Pittsburgh Penguins Post Season Thoughts: Can Revenge be the Ultimate Motivator?


The Pittsburgh Penguins have a Hollywood-script opportunity at revenge against the New York Rangers as the post-season kicks off tonight for the two rivals. Can the potential to avenge last season’s early exit motivate this team?

As I’m sure all Pittsburgh fans will remember, last season the Rangers were able to erase a three-games-to-one deficit in the Eastern Conference semi-finals to storm back and take the series in seven games. A first-round elimination of the Rangers would sure send the Penguins into the second round with some momentum and confidence.

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I know what you’re thinking. The Pittsburgh Penguins did not make a very good case for revenge in the regular season series with New York. The Rangers were clearly the better team as they went undefeated in regulation against the Pens, finishing the season 3-0-1. Also, considering Pittsburgh’s slide over the last four months of the season, it’s hard to imagine they can right the ship in time for a matchup against the NHL’s best team.

But, a lot of times the regular season isn’t all that telling of what a playoff matchup is going to look like. Regular season victories also aren’t exactly payback for playoff elimination and embarrassment such as what the Penguins faced at the hands of the Rangers one year ago. So, I’m not sure you can look at their performance against the Rangers thus far this season and make a determination.

At first glance, it looks as if the Pittsburgh Penguins are in way over their heads in this series. However, the Rangers have some glaring holes in their game, and as I discussed here, the Penguins could very well surprise their critics and pull this off.

For me, the actions of Marc Staal on Sidney Crosby in last season’s playoff series are unforgettable and unforgivable. (Via @MyRegularFace).

The question is, do the Penguins feel the same way? Contrary to popular belief, the best way to repay someone for this type of behavior isn’t to go after the individual and seek retribution. Focus on hockey and beat the Rangers. I’m not saying that you don’t let Staal know that this type of behavior isn’t accepted, but you do it within the confines of the game. Don’t put yourself in a position to negatively impact a game or the series.

As the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served cold. In other words, vengeance is often more satisfying if it is not exacted immediately. Can you think of a better time to pay back the Rangers for last season? Eliminating them in the first round after a record setting, Presidents Trophy-winning season sounds like the perfect storm to me.

Thanks for reading.  And, of course, follow me on twitter at @Michael29Angelo for more hockey talk!

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