Waking up today and realizing that last night's 8-5 loss to the Flyers was NOT just a bad dream is enough to ruin your morning.
Realizing that the loss has your favorite team down 2-0 in the best of 7 series is enough to ruin your day.
Understanding that the team needs to win Sunday - or they will be facing an insurmountable 3 games to ZERO series deficit - is enough to ruin your weekend and maybe most of the days remaining in the month of April.
This morning...the truth hurts.
Of course, as fans of the team, we have a choice in how much it affects us. After all, we're not the ones playing the games.
But as member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, this morning must be more painful than any fan could realize:
2 loses, trail series 0-2
13 goals against (1 empty netter)
2 short handed goals allowed on 7 power play chances in the series
33% penalty killing (Flyers are 2 for 3)
4th time this season they squandered a 2 goal (at least lead) to the Flyers
6th loss in 8 attempts against the Flyers this season
The truth that the Penguins must face this morning...the cold hard facts that are staring them right in the face...
THE FLYERS ARE -- AND HAVE BEEN -- THE BETTER TEAM THIS SEASON.
I know there will be objections to a statement like that.
But if you are honest with yourself - and the Penguin players and coaches are honest with themselves - they will see this to be true.
I don't say this because I think it's a universal truth that can't be changed. I say it because, like an alcoholic who wants to get sober, the first step is admitting you have a problem.
The Penguins and their coaches MUST face the truth: the Flyers are better than them - in just about every facet of the game - right now.
So the difficult process of finding answers begins -- a process that can only be successful if are looking for the answers to the right questions.
My concern is that nobody in the room is willing to ask the right questions. Too many key personnel are saying the routine things:
"We made some mistakes, and they capitalized" Orpik said. "But there are 20 guys working as hard as they can. No one's pointing fingers in the room. Everybody's giving max effort."*
The part that scares me the most is that I do believe they are giving their 'max effort' right now...but is it misguided?
If 'max effort' means giving up 13 goals in 2 playoff games, what would 75% effort look like?
If 'max effort' is 0-2 in this playoffs and 2-6 on the season against the Flyers, then maybe 'max effort' needs to be given to a 'different' gameplan!
I think the most important truth the Penguins and their coaches need to see is that 'their game' is NOT working. The Flyers have figured out how to beat the Penguins at 'their game'.
Looking back over the past two playoffs, it can be said that the Tampa Bay Lightning and Montreal Canadiens BOTH figured out how to beat the Penguins at 'their game'. Sure, the Pens were missing Crosby and Malkin last year versus the Lightning, but the Penguins had a 3-1 series lead and lost 3 games in a row. That sounds terribly familiar to me now.
The truth is that 'their game' has too many problems...gives up too many scoring chances...and doesn't seem to be sustainable for an entire 6o minutes.
I like Dan Bylsma. I think he is a good coach. I think his ideas about what type of game to play, for the most part, are good ones.
The problem I see is that there is no plan B.
What do you do when your plan keeps failing?
What do you do when your guys can't get to 'their game'?
What if 'their game' keeps resulting in losses?
When a boxer employs a strategy of moving forward, playing the aggressor, and that results in repeatedly taking a left hook to the nose, what does the boxer do? Does he keep up with the same strategy, hoping he lands a lucky punch that changes the tide? Does he think he can keep taking the shot to the nose and it won't knock him out?
The Penguins are that boxer...nose bloodied and still trudging forward.
The truth is the Penguins need to play better.
The truth is the Penguins need to change their strategy.
The truth is, two more shots to the nose and it's down for the ten count.
The truth hurts...but ignoring it will hurt even worse.
Thanks for reading!
From: Kovacevic: http://www.pittsburghlive...&feed=8#ixzz1s3D2WKtT