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Trying to put the Penguins’ potential letdown in historical context

Apr 17, 2012, 3:28 PM EDT

Sidney Crosby

“It’s hard to come up with another really good team in any sport that crumbled the way these Penguins are,” writes Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook in a scathing piece published today.

If you haven’t heard enough bad things about the Pens, the column is worth a read.

But it also made us wonder how the Penguins’ letdown, especially if they get swept, would stack up against other famous letdowns.

And we mean letdowns, which aren’t necessarily collapses. For example, the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead to the Flyers in 2010, but the B’s were the No. 6 seed in the East. Nobody considered them Stanley Cup favorites. Plus at least they made it to the second round.

Nor are we simply talking about first-round upsets. For example, it was definitely a letdown for the Red Wings when they lost in the first round to the Oilers in 2006, but we don’t recall Detroit losing its collective mind like we’re seeing from Pittsburgh.

Consider:

1. The Pens were the Cup favorites

2. They’re on the verge of getting swept

3. They’re on the verge of getting swept out of the first round

4. And above all, they’re going down in flames. Blowing leads. Surrendering 20 goals in three games. Losing all focus. Their owner is reportedly embarrassed by their antics. Really, it’s the textbook definition of a meltdown.

The one thing you can say in Pittsburgh’s defense is that Philadelphia is a very good team.

But I’m trying to think of another team from any sport that has all those four points covered, and I’m having trouble.

If you can think of any, please do share.

  1. themohel - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:33 PM

    They are a 4 seed about to lose to a 5 seed. Wooo Hooo that is an historical upset – right up there with 1980 Team USA over Soviets!!!

    • lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:50 PM

      They’re only a 4 seed bc they ran out of time with Crosby to catch the Rangers, which they probably would have. 4 seed minus the “best player in the world”. But with the talent they have us cup pedigree, they’re a 1 seed type team.

      • themohel - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM

        I agree that the Pens would have finished higher without injuries, it is still a 4v5 matchup. even if they got to a 1 seed, 8 seeds beat 1 seeds in hockey all the time – ask a Van fan. Not saying it shouldn’t be disappointing to a Pens fan, just answering the man’s question.

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:13 PM

        I get the actual seeds but what I’m trying to explain to you is that Vegas and the NHL doesn’t view them as a 4… So you can throw that out the window. With Crosby, they’re a different team … Period. That’s why this is more than just a mid seed non upset. Expectations matter more than seeds. Especially when you add a player like Crosby before the playoffs.. That 4 has an asterisk next to it…… Btw I like how I get thumbs downed bc I gave the penguins a tad bit of regular season credit and Flyers fans think I’m a Pens fan sticking up for my team.

      • themohel - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:17 PM

        Lasalle – I agreed that the Pens would have been higher, but we are seeing an 8 beat a 1 in the West right now. It is not rare for this to happen in hockey. Two years ago two very low seeds (including the 8) played in the ECF. The man asked for historical significance – it happens a lot.

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:30 PM

        You’re right, we are seeing an 8 beat a 1. However, that 1 seed, Vancouver, still didn’t have the odds that the favorite, Pitt, did. So you just helped make my entire point for me. Seeds don’t matter when you add Crosby before the playoffs.

      • themohel - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:49 PM

        Your outstanding analysis has completely changed my mind – this is clearly the largest upset in the history of hockey!!! Feel better now?

      • bcisleman - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

        They are a #4 seed because they blew games against the Sens and Isles that they undoubtedly expected to win. With those 6 points, they are the #1 seed. Glad the Isles could be of service. Pens were gloating about the way they embarrassed us in the first return game. Karma’s a bummer.

    • Andy Snakovsky - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:14 PM

      its not about a 5 beating a 4, its the way Philly is beating them. Right now the Penguins look like a team that doesnt even belong in the playoffs and with the high expectations coming into the postseason this showing is at the very least shocking.

    • lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:55 PM

      Again… You’re missing my point.. You put emphasis on seeds… That’s not the point of all this. It was the expectations, odds, talent and HOW they’re losing. Personally I couldn’t care less if you change your mind…but wanted to point out you were wrong about just basing your logic on just a regular 4 seed losing to a 5 seed, bc that’s obviously not the case.

      • themohel - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        Dude – it is an opinion question, nobody’s wrong. We just disagree, which I’m okay with. How about you?

      • govtminion - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:09 PM

        lasalle, stop bringing reason and rational discussion around here! We don’t LIKE your kind on PHT! ;)

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:48 PM

        I agree with you that this site is for opinions and that’s exactly what I’m giving you: my opinion that your logic is flawed. Simple, right?

