The NCAA March Madness. NCAA Bowl Week. NFL Playoffs. All of these are moments in sports that the entire season comes down to. The anticipation of these moments to the average fan is exciting. To the dedicated fan, they salivate as the calendar reflects less and less days approaching, knowing that they are close to that iconic moment. That moment in which they watched either recruiting or drafts, all seasons highs or lows, and if their favorite team makes it to the tournaments of their leagues championship runs, the excitement can only be compared to a child on Christmas Eve.
My moment is the NHL Playoffs.
All of the above cheesy analogies compare to my anticipation of early April, to mid-June. Yes, I do fit the obvious mold of a Pittsburgh born and raised hockey fan, and most in love with the city’s Penguins.
However, this year I am being deemed a Debbie downer, an anit-fan, or Mr Negative, respectfully so of course.
It was up until the Penguins were blessed with an injury riddled Columbus team that I was predicting a first round upset. Now, even the most partial fan can feel strongly that the Penguins SHOULD take care of business by advancing past round one. However, my optimism takes them no further. Yes, I am a Penguins fan, and yes, I will be “cheering” them the entire way. I hope I am wrong on this feeling, but I continuously feel that this team is deemed to be upset….and I use that term lightly.
In 2009, I will admit, I cried like a 16 year old girl who was stood up for a dance. When the Penguins won the cup, it was the happiest sports moment of my life, hands down. Never did I think that I would be witnessing Sid life the cup for the last time in 5 years. The team has changed, yes, but with the core mostly still in tact, why doesn’t Sid, Geno, and Shero have more cup rings?
This team has given me let down after let down. From a Montreal upset because of a hot goalie, to a spanking by rival Flyers, to a cup potent team if I have ever seen one, fall flat on their face against Boston, I have learned that if you stay grounded, the fall hurts less.
Sadly, I don’t expect them to make it past the second round. I feel that if it was a Detroit or Philly team in here this week, I wouldn’t get them past the first.
I fear for Fleury. My friends know that I am a huge Fleury supporter. I DO expect him to come out strong. I fear though, of that one bad game. Talent gets you far in sports, but psyche has been known to cripple giants. If he tends to have that one bad game, or even an early bad goal, things tend to catch up.
I fear for the Penguins scoring. With a roster of what we have, some would question this….however, remember the “Boston Strong” Bruins? That game 2 last year will haunt me for a while, let alone no POINTS, not just goals, but no points by our top players in a 4 game sweep.
I fear for the Penguins tempers. Face it fans, the Penguins have sour tempers. If things don’t go the way they expect, portray, and imagine, lids are lost. Letang, Neal, even Sid are all prone to this. What happens if the severely underdogged Jackets go up in a game by 2, or go up in this series? What if there’s a call missed, or the Penguins pump out one of those awful 10 to 15 minutes that they are known to do? Look out…
But mostly, I fear our coaching staff. I am not a fan of Disco Dan (unplanned rhyme). I feel that he is a regular season coach. He has dominance in the season, with the talent and preparation he and his staff have been known for, anyone could. However, give him a team 4, 5, 6 or 7 games in a row, he’s cooked. His lacks of adjustments are scary, and that goes for his team and adjusting around an opponent. His lack of discipline towards this team is non-existent. (C’mon fans, they played whiffle ball in preseason, which injured Neal). You think powerhouses Babcock and Julien are playing games? You think Quinville and Sutter are playing games (last two cup champs). No, they aren’t. and the whiffle ball thing is one of hundreds of examples, I don’t want to beat a dead horse. I am all for having fun, but its been time to get serious…you are cup favorites year after year and fail, year after year.
I was never a anti-Dan guy until Sochi. USA could have been pointed out as a Coach Bylsma team by even the blind. They had a stellar run, until they shown consistency. The lack of adjustments were evident in the medal games. Teams saw USA for 2-3 weeks and figured out how to beat them. It was successful. Dan, showed no interest in adjusting his team or his approach. It was unsuccessful.
See, I am not bashing the Penguins, again, I am hopefully wrong. Heck, I am an intern, and if I was right all the time, I’d be doing this professionally.
There is an interesting stat out there. Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky are two of the greatest players in the sport, ever. Neither one of them won a Cup after the age of 28. Weird right? Especially because Geno is 28, and Sid is 27 in August….I really don’t want 3 out of 4 of those players a Penguin on that stat, do you?
I feel its Cup or 1st round elimination at this point to be a win. I feel with a 1st round win then the bust I expect will not change anything. I hope again, im wrong.
The motto this year is Borquey’s “Buckle Up Baby”, and rightfully so. I just hope were buckled for a long drive into June, and not a 1st or 2nd round ejection.

Posted in Pittsburgh Penguins