May 27 2008 09:15AM
We just can’t express our gratitude to the Pittsburgh Penguins organization, coaching staff and active roster for their performance in the past two games. How could anyone in their right mind be unhappy with a pair of road losses to start the Stanley Cup finals, particularly when they’re back to back shutouts? This will teach us to cheer for any team other than the Mighty Oil, no matter what the circumstances, no matter what friend-wants-to-bet-what-when.
But wait! All is not lost! We went over to the Penguins website to see what’s being said over there about the team in the face of these crushing pair of losses. Apparently they have the same Happytime Brain Medications™ for their site writers that the Edmonton Oilers force their staff to take prior to delivering bad news.
“Pens head home looking to rebound” reads the title. Fantastic! The team is upbeat, and must have some tricks up its sleeve right? What kernels of wisdom can be collected in the article, showing those of us who bet on the Penguins that all is not lost?
“We’re not frustrated. We knew it was going to be tough. Going home, it’s going to be a great place for us and a tough place for them to play.” —Penguins winger Jarkko Ruutu
OK... Ruutu isn’t top 10 in team scoring in the playoffs but he’s a marginal impact player so he must have some sway in the dressing room. “It’s going to be a tough place for them to play” doesn’t really involve suggesting THE TEAM MAY SCORE A SINGLE GOAL in the Finals, but we can build some positives from this, however small.
What else is here?
“Whether you lose the game 4–0, 3–0, or 1–zip, it doesn’t really matter. The things that are important right now are wins and losses and we’re down two.” —Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi
The usual garbage canned statements from an 11th defenceman. Yup, you can’t beat the perspective of a guy who sees the ice for 15 minutes, has no shots on goal and is a tidy -1 on the evening. Overall, this doesn’t look good. Can’t they get Crosby to say something positive? How about getting Fleury on camera saying “I guarantee four straight wins, and ‘tis I who will be getting the shutouts from now on.” C’mon Fleury, make a legend of yourself! Don’t leave Ruutu and Scuderi to do your dirty work. Doesn’t anyone of skill have any grand statements to make??
“We played pretty hard. We just have to find a way to make that hard work pay off. We just have to plug away.” —Penguins defenceman Hal Gill
Oh great! Down two games to none we have Hal Gill telling us it’s time to start “plugging away.” This is the secret play, the brainchild plan cooked up high in the rafters of the Mellon Arena by the powers-that-be in Penguin Land. This is Crosby and Malkin getting together in the pre-game skate and deciding (via a translator) that they will each score ten goals during the game. Hal Gill saying it’s time to start plugging away is like Gary Coleman saying it’s time to start being short. It’s all they have ever done.
You’re such a plug, don’t you even dare open your mouth in the dressing room. If a media type walks by and says “Anything to say Hal?” you say “Nope. I’m just happy to be here and earning millions of dollars, which I will ultimately blow on nuts and gum forcing me to wash windshields of cars on corners shortly after my retirement.”
We want to hear Hal Gill’s plan to bounce back in the Finals like we want to hear the soundtrack to High School Musical 3: not now, not ever. Hal Gill telling the world what it’s going to take to win the Cup is like Lindsay Lohan explaining how to chemically separate cesium from an alloy. It’s either a) something they heard on TV b) something they’re making up or c) that they’re channeling the ghost of someone much smarter.
Damn you Hal Gill. Damn you Penguins. Damn you sports betting.
Let’s see an SCF comeback worthy of a team that calls Ty Conklin its back up goaltender shall we?