    • brian32556 - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM

      I’m a big Ranger’s fan but even I felt like if the schedule was a week longer, the Pens might’ve been 1st overall. EVERYONE picked them to win the cup, so shove the sarcasm where the sun don’t shine – oh yeah – that’s every day in Pittsburgh! And what are you talking about the 1980 Olympics – either you weren’t around or you live under a rock, or in Pittsburgh!

  2. bobhpine - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:36 PM

    Didn’t Philly finish with 105 points or something? Vegas made them favorites and Vegas is in the business of inducing bets, not picking winners.

    • ml3939 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:10 PM

      Jeez, bob, giving credit to the Flyers now when the Pens are on the verge of choking so they don’t look so bad. You are pathetic personified. Any honest fan knows the Pens were the favorites to win the Cup but games are not played on paper. You loved throwing out the Flyers are chokers all winter. Look who coughed up all 3 games in which they led. Choke on that.

    • emoser - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      I’m sorry, but Vegas absolutely does not pick teams it thinks is going to lose just to “induce bets.” That doesn’t even make sense. The line can change, but that wasn’t the case here. Not to mention that every sportswriter *cough* *jason brough* *cough* was gushing over them before the series started.

      • emoser - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:43 PM

        Speaking of which, anybody remember this classic? http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/10/pht-picks-the-stanley-cup-winner-10-reasons-itll-be-the-pittsburgh-penguins/

        “You can put a bow on it.”

  3. ottograham - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    meltdown, pathetic, disgusting, shameful, amatuer, sloppy, devestating. Those are the words that sum up the first round thus far for me. Have at it Philly fans this post right here is everything you could ever hope for from a Pens gan.

  4. cleverbob - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Well, it’s not over yet. Unlikely as it would be, a series comeback would be a historic comeback. Either way – legendary!

  5. govtminion - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    While I’ll admit that only the most blindly-loyal Pens fan would say that they still could win this, I’ll go out on a limb and say that if the real Penguins show up in Game 4, they may not end up being swept after all.

    • johngaltx - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      It was almost done last year by the Blackhawks vs. Vancouver:

      “Canucks avoid collapse, edge Blackhawks in Game 7 overtime.

      Burrows scored his second goal 5:22 into an overtime that he started sweating in the penalty box, and the Canucks avoided a historic playoff collapse by knocking Chicago out in the first round with a 2-1 win on Tuesday night….”

      Recall that after game three the Hawks were about as low as they could be and ended up taking the Cunucks to OT in game seven, and if not for a bounce or two they would have pulled it off. It was a cheap shot by the Cunucks that got the Hawks all wound up and the comeback started in game 4.

      • themohel - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:24 PM

        And that was an 8 seed almost taking out a 1 seed after being three games down. This is not at all unusual – just disappointing for Pens fans.

    • somekat - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:44 PM

      Wouldn’t surprise me. The league will do everything in their power to have the Pens win game 4, plus the pens are fighting for their season. I predict PP’s at 3-1 in the Pens favor (I’m thinking 6 to 2 total). They want their “face of the league” in it still, and they want to milk the ratings a bit longer. Why else would we still be waiting for news on Asham and Neal this late in the day? Because Neal is going to get a pass. Adams and Asham can be easily replaced

      The only way that changes is if the Flyers take an early 3 goal lead or so, and the Pens just lose their cool again.

  6. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    Last year’s Red Sox, similar but not quite the same. They were preseason favourites to win it all, blew a 9 game division lead with a month to go, and then had all their organization’s dirty laundry aired out in the media.

    • Jason Brough - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:33 PM

      I’d agree with that. It’s more the “good lord, this has all gone to hell” factor, and that factor’s off the charts here.

  7. johngaltx - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    “April 30, 1994 at Detroit Red Wings. The Sharks win their first ever playoff series and do so in surprising fashion. As the 8th seed in the Western Conference the Sharks defeat the top seeded Detroit Red Wings 3-2 in the seventh and deciding game of the Western Conference quarterfinals. Jamie Baker scored the game winning goal at the 13.25 mark of the third period.”

    At the time, this was billed as one of the greatest chokes in NHL history.

    • sjshark714 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:13 PM

      Biggest Goal in Sharks History to date. Can’t wait until it get’s replaced with the one that wins us the West

  8. emperorzero - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

    The Penguins are in the middle of collapsing into a black hole, but a 5 seed beating a 4 seed shouldn’t be that big of a deal. The 1993 Penguins not winning the Cup is a bigger disaster than the ’12 squad being swept. I think Los Angeles on the verge of sweeping the President Trophy winners/last season finalist Vancouver Canucks is a bigger story.

