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04-15-2012, 11:12 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Let me start by saying that I haven't been on HF today after the game. If this thread needs to be locked/killed/merged then feel free. Mods, I know you've been busy today, and I sincerely don't mean to invite trouble.

I've been a Pens fan since I can remember. One of my oldest memories that I have is watching the playoffs over my grandparents house when I was 5. I watched in awe as Mario Lemieux and Kevin Stevens and Paul Coffey would play such a beautiful game. I enjoyed many good years as a young Penguins fan until the X Generation years came. I still watched every game that I could. As a teenager without a driver's license, it wasn't hard. Even in those years, I was not embarrassed to call myself a Pens fan. I watched Ric Jackman operate a power play with Tomas Surovy and Rico Fata. I watched Dick Tarnstrom of all people lead the Penguins in points for a year. Even then, I wasn't embarrassed to call myself a Penguins fan. I remember the lockout ending, and big names like Leclair and Palffy and Gonchar were brought in to play alongside what looked, on paper, to be a promising team. They lost their first 10 games. Still, I wasn't embarrassed.

Watching the game today, from my living room, in Raleigh, NC, I was embarrassed. This team showed absolutely no fight today, no desire to do the hard things that make winners, no passion. I watched a team give up 8 goals on Friday. A focused team does not allow that to happen again. We did. Instead, I watched players take selfish penalties. I'm looking at you, Chris Kunitz, Arron Asham, and James Neal. You are better than that. You are smarter than that. These penalties were followed up with lazy penalty killing, flimsy stick work, and poor defensive coverage. This PK set a Pens record. At this rate, it may set another Pens record for a playoff PK.

Maybe Tortorella was right about one thing: arrogance. Maybe. Quite honestly, I'm not sure, but what I do know is this: this team is not willing to do what it takes to win. Is it arrogance? Do they think that showing up is good enough? Maybe, maybe not. Who am I to say. What I see is a team that thinks it can win without taking hits, without back checking, without sound gap control, and without discipline. For those who believe that this is how the Pens act, today certainly didn't change their mind. The 7th(!) goal was especially terrible. It is a 4 on 2, and we have a forward getting manhandled by the man with the puck, and 3 other men who stand watching Giroux wide open in the slot.

Today was not "hard playoff hockey". Well, it was from the Flyers anyway. Get hit, take a hit, whatever. Do it hard, and do it legally. Arron Asham, I hope that I don't see you in a Penguin uniform ever again. I am all for sticking up for teammates. That wasn't it. That was a cheapshot, and I hope the league takes appropriate action. James Neal, I cannot even put my disappointment into words. A blindside, leaping charge on Couturier followed up by a charge on Giroux? Unnecessary. We watched our team get decimated by concussions this year. Apparently, it didn't matter. I haven't seen a Pens team play so soft and follow it up with such cheap shots like this before. If you want to be tough, hit someone who is fair game in a legal way. Cheap shotting someone does not make you tough.

I have defended Pens players before when it's been needed, but I won't be touching this. I have always been a Pens fan, and I always will be. But I have a hard time believing that I am going to go into next season as passionate as I have each of the past 20+ years... unless I see changes in the way our game is played. Wednesday could very well be the last game of our season. At this rate, I don't mind it if it is. But show me something. Show me that losing to a heated rival actually matters. Don't take a lazy interference penalty. Skate your ass off to get back into position. Don't check an unsuspecting player without the puck. Take his number and lay him out legally. Backcheck on an odd man rush. Show me something than our 08-09 teams had: effort, desire, passion... that is what it takes to win a championship, and that is what this team is missing.


EDIT - And as I post this, I see the "Get it all out, bra" thread... Sorry mods.

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