Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Penguins vs. Flyers Game 4: What we're hoping for

By Finesse (follow me on Twitter)

There's a really good chance that tonight will be the last game of the Penguins' season.  We want to be optimistic -- we really do -- but so far we've seen nothing to convince us that this Pens team will get their shit together and win tonight.

Instead, we've seen:

- A stunning lack of composure

- a defense as soft as baby thighs

- a penalty killing unit that can't kill a penalty

- a power play unit that can't kill a power play

- a goaltender who can't stop anything

- an MVP who can't get a shot on net

- a 40-goal scoring winger who got himself suspended

- a captain whose leadership choices have been questionable at best, and seems dead set on giving himself another concussion

- a defenseman who might as well have screamed "My style is impetuous, my defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want his heart! I want to eat his children! Praise be to Allah!" after he jumped Kimmo Timmonen

- a winger with velvety smooth hands who can't resist taking multiple offensive zone penalties a game; and

- a coach with no answers.

But there's nothing to be done about that now.  It's in the past.  The Pens are saying all the right things today. It's refreshing, although completely meaningless.  The solution is simple.  They just have to play better.

Slightly less of this, too.
Sadly, the last three games have eroded our confidence in their ability to do that.  Our Walls haven't been up like this for any game in recent memory.  But one thing we do know, and something that is always true unless you're the Pirates, is that you are never as bad or as good as you think.  This is not a bad Pens team.  Flawed, for sure.  Fatally flawed, perhaps.  But not bad.  If you think back far enough -- you know, like a month ago -- you'll remember watching a team that was at the time, undoubtedly, the best team in the league.  It feels like a distant memory, but it's really not.

We are not optimistic about tonight.  But that doesn't mean we aren't hopeful.  As we said on our post-apocalyptic podcast on Sunday, we are Fanmen, not Fanboys.  And Fanmen know that when you go through 82 games with a team, you have invested incredible amounts of time, energy, passion and emotion.  You don't turn on your team.  You don't take joy in being right that certain players on the team suck.  You don't hope they lose tonight to save the embarrassment of losing the next game, or the next one.  All you want is another game.  And that's all we're really hoping for.

Go Pens.


  1. You guys really are the best. Gtog always put things in perspective and the steady emotions are very welcoming. Go pens!

  2. i don't expect us to win the series but i would at least prefer to lose as the "real" penguins. so far this series has just been crushing.

  3. Amen, Randy. Just a game or two? Please?

    My very very small glimmer of hope rests on three observations:

    1) We should have won game one. I don't care that they were on their heels for the 3rd period: the Flyers should only have scored two goals that game. The defense didn't go off the deep end (completely) until after that loss. Losing that game on a call that horrific clearly messed with their heads. This whole series has the surreal feel of something spiraling out of control, when nothing could possibly go right, no matter what you do. The team has obviously gotten caught up in that feeling too. They shouldn't have, but they did. They aren't THIS bad. Maybe a couple of days, possible elimination, and the reality of rock bottom can snap them out of it.

    2) Only 10 of the 20 goals the Flyers have scored have been even strength - and that's with the team playing the worst defense I've ever seen them play. If they could get marginally competent special teams play, they might actually have a chance. Granted, I have no reason to expect that, but the PP and PK (even minus Adams and Neal) couldn't possibly be worse this game, right? There is no worse to get to.

    3) The suspensions may actually help them focus. When things go so horribly wrong, change is universally a good thing, even when it seems for the worse. It's a chance to clean the slate mentally.

    And really - what do they have to lose? When you can't get any lower, why not just play? If they do, they might just win one.