    Vegas may have them as winners and this site picked the Pens, but I don’t see this as some sort of historical collapse. The Pens clearly aren’t as good as everyone thought and the Flyers are better than everyone thought.

    • wingsdjy - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      For pure hockey, the Kings-Canucks series is a bigger upset story. But for complete mental breakdowns, Flyers-Penguins takes the cake.

      • emperorzero - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:49 PM

        Pens have totally lost their composure and I can’t think of a goalie that has had a worst series than Fleury.

      • tcclark - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:40 PM

        For pure hockey, they’re pretty much the same series.

        Whiny, cheap, Star heavy stanley cup favorite vs. A team full of Flyers

        That could easily describe either series

      • wingsdjy - Apr 18, 2012 at 8:52 AM

        There’s one key difference, the Kings-Canucks series actually has goalies in it. Luongo has been solid and was only yanked for game 3 because the team needed to do something, anything to get a win.

  9. somekat - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    How can you possibly have a letdown list without mentioning that Yankees team that blew the 3-0 lead to Boston?

  10. hairpie - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Yankees choking in 2004 is probably the all time, but this is a beauty.

  11. jkay1818 - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    I dont get it, and i think the article is pretty biased. It’s coming from a columnist from a Pitt newspaper. He’s obviously a homer and like all penguin fans believe they should win the cup and are the best team out there. There is such an influx of penguin fans on this site so of course they seem like the heavy favorite. Granted, about to be swept and giving up 8 a game is a little shocking, but i dont think them losing in round 1 comes as a surprise to anyone. They are a 4 seed, this isnt a team who had 122 points. People who watch hockey on a consistent basis can see their D is lousy and that Fluery is insanely overrated. Add that to the fact that Philly has pretty much owned them all season and no, this isnt a letdown. In fact even if you look at some inside numbers like when they beat the rangers, yes they were 4-2 vs them but i think Biron started about 4 of those games. They arent a physically imposing team, yes they have scoring but have holes elsewhere. Pitt fans can thumbs this down bc 70% of the site are pitt fans, but facts are facts, you have given up 8 goals in back to back playoff games and are about to get swept, embarrassing. In fact if my team was facing the pens, the biggest thing id fear is crosby, malkin and co getting a call late in the game after a dive and costing my team to lose, not the team itself. Aside from Penguin fans touting them as champs and already hoisting the cup, no one is really shocked.

    • bennywisest - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/09/online-sports-book-penguins-are-41-stanley-cup-favorites/

      http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2012/04/10/online-sports-book-malkin-crosby-playoff-mvp-favorites/

    • govtminion - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:19 PM

      In the interests of being fair, the ‘influx of Penguins fans’ here has mostly been one thirteen year old with a couple hundred accounts. Not ALL, but the majority.

      …Which reminds me, the ‘soup can army’ has been awfully quiet lately. You mad, brah?

      • jkay1818 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        Thats actually funny, coming from someone in a city with so much going on. Would never think someone from Pitt would have to make numerous accounts…That franchise should have moved to vegas a few yrs ago when no one wanted to root for them.
        It always reminds me of earlier in the season when i had to sit next to 2 obnoxious penguin fans, a husband and wife. Of course the wife was the same exact size as the husband, tall and round, with a loose crosby jersey. Rangers beat them 4-1 and they were loud most of the game and when they were leaving i said to them, you know whats worse than losing? you guys have to go back to Pittsburgh. They tout them as champs there bc they have nothing else to do.

    • phillyb1983 - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:13 PM

      Pens aren’t physical? Pen’s can’t play defense? I admit, they look terrible on defense this series. Fluery has been awful, and the mental breakdowns, turnovers, lack of composure, (not to mention Griuex’ n’ company have taken advantage of every turnover, at which time my stomach churns and curse words are flying out of my mouth), and lack of game plan execution seems to be the story so far. I still say that the Pens can play good defense. They showed this while Crosby was on leave. They are actually one of the most physical and penalized teams in the league, despite having forward star players. They adapted their game without either or both their top 2 stars and showed they are a very efficient team on defense. The question is…can they regain their composure and play better in their own end, can Fluery play up to his potential? Flyers are good but aren’t playing well defensively at all. I think the Pens are better defensively overall. Will they play up to their potential? Also, side note: If Pens win game 4, its a 7 game series.

