Big Lead Sports Bar





Remember Mikael Samuelsson playing for the Penguins? Me neither. But he played 22 games in a very forgettable 2002-03 Penguins campaign, scoring as many goals (two) as he scored in Game One of the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. Somehow, I think he name will not be forgotten by Penguin fans anytime in the near future.

Samuelsson was involved in two high-profile Penguins trades. He arrived on February 10, 2003, as part of the pu-pu platter from the New York Rangers in exchange for Alexei Kovalev, Janne Laukkanen, Dan LaCouture and Mike Wilson. What else was on that platter? Rico Fata, Joel Bouchard, and Richard Lintner. Needless to say, this Samuelsson trade was not as memorable for Craig Patrick as the Ulf Samuelsson deal in 1991.

After that goal-every-11-games average, Patrick sent Samuelsson, the Penguins' 2003 1st Round Choice (3rd overall, eventually Nathan Horton), and the Pens' 2003 2nd round compensatory pick (Stefan Meyer) to Florida for the Panthers' 2003 #1 overall (Marc-Andre Fleury) and their 3rd-rounder (Daniel Carcillo). A bit of redemption, to say the least.

But it would be hard to argue Samuelsson's value on Saturday night, as his two goals were all the Red Wings needed in a 4-0 shutout of the Penguins. Of course, we should've known it wasn't our night when MAF bit it coming out of the tunnel:

The Penguins had ample opportunities in the first period. And by "ample opportunities" I mean "four power plays". The announcers (who were much better than previous rounds) were marvelling at the Penguins holding a lead in shots at the end of one, even if it had shrunk to 12-11. But that lead would be short-lived.

The second period was all about killing penalties, as Sidney Crosby, Ryan Whitney, and Evgeni Malkin each got into the box score for the wrong reasons. And while they didn't surrender a power play goal, it was Samuelsson's goal at 13:01 that finally broke the ice. The second period shots? 16-4, Detroit. Yikes.

In the last 20 minutes, the Penguins started to play with a bit of desperation after Samuelsson goal #2 at 2:16. A line substitution of Petr Sykora for Pascal Dupuis failed to generate any offense. In fact, everything the Penguins tried failed to generate any offense, as is usually the case when you're shut out. But look at it this way: they can't do any worse than 0 in the next game.

Scary thoughts? Other than the Penguins being held to four shots or less for two of the three periods (12-4-3 for the game), there was the fact that they could've easily surrendered another two goals: the first-period score that was waved off for an interference call, and another shot that got past Fleury and hit both posts without finding its way into the net. And here's another bit of info worth mentioning: the Red Wings were playing without leading playoff goal-scorer Johan Franzen, who was recently concussed.

Here's hoping that the problems can get ironed out, and in a hurry. I doubt many people expected the Penguins to leave Detroit up 2-0, so lick your wounds, iron out the kinks, and come out with your hair on fire for Game Two. Just don't trip coming out of the tunnel.

Notes and links:

--Didn't like the scratch of a healthy Gary Roberts (of course, neither did he). Hope that can get corrected for Game Two.

--Play was a little chippy in Game One, including a brief Darren McCarty-Georges Laraque exchange and some pushing and shoving between Samuelsson and Crosby. These aren't the Flyers, but they're not exactly choir boys, either.

To refresh your memory, here's a vintage clip of Wings goalie Chris Osgood fighting Patrick Roy, with an announcer that sounds eerily reminiscent to a 1980s WWF Jesse "The Body" Ventura. All this clip is missing is a "You're an idiot, McMahon" comment from the future Governor.

And don't forget this little incident from the last round between Osgood and Dallas' Mike Ribeiro:

--13,500 turned out at Mellon Arena to watch the Penguins. See, that's bad luck...I'm surprised the superstitious hockey gods would approve a move from outdoors to indoors for the Pens' viewing parties. But proceeds went to the Lemieux Foundation, so shouldn't that count for something?

--Can anyone get me a picture of Luke Ravenstahl at the game? I mean, it was so important that he attend and represent Pittsburgh. I'm imagining he walked around with a sash a la another one of America's Great Mayors:

--Here's a gallery of 2002-03 Penguins wallpaper, featuring giant pictures of, among others, Guillaume Lefebvre, Richard Lintner, Brian Holzinger, Rico Fata, Dan Focht, Tomas Surovy, and Samuelsson. I think it's pretty safe to say that the Penguins have upgraded the roster just a tad since then.

--The PG's Empty Netters were on the scene and took plenty of photos.

--Trib photo gallery and recap here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine what all those people at the Civic Arena were cheering when that photo was taken.

We better get our shit together...and fast.