Penguins: Where do we go from here?
I went to get a refill of coffee this AM at my local Dunkin’ Donuts, with my official Penguins Back-to-Back Stanley Cup Champions mug. The shift leader, looking down at my mug in disgust said “You should be ashamed of yourself. I have half a mind not to serve you!” Of course she was joking, addressing the depression that all Penguins’ fans feel this morning. But it does seem like a good place to start.
Let’s face it, everyone reading this is a Penguins’ fan and we are all angry that we are faced with a long, long summer. We may have different opinions about where it went wrong and how to fix it, but we are all feeling the pain.
I admit it, I have been a Negative Nellie all season and with all due respect to my heart did pick the Islanders to win this series in my bracket but even I, in all my pessimism would have “thunk” that Penguins would have stunk so bad as to have the broom put to them. This was embarrassing!
I once heard that players can win games but only teams win championships so I guess, even though I didn’t want to see this coming, I shouldn’t be surprised. This group of players wearing the Black-and-Gold never really became a team. All season long it has been a group of players pulling in different directions, trying to do it themselves, not trusting their teammates.
Apparently it started with Matt Murray not willing to trust in his understudies and trying to play while he was hurt. He dug himself and his colleagues a hole that took almost a whole season to climb out.
It ended with Kris Letang trying to skate through 3 Islanders, by himself, in OT, in game 1 of the series, having the puck stripped off of him and sent the other way for an odd man break, resulting in a goal. As if that guffaw wasn’t enough, he did it again to end the Penguins misery, rather than dumping the puck into the right corner, while his compatriots tried to nurse a one goal lead, the Penguins’ Defenseman tried to skate down the boards himself only to have the Islanders strip the puck off of his stick and go the other way again for another odd man break goal.
Letang wasn’t the only player who tried doing all himself only to have opponents exploit his impatience and/or ego; Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel contributed their share of giveaways from trying to do it all by themselves.
No, our favorite flightless fowl never became a team. They were never more than an amalgamation of stars, just like they were in the waning days of the Dan Bylsma era.
The Alan Parson’s Project asked the musical question, “Where do we go from here, now that all other children are growin’ up?” Our Penguins now have all summer to ask themselves a similar question “Where do we go from here, now that the rest of the league has caught up? Or was it that we let ourselves fall down?”
Although most fans that I have talked to agree that change has to come, the point of disagreement only appears to be what has to change. In an article by John Mackey in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Evgeni Malkin would seem to be lobbying for a limited number of changes.
“We need understand that every year we try to win, you can’t change the whole team. We need to change one or two maybe more”
I would have to agree with him, somewhat. You can’t change the whole roster or even most of the roster and reboot, not with a core group of players the calibre of Malkin and captain Sidney Crosby. This summer surely will be more interesting than the last couple. Stay tuned!!
In the meantime, even though the season ended on a disappointing note, thank you Penguins’ players. We may complain here and there but that is only because we want the best for you. It may be wrong but you spoiled us. We want you to win every game, every Cup.
Some wait for the swallows to return to Capistrano; I’ll be waiting for you to return, come September.
And thank you Phil and Rick and all of our readers here for all of the insight and even arguments (sounds like a Monty Python sketch – I’d like to have an argument please) we have had here.
Author: The Other Rick