  12. heyzeus143 - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    enjoy it Philly, in a cap era good teams don’t last long, all that said – pens in 7 – it could happen

    • lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      6th youngest team in the league with a GM who has proven he knows what he’s doing. The cap has nothing to do with teams dropping off.. It’s poorly managing the cap that does that. Hence the importance of a good GM. Hanging on to anything you can think of huh? What’s next? The organ player at the Wells Fargo will start annoying the players too much?

      • jkay1818 - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:26 PM

        6th youngest team in the league? where did you get that number from? the pens are actually the 7th oldest team in the NHL.

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:04 PM

        Are you serious? What conversation are you following? I replied to the guy above because he said that, since it’s the cap era.. Phillys success won’t last long.. And I gave him reasons why the cap era doesn’t necessarily mean success has to be shortlived because it’s how you manage the cap that matters. If you took a second to comprehend what you were reading before trying to prove someone wrong, you’d have easily understood that.

    • somekat - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      All the younger guys are signed long term (except for Simmonds, I believe). Obviously in 3 years or so, some of those deal will expire, but they go through RFA before UFA. So the flyers ill have too many players in their prime? That is called trade chips, to bring in more young talent to fill the holes. Guys like Timmonen, Briere, etc will be coming off the book soon, I could see them being resigned, but not at current salary levels (Pronger will likely stay one the books, but not effect the cap. Unfortunately, I think he’s done). The only real high salary guy that is here for a long time is Bryzgalov.

      As much as any team in the league, the Flyers are set up for the next decade with their current group

      • ml3939 - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:21 PM

        Voracek and Bourdon are restricted free agents after the season, Jagr unrestricted. Carle and Kubina will be gone after this season, Hartnell and Timmonen are unrestricted after next season. Mes and Read are unrestricted the season after that. Then Briere in 2015. Of the group Carle, Kubina, Timmonen and Briere will probably be gone. All of the restricted guys will be resigned. Hartnell may get resigned. As good as Briere is in the playoffs, there is a chance he gets traded before his contract is up because it will be very appealing to teams looking to get above the salary cap floor as after next season his annual salary will be less than the cap hit. I think Holmgren will have excellent chance to retain most if not all of the young talent for a good 4-5 year stretch before serious decisions have to be made. Even then he appears savvy enough to keep this going. And the Flyers did not have to suck and accumulate 1st and 2nd picks overall to get here.

  13. sonvar - Apr 17, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    I know a lot of analysts had the Pens winning the cup but they’re losing to a fifth seed. It’s not like the Canucks who won the presidents trophy and were in the finals last year who are close to being swept by the 8th seed. I’ll give you that the Pens are losing in a particularly bad fashion but this is not that much of an upset

  14. hairpie - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Isnt Vancouver (#1) currently in danger of being swept by the Kings? (#8)

  15. ottograham - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I think the focus is not the upset between seeds, but more or less the dominant fashion that Philly has put on us. Besides period 1 of the first two games we have been absolutely horrid.

  16. flyerscupbound - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    @ bobphine

    no, the Flyers didn’t finish with 105 points. no, Vegas didn’t pick the Flyers as favorites. it was the Pens all the way.

    • mathpete13 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM

      yeah…vegas had Phili 1:16 to win the cup and Pitt 1:4

      1:4 as a #4….
      Guess Crosby isn’t all everybody has him cracked up to be :)

  17. HawaiiHockey - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    I’m over it. Who will Philly play in Round 2?

  18. uncledick - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    How about comparing it to the hype and let down of the 2011 “Dream Team” Philadelphia Eagles. And yes, I am a philadelphia sports fan.

  19. vismund11 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Honestly I think all these articles are insulting to how well the Flyers have played this season and how deep their team is. Its like the Penguins needed to have a mental break down for the Flyers to win. I call Horse **** and I think the Flyers deserve due credit for not only beating the Pens, but beating them fairly and convincingly. But because its Philly they will never get credit where credit is due.

    • barkar942 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      I am a Ranger fan and I am Loving what the Flyers are doing to the Pens!
      But, I am also a Hockey fan, and the Flyers have some tremendous talent and brawn and they have worked through their mid-season ups and downs and have gelled at the right time. You are right- not enough credit being given to them.
      The Rangers are 8-0 over the Flyers in their last 8 games. Would the Rangers be able to run them out in 4 right now like they are doing to the Pens? I really doubt it. It would be one heck of a series without as much goonery.

      • vismund11 - Apr 20, 2012 at 5:12 PM

        I couldn’t agree more, sir.

  20. barkar942 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    What is really amazing is some of the Pittsburgh faithful on this site (guys with food packaging in their handles come to mind) have all but disappeared off of here since they can no longer blow their loud air horns on here about how great Soupy and Fake Potato Chip man are. Perhaps they have changed their handles to SidBicPen and GenoMedicalNeedle!

