Big Lead Sports Bar

5/27/2008

QUITE A HOLE WE'VE EXCAVATED

DETROIT 3

PENGUINS 0

No, not even the much-ballyhooed presence of Luke Ravenstahl could inspire the Pens in Detroit

You've overachieved by everyone's standards all year long. Your team is down two games to none, failing to muster even one goal in Detroit Rock City. What time is it? Time for everyone's favorite pastime, The Blame Game!

Michel Therrien is blaming the refs. Gene Collier is calling out Gary Roberts for a "chicken-scat cheap shot" on Johan Franzen. John Fedko was pointing the finger at Evgeni Malkin, arguably the Penguins' 2007-08 regular season MVP, who has only one shot in two games. Fedko's callers were blaming Marc-Andre Fleury for giving up a few less-than-stellar goals. ESPN's Scott Burnside was busy making note of Ryan Malone's four penalties. Ron Cook is so down on the Penguins as a whole that he wants to know if it's too early to pick the Red Wings in three.

Everyone has theories, but no one has answers for how to deal with the Detroit Red Wings. They have outplayed, outhustled, and outscored the Penguins in nearly every facet of the game.

So the Penguins return home to Pittsburgh battered and bruised, their egos undoubtedly damaged. In what's becoming a recurring theme among the scratched, Georges Laraque was the latest to voice his opinion. Therrien and his coaches will go back to the drawing board, possibly juggling lines once again. What impact these events have had and will have on the Penguins' locker room is unknown to anyone who doesn't have access inside that sacred ground.

The bottom line is that the Red Wings aren't this good and the Penguins obviously aren't this bad. The shots for the Pens on Monday night were nearly as bad as in Game One: 6, 6, and 10, outshot 34-22 by the Wings. But just getting shots doesn't guarantee anything, because flopping Detroit goalie Chris Osgood has stopped every shot he's faced thus far.

Is the series over? Absolutely not, according to Max Talbot: "Look at me. I am really positive. We are going home, and that is a great thing. It is not like we lost two games at home. We lost the two away games. I think we got some good scoring chances. It could have went one side or the other."

I can only hope Talbot believes what he's saying, and watching him over the years, I'm sure he does. Hopefully that attitude is contagious, because the 1971 Chicago Blackhawks are the only team that's failed to win the Cup after winning the first two games at home. And if Detroit joins that team in history, that will be a Blame Game I'd love to see.

The Links:

PG:

Penguins face huge odds in trying to overcome 2-0 deficit

Penguins Q&A with Dave Molinari

Reputations falling as fast as Penguins

Detroit's domination has Penguins dazed, confused

Game Two: Stanley Cup Final photos

Red Wings: Babcock promises a better performance at Mellon Arena despite two practically flawless games

Detroit's domination has Penguins dazed, confused

Laraque unhappy with not playing

Trib:

Game 2: Scoreless Pens lose again (with Photo Gallery)

Starkey: Pens, Malkin fail to respond

Detroit Free Press:

Mitch Albom: Wings just two wins away from Cup

Angry Pens take verbal shots at Osgood

Franzen's return is one more headache for Penguins

ESPN:

Machinelike Wings taking life out of Penguins, Cup finals

Cherry/Melrose

The Crosby File

Pens look to regroup

TSN:

Just Two Good

Video: Highlights: PIT 0, DET 3

Video: The Breakdown

Video: A Little Bad Blood

Video: Podium: Sidney Crosby

Video: Podium: Michel Therrien

Video: Podium: Mike Babcock

Penguins still looking for first goal of Final

11 comments:

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

I have a question. Does the rest of the ticket buying public have access to the Stanley Cup Fianl morning skate, or did Mayor Quimby sneak into that too, a la Oakmont?

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

Chris Simpson looks halfway decent from the nose up.

(Trying to find something nice to say about last night's game.)

Louis Lipps is my homeboy said...

I don't live in Pittsburgh, but this mayor doesn't seem to be too popular among those of you that do (I'm honestly not even quite sure what party the guy belonds to and don't feel like looking it up).

How the hell did this guy even get elected is my question? Like I said before, I thought he was only in because the other guy died, but apparently he has been reelected since then.

Anyhow, we have to score first. The Wings can't trap when they're behind. That's all there is to it.

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Luke is a democrat. Democrats in this city would vote for a monkey if they ran for office and they voted for this monkey.

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Did Mark Madden get suspended for his comments last week? Hockey's his favorite sport and the Pens are in the Stanley Cup, why in the world would he take a "vacation" now?

okel dokel said...

I am pretty shocked by how thoroughly inept the Penguins have been rendered by the Red Wings. They look completely shell shocked and outside their element.

The move to NBC should at least raise the level of view ability; the Versus coverage is lacking.

wvblueblackandgold said...

I lost a lot of respect for the Pens last night. They were clearly in the el-foldo mode by mid-way through the 2nd period. Frustrated...more like a kid who storms off after not being able to ride the bike with the training wheels removed for the first time.

And Therrien, crying at the press conference about "obstruction" ... give me a break. You want to beat the Red Wings, then man up and establish a forecheck. Win some face-offs. Put the puck into the empty net.

The sad thing is, the Pens are turning this into a snooze-fest when it could have been great. They aren't as poor as they've played and the Wings aren't as awesome as they look.

I'm just glad that Crosby is taking it like a man. I don't know what people are on that call him a crybaby.

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

The 1983 Edmonton Oilers were unceremoniously ousted by the NY Islanders and Wayne Gretzky said in his biography that his team was too young and immature...they didn't understand what it took to win.

Of course, that loss launched the Oilers' dynasty of the 1980's.

Remember, nose up with Christine Simpson.

Koz said...

Pens fans should not be reassured by the 1983 Oilers story.

With the salary cap, this is likely the best team the Pens will have assembled for a few years. If some of these key players move on it will take time to build in their place.

I'm particularly referring to Malone and Orpik. Those guys are young and homegrown talent. It's like in baseball with the A's or any other consistently good small-market team (i.e. not the Pirates). It takes time to have young talent develop into top performers. Once they develop, you get a short window to win with them before they command the big dollar.

That window is open now and might be closed by midsummer. Then you have to retool and build depth again.

The time to win is now.

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

You've been reading too much Ron Cook.

Cecil from Cecil Twp. said...

You've been reading too much Ron Cook.