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"the most egregious underachievers in franchise history"?


Guest TedZep
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I didn't say it, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette did:

http://www.post-gaze...rtunity-632639/

How about giving the Flyers a little credit?

By Ron Cook / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PHILADELPHIA -- Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik did his postgame media thing in front of his locker, then adjourned to a quiet side room to be alone with his thoughts. For a long time, he sat with his knees pulled to his chest, his elbows on his knees, his chin on his hands. Reality seemed to hit home for Orpik at that point, just as it did during the previous three hours Sunday for anyone who watched the Philadelphia Flyers bounce the favored Penguins from their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series with a 5-1 win in Game 6.

These Penguins -- probably more talented on paper than any NHL team -- wasted an opportunity that doesn't come along every year for every hockey club.

"We had a lot of confidence in this group," center Jordan Staal said. "To come up short like this is disappointing."

Hold on.

It gets worse.

These Penguins will be remembered as monumental underachievers, the most egregious underachievers in franchise history.

"To play only six games in the Stanley Cup playoffs and not be playing until deep into the summer ... " winger Chris Kunitz said, not bothering to finish his sentence.

Deep into the summer?

The Penguins were eliminated on a day they were calling for heavy snow in Pittsburgh.

Somehow, that seemed appropriate because the Flyers buried 'em.

Game 6 was over virtually from the start. Flyers star Claude Giroux went to coach Peter Laviolette and told him he wanted the first shift. Laviolette gave it to him and, in just 32 seconds, Giroux knocked Penguins star Sidney Crosby flying with a check and scored the first goal. The Flyers took 14 shots at solving Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in the third period of Game 5 -- a 3-2 Penguins' win -- and couldn't do it.

Giroux needed just one in this game. "He wanted to get out on the ice," Laviolette said. "He wanted to make a statement ... He made sure the Flyers moved on tonight."

If the game wasn't over then, it was after the Flyers' Scott Hartnell scored on the power play -- his team's 12th power-play goal of the series, a ridiculously high number -- and little-used defenseman Erik Gustafsson scored an even-strength goal that had no business going through Fleury to make it, 3-0. Evgeni Malkin got a goal back for the Penguins in the second period, but -- wouldn't you know it? -- the Flyers' Danny Briere scored just 36 seconds later to restore the three-goal lead, 4-1. Earlier in the series, the Flyers answered a Penguins' goal in 17 seconds and another in 23. So much for momentum.

But the Flyers weren't just more resilient than the Penguins. They were more determined. In Game 6, they had 40 blocked shots to the Penguins' 14. "I don't know that I've seen that," Laviolette said. "I think it speaks volumes about our group. It says a lot about the commitment of this team."

It also said plenty about the Penguins' commitment.

They had none.

They went down for the count without even putting up a fight.

But as poorly as the Penguins played Sunday, they didn't lose the series in Game 6. They lost it at home in Game 1 when they blew a 3-0 lead after one period and a 3-1 lead after two. They lost it in Game 2 when they couldn't hold 2-0, 3-1, 4-3 and 5-4 leads. "I'll spend a lot of time thinking about that," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

It's tempting to say the series turned in the second period of Game 1 when, with the Penguins leading, 3-0, Briere scored a goal after the officials missed an off-sides call. But that would cheapen how well the Flyers played and also let the Penguins off the hook for their many mistakes. The Penguins failed in every area. The penalty-kill -- among the NHL's best all season -- was a joke. The power play allowed two crushing short-handed goals in the Game 2 loss and another in the Game 3 loss. Fleury was mostly bad. The defense in front of him was worse. It's easy to blame all of the problems on Paul Martin, who sat out the final three games. But Orpik and Kris Letang -- the team's best defensemen -- also were lousy.

Does that about cover it?

Actually, no.

Crosby and Malkin were awfully quiet. Bylsma asserted that Crosby played better in the six games than he did in the 14 he played after coming back to the lineup March 14 from concussion-like symptoms, but it was hard to see. He didn't have a point in the final two games and finished the series with three goals and five assists. Malkin was worse, although he did seem to make more of an effort in Game 6. A 50-goal man during a season in which he surely was the NHL's MVP, he scored his other two goals in the Penguins' 10-3 win in Game 4. He also finished with three goals and five assists.

This has become something of a disturbing trend. Crosby and Malkin missed the first-round playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning last season because of injuries but did little in the second-round loss to the Montreal Canadiens in 2010. Each had just one goal in seven games. This is two series in a row that they have been disappointing.

Can you say underachieving?

You want to talk about a star being a star?

That was Giroux, who is one-quarter of his way to the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP. He has six goals and eight assists for an NHL-leading 14 points.

Bylsma and the Penguins had no answers for Giroux. They had no answers for anything the Flyers did.

That's what Orpik must have been contemplating as he sat in that quiet room. He was still there -- still in that same position -- when someone finally closed the door, allowing him to be alone with his misery.

Funny thing about that door.

It closed almost as easily as the Flyers closed the door on the Penguins' season.

A season to forget.

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OK, well, this was nice of the writer to say:

"You want to talk about a star being a star?

That was Giroux, who is one-quarter of his way to the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP."

I like that sentiment, a lot.