  21. lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:26 PM

    Flyers fans, just wrap your minds around this. In the span of about a week, Pens fans went from picking their spots at the Cup Parade to bashing their own newspaper’s story while desperately arguing why they aren’t the worst chokers in the history of sports. If this isn’t the best case scenario, not sure what is. Let’s sweep these “jagoffs” and get this over with ASAP.

    • ottograham - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      noone was picking their spots at the cup parade. The media was taking care of that. We are not all idiots and realize you have a championship caliber squad. A team who we barely beat in the last game of the season as you rested your starters.Sure you have your yinzers, trolls, and even a mixture of both (not a much worse combo in the world if you ask me. and Im born and raised here). But the majority of us were certainly concerned with our ability to matchup with you guys. Youre a good team lasallehockey81, but you may want to eat some humblepie. This is a marathon big guy.

      • lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:47 PM

        Maybe you personally werent talking Cup, but, just like “throwing snowballs at Santa” garbage, the minority always screws it up for the majority and there were plenty of Pitt fans who were. Sucks, huh? I know that the playoffs are a marathon, “big guy”..which is why I didn’t mention anything about next round or the round after that. I merely said we win one more game to be done with this nonsense and focus on the next round. So you can take your “humble pie” and use it for memorial day weekend BBQ bc you won’t have a Pens game to worry about, pal.

      • tcclark - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:07 PM

        yeah man. I can feel for you because you seem like less of a homer than the rest of your fan base, but like lasalle said, your just experiencing what it’s like to be a Flyers fan. We are constantly ragged on for a guy that beat up “a war hero” (as penguins fans like to remind us) and a guy that threw up on a kid, and for throwing batteries at JD Drew 14 years ago, and throwing snowballs at Santa 45 years ago. The single events done by a small portion of one fan base can really screw everything up for you. If you read on here, there are a lot of good Flyers fans that will actually argue with other Flyers fans when they’re being ridiculous homers (i’ve seen multiple flyers fans stick up for crosby when one homer says he wants someone to give him another concussion.) If you want to avoid comments like the one lasalle made originally, you should really blame guys like GenoPringles, crosberries, tangfan, and bobhpine. The ridiculous comments and the whole “SoupCan Army” thing is really killing the respect people had for your fan base

  22. jelliot1978 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    I can understand trying to say that it is a huge upset but when you stop for a minute, take a step back and look at things in perspective you will notice something. The Flyers were probably the last team the Pens wanted to face in the first round. They are fairly evenly matched and the Flyers were 4-2(the Pens lone win at home was the meaningless 82nd game that meant nothing in the standings to either team, the only things that did matter were stats – Malkin to 50 and Fluery for wins in a year) against the pens this year. Sure Pitt has the big 3 in Crosby, Malkin and Staahl but everyone overlooks the talent on the Flyers side. You have Giroux and Hartnell with very good years, Jagr was decent, Simmonds and Jacob V advanced their game and then throw in big playoff players in Briere and Talbot. Throw the game 3 antics out the window and you have two strong teams playing each other that were 2-3 in points in the east (hell even Jersey was technically the 4th best). If you looked at this as just roster verse roster it should have gone 7 but in playoff hockey things happen.

  23. tangfan - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    its not over for the pens yet, puxatony Phil said six more weeks of penguins

    • govtminion - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      That’s actually pretty funny.

  24. 2dollarpbrs - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:31 PM

    Couldn’t happen to a better group of guys. Matt Cooke, the angelic Sid the Kid & company deserve what they are getting

  25. dlsonice - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:37 PM

    Enough of this “4th seed losing to 5th”. The playoff seeding is wacky this year due to a really weak southeast division. In terms of points or regulation+overtime wins, PGH and PHL are the # 2 and #3 teams in the east and shouldn’t even have met in the first round.

  26. somekat - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    I know it’s not in this post. But this has to be the funniest quote I’ve seen all year, and a perfect example of why the Flyers are up 3-0 in this series

    “They’re a talented group, but we’ve given them a little too much respect and backed off in a lot of areas,” Bylsma said. “We may have given them too much respect and not done what we’ve been successful at all year.” – Penguins Coach Dan Bylsma – Per NHL.com

    Yea, that’s what the Pens problem has been. They are showing the Flyers too much respect. What a clown

