lovejoy's goal.
- Pascal Dupuis has been really quiet now for about 7 games.
- FLIP SIDE: Alex Semin is always quiet in 7-game increments, and he makes $6 million. What a bargain Dupuis is!
- Arron Asham is coasting on 3 good playoff games he had last year, but has otherwise done very little during his tenure with the Penguins and is too often invisible.
- FLIP SIDE: We would have lost to Tampa in six games, not seven, without Asham.
- Chris Kunitz has at least six goals waived off this year for interference or high sticking.
- FLIP SIDE: What a net-front-presence.
- Paul Martin is barely noticeable on the ice yet makes $5 million.
- FLIP SIDE: Don't they say it's good when your defensemen fly under the radar?
- Deryk Engelland went and got himself suspended for 3 games.
- FLIP SIDE: He probably would have broken is ankle during one of those three games.
- Tyler Kennedy is a chucker who isn't even that good at scoring.
- FLIP SIDE: According to Errey and Steigerwald, all these shots he takes that never go in are really impressive because he "changes the angle."
- Joe Vitale is so nervous to do something stupid and get sent to the minors that he stands and lets the other team punch him in the face after a whistle.
- FLIP SIDE: That's not even that bad, why am I still complaining?
- There was almost complete silence on Kris Letang's concussion recovery until news that he was skating on Friday morning.
- FLIP SIDE: As Tyler Kennedy has proven, the Pens have a proven track record of properly handling concussion recoveries.
- When Matt Cooke stops taking crazy pills, Matt Cooke plays like Miro Satan in 2009.
- FLIP SIDE: According to the Center for Disease Control, every 6.9 seconds, another person is not concussed by Matt Cooke.
- There has been almost no news on Sid's recovery, so we are left to latch on to statements from his agent that "he's training," even though that means nothing.
- FLIP SIDE: He's training.
|Please keep training.|