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I didn't say it, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette did:

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/ron-cook/underachieving-team-squanders-opportunity-632639/

How about giving the Flyers a little credit?

I thought the writer gave the Flyers a lot of credit. My take is the Flyers wanted it more.

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this guy is mad on Pens bad.

But in the end, I think Sid brought disbalnce in the Pens troops. It's taking time to get know each other again, after so much missing games. Also it shows there is no need to win a division or try to do so, as Flyers did in the past and were eliminated in the first round. And Flyers young guys were full energy, so finally Flyers went young and out last Pens each game.

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the writer misses the fact the Flyers had more good players than the Pens.

he gave the Flyers credit, but overvalues marginal talents like Chris Kunitz, Steve Sullivan, Aaron Asham, Matt Cooke Joe Vitale those guys play significant minutes for that team. Our team has more skill up and down the roster.

the Penguins would have beaten every other team except ours.

too bad the match up was in the first round.

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the writer misses the fact the Flyers had more good players than the Pens.

he gave the Flyers credit, but overvalues marginal talents like Chris Kunitz, Steve Sullivan, Aaron Asham, Matt Cooke Joe Vitale those guys play significant minutes for that team. Our team has more skill up and down the roster.

the Penguins would have beaten every other team except ours.

too bad the match up was in the first round.

Four lines deep while they were only two made a big difference.
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the writer misses the fact the Flyers had more good players than the Pens.

he gave the Flyers credit, but overvalues marginal talents like Chris Kunitz, Steve Sullivan, Aaron Asham, Matt Cooke Joe Vitale those guys play significant minutes for that team. Our team has more skill up and down the roster.

the Penguins would have beaten every other team except ours.

too bad the match up was in the first round.

This is why they have to trade Malkin or Crosby. They need more depth and can't afford two $9MM players.

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the reality is this Flyers team is built for the playoffs,, lots of depth...decent goaltending.. tenacious forechecking..good special teams..

I agree with everything you said but "decent goaltending". I don't think we have seen "decent" yet except for maybe yesterday's game.

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@mojo1917

Sullivan, Cooke, Kunitz, and Asham are a dime a dozen type guys. There's grit there, but there is also a severe lack of discipline save for Cooke this season. I'll give Cooke some credit. He managed to stay clear of the horrendous cheap stuff this season, but that doesn't discount a career of garbage yet.

Those guys do as much harm to their team as good. Look at Kunitz in this series. He scored some goals, but he was directly responsible for some undisciplined penalties that led to Flyers goals.

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I agree with everything you said but "decent goaltending". I don't think we have seen "decent" yet except for maybe yesterday's game.

I think our goalies are better than average..most of the year they haven't gotten the defensive support they needed

all you can ask of your goalie is to give you a chance to win, which he does..

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I think our goalies are better than average..

Giving up 5 goals on 17 shots is pretty sub par, and each of the Flyers goalies managed that feat... in the same game!

Only the Pens' goaltending tandem let in more goals than the Flyers' pair. Let's hope the game Bryzgalov showed on Sunday turns out to be his regular game from now on.

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Giving up 5 goals on 17 shots is pretty sub par, and each of the Flyers goalies managed that feat... in the same game!

Only the Pens' goaltending tandem let in more goals than the Flyers' pair. Let's hope the game Bryzgalov showed on Sunday turns out to be his regular game from now on.

I think you have to look at the quality of shots also.. if you have no defensive help and lets guys like Crosby, Malkin, ect wide open they'll score on you 90% of the time.. your team needs to help block shots, block lanes, disrupt the shooter in any kind of way to help the goalie..

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I think you have to look at the quality of shots also.. if you have no defensive help and lets guys like Crosby, Malkin, ect wide open they'll score on you 90% of the time.. your team needs to help block shots, block lanes, disrupt the shooter in any kind of way to help the goalie..

Maybe but this team had to block 40 shots in order to allow Bryz to keep us in the game. Other than the month of March I have been less than impressed with Bryz.

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I think our goalies are better than average..most of the year they haven't gotten the defensive support they needed

all you can ask of your goalie is to give you a chance to win, which he does..

If by average you mean 18th out of 16 playoff teams, I'm right there with ya. Unless of course you're counting regular season where Bryz had a stellar 33rd ranking in save percentage...which isn't average either.

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@TedZep

I don't know about you guys but I kind of resent the fact that Pittsburgh was considered such an "underachiever" after this series. They weren't the #1 seed. They were a #4 playing against a #5 team that had a good record against them over the last 2 seasons. This same #5 seed was a tough team all season.

I just don't understand how those arrogant Pittsburgh supporters just assumed they were going to march on through Philly on the way to a Cup. They weren't the better team. They were shallow and it showed.

I'm not surprised that the Flyers beat them. I predicted Flyers in 6 (though, not by way of a 3-0 lead) and I made that prediction based on the way the Flyers have played in Pittsburgh over the last 2 years.

This underachiever bit gets old.

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I don't know about you guys but I kind of resent the fact that Pittsburgh was considered such an "underachiever" after this series.

They were considered this by the Pittsburgh sports writers. I think elsewhere their loss was treated with a little less surprise and certainly less condescension toward the Flyers.

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