  27. mediatedviscera - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:39 PM

    i think one of the biggest problems rests with the NHL marketing department and the media. Crosby is out of shape the whole team changes when he comes back…the coach cant sit him, NBC and the NHL would go crazy. the fact of the matter is philly has a slightly better team, and i stress team at this point. I think everyone from Burnside to Melrose have been irresponsible because least we forget Bettman worked for Stern. Stern saved the NBA by making Jordan the focal point and revenue soared. The post lockout NHL needed a star after they lost their ESPN contract and has put Crosby out there as if this isnt a team sport and want him to be “the face” and sell out arena’s in struggling cities when they go on the road. What happened with the NBA was rare and it’s been downhill since Jordan retired for good…its a plan crosby embraced…what kid wouldn’t…he’s a great player who has not only had serious head trauma but unfair expectations…in many ways it reminds me of Lindros and the mess in philly. its too bad but the truth is that this is a team game and when a star player you cant bench due to pressure returns it changes the dynamic of the whole team…and i’m a philly fan…but we have been through it here.

  28. johngaltx - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    The great Badger Bob Johnson once said; “Many teams have won three games in the playoffs, but it takes four to move on.”

    So until they blow the siren on a fourth Philly win, it is all just a bunch of hot air.

  29. dropthepuckeh - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Where are all of the Pittsburgh fans who were educating the rest of us on how important their “stars” are to the team and how they will be the difference in the playoffs??!! Remember – “we have real stars who score 50-60 goals not like the Bruins who have a bunch of 20 goal scorers”.

    How is that working out for you and your All Stars?? The Bruins now have a handful of players with one goal in the playoffs, no player has more. Your point about how this would be the Bruins downfall and Penguins advantage is stunning. At least there is an extra night off before your season ends.

    • somekat - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      That seems a bit like piling on, and a bit premature considering the Bruins are only up 2-1 in the series, and haven’t exactly been skating circles around that Caps (that being said, I’m a Flyers fan that would LOVE the caps to pull of the upset because…well, I’d rather not play the Bruins next roud, lol)

      • dropthepuckeh - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:33 PM

        No piling on just calling out what these folks said just a week ago. I never said the Bruins were winning the Cup again I just said they are better off rolling four lines (two fourth lines of course) than having a few “superstars” who get hurt, don’t show up etc. Now you see Pitt in this position and I hoped their vocal fans might be around to say hello…..

  30. rj2922 - Apr 17, 2012 at 4:54 PM

    “Pride cometh before the fall”

    I must say as a Flyers fan I am enjoying every minute of the Penguins misery, however you can’t really call it an epic collapse when each team arguably finished the season just as strong as the other and only a few points separated them in the final standings. Add to that , the flyers did dominate the season series and it’s really not all that historic. I will agree that no one could have predicted the penguins would self destruct like this and play right into the flyers hands.

    • somekat - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      Agreed. The only thing I’ve found very remarkable in the series was the Flyers come back from 2-0 and 3-0 deficits, on the road. That just doesn’t happen much in the NHL, let alone in the playoffs

      Besides that, the rest could of been predicted by looking at the season matchup this year with an objective view. The Pens blowup doesn’t even suprise me completely, but to be honest, the Flyers lack of response did. Honestly, during the game, I was disappointed by it (Simmonds being thrown out for nothing probably put the kabash on that), but in the grand scheme of things, it’s good they didn’t. With the trash Neal/Asham/Adams pulled (I’ll leave out others to avoid agrument), the league would of loved ANYTHING that would of given them an excuse to suspend a Flyer and even it out a bit

    • mmmpierogi - Apr 17, 2012 at 7:26 PM

      “I must say as a Flyers fan I am enjoying every minute of the Penguins misery, however you can’t really call it an epic collapse … I will agree that no one could have predicted the penguins would self destruct like this.”

      You realize you just made a monster contradiction, right? How is “self destructing” not an “epic collapse?” The Flyers *are* playing well and are a good team all around, but they’re not 8-goals-a-game good and don’t deserve that kind of credit. This series is just as much the Pens bombing atrociously as it is Philly playing that well. You don’t go up with leads of 3-0 and 2-0, and then lose both of those games. MAF is normally clutch in the playoffs and has beat teams as good as the Flyers in the playoffs, but has been god-awful this series (I don’t know how many times the announcers used the term “juicy rebound” in Sunday’s game – although when you’re giving up that many “juicy rebounds,” that’ll probably get you a 6.34 GAA and .798 save percentage). The defense has been god-awful this series (e.g., giving up way too many odd-man rushes, letting Giroux get fantastic looks left and right). Malkin’s disappeared, although that’s not super surprising as he’s known for getting in weird funks. Guys are playing in an extremely undisciplined manner and are resulting to garbage tactics. Guys aren’t taking shots when they get good looks (e.g., in Game 2 when Letang held onto the puck way with an open net instead of one-timing it and, thus, give Bryz time to slide over to make a glove save). It is the combination of things going horribly wrong at one time that makes this such a major collapse.

