I am an optimistic person at heart.
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I usually look for the good in a situation and believe all things are possible...with the right determination and effort.
I'll keep fighting to the end if the cause is right.
But...I am also a realistic person.
I can look at a situation and see it for what it is (most of the time).
When I watch the Penguins play...playoff hockey...I am torn between these two things...the optimistic view (hope really) I have of their chances of winning a cup this year and the reality of their play so far in these playoffs.
The Penguins...with their future Hall of Famers...and remaining ensemble cast of 'really good' players IS EXPECTED to be better than this.
Right now, they are not.
I know this may sound a little strange, but the Penguins have NOT BEEN good enough in the playoffs since they won the Cup in 2009. Ok..sure, that's kind of a 'no duh' comment...at least on the surface...but if you think about it a little, I believe you will see what I mean.
This team, with it's so called 'embarrassment of riches' has been...well...embarrassing.
With all the knowledge and experience they have, they somehow continue to make the SAME MISTAKES...OVER AND OVER.
We are not talking about a bunch of young players finding themselves in this position for the first time. We are talking about guys who have won the cup before and guys who are viewed to be some of the best in the game that are doing these things.
I'm not going to point the finger at any one player...although I know today that will happen in many circles. It's NEVER just one player...especially when you have so many that are so good.
No, I will point the finger at ALL OF THEM.
EVERY SINGLE LAST ONE OF THEM.
They all need to be better.
IF I could sit down with this team, I would close the door...and this is what I would say:
Look around this room.
Look at your teammates.
This group has a chance to be something special.
But you know what...we are blowing it.
I shouldn't have to tell you that a chance like this, with a team like this, doesn't come a long very often.
Some guys NEVER get this chance.
So far, we are NOT WORTHY of this opportunity.
It's not a question of whether or not we CAN be good enough...worthy enough...because surely WE CAN BE.
It's a question of IF...and WHEN...will we decide to play like a team worthy of this opportunity.
Don't look around this room and think it's someone else that needs to step up their game. Look around this room and think I NEED TO STEP UP MY GAME for EVERYBODY ELSE.
I don't know how these playoffs will turn out and neither do any of you. But I do know one thing...if 10 years from now I look back on this moment and think I could have done more...I shouldn't have squandered that great opportunity...I am going to be an unhappy person.
We should all feel this way...and do everything we can to make sure we never have to deal with that feeling.
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