Being a Pittsburgh Penguins’ fan can have its ups-and-downs.
Yes, sitting atop the Eastern Conference and owning some of the best players in the league give us hope for a Stanley Cup. However, I can’t help but feel Pittsburgh is in line for a repeat of last season.
No, it’s not because of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury – despite surrendering 12 goals in his last three games – and it’s not necessarily the defense, even though the blueliners have looked sleepy.
It’s the emotional baggage Pittsburgh carries with them.
If prospective teams take a page out of the Philadelphia Flyers’ book, they’ll find that if you heckle the Pens long enough, you will reap the benefits. Pittsburgh’s a fantastic team when it comes to offense, but when they don’t tickle-the-twine, and adversaries pester ‘em, they’ll expose the Pens’ lack of discipline.
And if Pittsburgh continues to have an uncontrolled temper, I don’t see how they can realistically expect to come out on top this postseason.
I referenced Philadelphia’s tactics, but what about last year’s Eastern Conference Finals?
The Boston Bruins annoyed the crap out of Pittsburgh. And once they did, the Pens’ began pressing, rather than remaining calm, cool, and collective.
Sure, a game is a game, and the next one is a clean slate. However, for opposing teams, the minute they know how to defeat Pittsburgh, the Pens’ continually show they don’t have an answer for it. Aside from a phenomenal goaltending performance from one Tuukka Rask, that’s how Boston got the best of Pittsburgh.
Philadelphia consistently displays a fabulous blueprint in frustrating Pittsburgh, and I understand the premise that they’re in-state rivals, but the same events transpire every time. Ever since Philadelphia discovered the keys, they’ve been truckin’ along the highway, revving Pittsburgh’s engine.
The lack of discipline was evident in last night’s tilt against Detroit.
Six penalties - six. You really think you’re going to come out victorious by committing that many sin-bins? Not just that though, the penalties were terrible. Jussi Jokinen, Chris Kunitz, and James Neal all took bad minors, and it needs to stop. Or better yet, start playing like a champion, instead of a group of prima donnas.
So, while they’re feeling all high and mighty because a fully healthy lineup seems inevitable, what good is it if you can’t stay out of the penalty box? Sure Pittsburgh’s got a reliable penalty-kill, but it’s only effective if they’re only out there on a few occasions.
C’mon, let’s show some restraint, yeah? It’d be nice to see Pittsburgh actually live up to their potential.