      The Flyers are playing good, and deserve the credit for it. However, anyone who follows the Pens knows that they’re doing as much or more to put themselves into this spot as Philly is doing things right.

      • phillyb1983 - Apr 17, 2012 at 8:17 PM

        Ur defense sucks, and we haven’t played up to par. if we win game 4 its a seven game series

  31. tangfan - Apr 17, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    wow, lots of anger here and a whole lot of experts, I have to say I love my pens and rangers, and this is a case of the best team losing, that’s it, f all this seed crap, the flyers the team I’ve hated for ever is doing everything better. let’s wait until wed, you never know

    • lasallehockey81 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:51 PM

      Am I mistaken or did you just admit to being a Rangers AND pens fan? If you did… You’re a walking, talking sports violation…

    • tcclark - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:15 PM

      Pens AND Rangers? aaaaaaand there’s the icing on the stupidity cake for today

  32. dawglb - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Nope. Can’t think of anything more embarrassing or worse. Pens win this one.

  33. ray2013 - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    I’ve been looking, and can’t find, the pre-playoff commentary re: the penguins and the flyers. They said that the Penguins could easily win the Cup, but just as likely get beat in the first round because the Flyers match up with them better than anyone in the league. Whichever commentator that was deserves a gold star for hitting it right on the head. Of course, it isn’t just that the Flyers are up 3-0, it’s that they’re up 3-0 with 20 goals in three games and that they are in the heads of the Pens players.

    PS Not Penguins or Flyers fan. I just appreciate commentators that are right, once in a while.

  34. johngaltx - Apr 17, 2012 at 6:57 PM

    Game #1, Pens up 3-1, Jordan Staal hits the goalpost, half inch to the right it is 4-1, basically game over and Philly starts gooning up for game two.

    Game #2: On the powerplay, Letang gets flattened in the corner, what’s the call? Diving. That puts him in the box, Crosby on the point. Next thing that happens, Crosby fumbles the puck at the point, Talbot scores short-handed. Route is on.

    Little things in hockey games do not look like much at the time, but looking back there always seems to be a play, a mistake or a bad call the starts the ball rolling in the other direction. Like Fluery flipping the puck into his own net on Sunday. Stuff happens in hockey games. Hit the support on a clearing pass, next thing you know it is in your net, hit the linesman on a dump-in, bang a three on one the other way.

    I see two evenly matched teams in this series, probably either team could beat every other team in the playoffs, but that ain’t going to happen. A bounce here or there and this thing could easily be 2-1 Pens.

    • tcclark - Apr 17, 2012 at 10:26 PM

      Game #1 half inch to the left and the shot’s not even close. Every goalie in the world would tell you that if you hit the post you didn’t get it past him.

      Game #2: Letang was hit in the arm and fell backwords like he was tripped. It was a clear dive. Even if it wasn’t, there’s no excuse for givign up a shorthanded gaol in the playoffs at home when youre up 2-0

      Flyers fans could come up with little things too that could’ve made the games even more in their favor. Bryz flipped a puck out of his pads for an easy goal for Staal last game. That doesn’t happen and it’s 8-3. If Schenn doesn’t get called for a penalty for his hit on Martin (it could’ve gone that way) then the flyers get a 5 minute major powerplay and Neal doesn’t score 4-on-4. That game is now 8-2.

      the point is, playing this game is pointless. it’s 3-0. A bounce here and a bounce there and it’s still 3-0

      • mmmpierogi - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:12 AM

        “the point is, playing this game is pointless. it’s 3-0. A bounce here and a bounce there and it’s still 3-0″

        Not really. The point isn’t to “make it more in your favor,” unless you simply like to bicker like an immature child because you feel the need to win arguments. The point is to illustrate that a bounce here or there can impact momentum, just as a single play in a football game (e.g., an interception when the opposing team is marching) can impact momentum. If the Penguins had held on to the 3-0 lead in Game 1 instead of letting the Flyers get back into it, I don’t buy that they would have been so demoralized, undisciplined, and lethargic by Sunday’s game. Sure, it’s conjecture – but the point of the article is to generate an explanation for the state of affairs. The team is underperforming; the question is why.

