By William R. Eller
It is amazing how the bounce of a 1-inch-thick 3-inch-wide puck can do to a fan base. All day I listen to various radio stations in the morning making my rounds at work, three stations to be exact. WDVE Pittsburgh’s best morning show, WXDX the Penguins radio network, and 1250ESPN radio are the stations I listen to. Now the morning shift on ESPN radio Mike and Mike in the Morning have no clue what hockey actually is, let alone actually watch it. Whatever I can deal with that, but to constantly say the Red Wings dominated the Penguins in game 2 is appalling. Meanwhile on WDVE and WXDX I listened to countless callers talking about the Pens plight now in the Stanley Cup finals. So here it begins with the offload of Bandwagon jumpers on the Penguins freight train.
“Marc Andre Fleury sucks because of the goals he is letting in.”Response 1) My only gripe with MAF is he should have been ready for the live boards; blame that on him or the coaching staff. Outside of the boards I’ll give the Wings credit for two goals, goals 2 and 3 in game 2. One from the point off a clean face off win (interference also) also MAF was screened. The other goal could have been defended better by the defense.
“Dan Bylsma is being out coached this series.”Response 2) The Pens have lost 2 games in a best of seven series, if Bylsma doesn’t adjust to the refs not calling any penalties and possibly change the breakout from behind MAF then I’ll question Bylsma at best.
“Ray Shero should be blamed for putting this team together.”Response 3) Dear God when you get the chance to run a hockey franchise then talk to me, how can you question anything thing this guy has done in 2 years. You are in the freaking Stanley Cup Finals back-to-back years!!!!!
Now I could go on and also mention how people are calling out Sid and Malkin because they aren’t scoring. I could talk about people complaining about Dupois dressing over Sykora. I actually heard someone talk about pulling MAF today; I almost pulled over in disgust. Here is my take on the situation…
I have never in my life witnessed one team get every bounce of the puck, 2 goals off MAF’s butt for one. The third goal on Saturday night hits off the side of the net right to the guy who put it home. Sunday the final goal was defended by Gill and Scuds and still comes back to the guy who scores. That stuff just happens you deal with it and you have to move on. The referees have changed the way they are calling the game, or 'not' calling the game rather. This goes for both sides, and Detroit has picked up on this and are attacking the Pens. Detroit’s second goal shows this best, Marion Hossa hooks Dupuis and then slashes his stick in half, automatic penalty in the regular season let alone previous rounds of the playoffs, nothing called. The Penguins must adjust to this, Detroit’s third goal could have been prevented had the Pens adjusted. Scuds could have hooked the guy or tackled him at least in order to prevent the goal. The Pens must adjust!!!
My fellow Penguins faithful, at the very least don’t listen to the complainers, the all-of-a-sudden hockey geniuses, and "hockey historians" that give you over hyped stats. You have waited all year for this moment and don’t fall into the trap of wasting time worrying about the series. Get your lucky socks ready, get that favorite meal cooking, and watch a little Youtube of your Pens. Watch some Mario, a little Jagr, maybe even a touch of Petr Nedved to calm you down. It’s a race to four and after all they aren’t there just yet!!!