        Otherwise, enlighten me as to how acknowledging something like that is playing a pointless game – when, again, the point of the article is to generate an explanation regarding how the team has collapsed so quickly. The only reason you wouldn’t acknowledge something like momentum is because you’d rather take an alternative homer perspective – i.e., that the Flyers are such an ungodly superior force to be reckoned with relative to the Pens that nothing else in this series (e.g., momentum shifts) could explain the current state of affairs. If you honestly buy that, awesome – there’s nothing to discuss, because you’re blinded by your homerism. My 10 year old nephew acts like that, too.

      • tcclark - Apr 18, 2012 at 10:21 AM

        did you read the article? The article is looking for a comparison to this epic collapse, not an explanation for why the collapse happened. There have been articles looking for an explanation – “What got into Sidney Crosby” and “Who’s to blame for The Pens” come to mind – but this isn’t one of them.

        Playing the “What if” game is pointless. It’s always been pointless. The Flyers being up 3-0 has nothing to do with the “what if” game’s pointlessness. I will always tell people that playing the “what if” game is pointless, whether they are a Flyers Fan, an Penguins Fan, a Coyotes Fan, an Oakland Athletics Fan, or a Swiss Bobsled Fan, because all it’s going to do is drive you crazy. You can’t assume that if you got all the right bounces that your team would’ve won. First of all, no one ever gets all of the right bounces. The Flyers haven’t and I highlighted that. Second of all, momentum can be a strong factor in hockey, but it hasn’t really seemed to affect this Flyer’s team. In the fist example given, the Penguins were already up 3-1. They had a ton of momentum. Having Staal score that goal, doesn’t put the hammer down on the Flyers because frankly, they were already down three goals in that game. In the Second example, they were already up 2-0 and on the powerplay. They had all of the momentum. Letang going to the box didn’t shift momentum because they were still on the powerplay and up 2-0.

        The Flyers aren’t an ungodly superior force, but the Penguins’ momentum hasn’t semmed to stop them. Look at game’s 2 and 3. In game 2 the Flyers tied it at 3 before Kunitz scored to put them up 4-3. That should’ve killed the Flyers. I expected it to. It was a huge momentum shift, but Couturier scored at the end of the period to tie it back up. Then Tyler Kennedy comes out and scores a minute into the period. Again that should’ve crushed them, but it didn’t. Couturier scores 17 seconds later and that demoralized the Penguins. In game three the penguins kept grabbing momentum and making it a one goal game, but every time the Flyers took momentum back and stretched it back out to 2 goals.

        The Flyers have generated their own momentum shifts. It hasn’t been freak bounces or a shot that missed by half of an inch. They’re making plays when they have to. Not acknowledging that is the result of much more homerism than I ever displayed in my comment. I’m not a homer. There are better teams in the NHL than the Philadelphia Flyers, but no one is playing as well as they are now and i think anyone outside of Pittsburgh would tell you that. I’ll tell you right now, I don’t want to play Boston or New York in the next round. Boston scares the crap out of me and Henrik Lunqvist is the best goalie in the league and the Flyers don’t score on him. They can score on Fleury. If you really want an explanation look at him. His given up, rebound after rebound, and has let in a lot of weak goals. Your defense has also done a lot of stick checking and have given up a lot of turnovers at the blue lines. Dan Bylsma also hasn’t done much for this team and is being outcoached by Lavy. Also, the Flyers are just playing better. We can play the “what if” game all day long, but it will never come of anything. It’s pointless

      • mmmpierogi - Apr 18, 2012 at 3:10 PM

        To answer your question, I did read the article, both prior to and after writing what I posted. One of the points in the Cook and Brough articles was to put things in historical context; my focus was more on the particulars that Cook got into with respect to MAF, Letang, Malkin, Crosby, etc. See the paragraph under where Cook says, “Good luck with that,” as well as things that he mentioned indirectly (e.g., Bylsma). Further, if one agrees with Ron Cook or Brough that there has been a collapse, it is logical to proceed to the question “why has there been a collapse.” Regarding other articles on PHT, I honestly don’t have time to keep up with every article that’s posted on here to know who else has said what, so if I missed something in another article, that’s on me.

  35. mrdrewstone - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:33 AM

    And to think this all started with a home-and-home loss to the crappy Islanders!! Too funny, after they lose, Cindy and his boyfriend Gino can go cry to each other, cus the rest of the league is tired of hearing them whine!! Haha go Rangers!!

  36. sucks2suck28 - Apr 18, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    philly is gonna be knocked out of the 2nd round anyway…and make it 30 something years without accomplishing shiznet

  37. sucks2suck28 - Apr 18, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    yeah thats true, thanks bud. the game on sunday was bad for both sides, the penguins were just playing philly’s game. the flyers would play dirty like that for the longest time, and i guess the pens sank t that level

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