This morning The Grandstander takes a rare foray into the world of NHL Hockey wherein I may well prove the old adage that "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing". Before doing so, I will present the following qualifications:
- I am not an avid follower of the sport. I admit to being a shameless bandwagon rider when the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll around, and I will lose interest in said Playoffs when and if the Pens are eliminated.
- I understand the offsides and icing the puck rules, and that enables me to follow any game that I am watching.
- On the other hand, I have absolutely no idea as to what a "neutral zone trap" is (and I'll bet I'm not alone on that point).
- I would probably have trouble naming more that six or eight current members of the Penguins.
Okay, with all that said, it has been my observation than when watching these games, the Penguins have never appeared to me to be an appreciably better team than the whoever their opponent happens to be. Granted, when you are in the Playoffs, all teams, theoretically, at least, are "good" teams, but this has been my observation whenever I have watched all or parts of Pens games during the season. I know that the standings and the records established over the course of the full season belies that notion, but that is what I am seeing, and, again, I make no claim to being a hockey expert.
It is also alarming that, super stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have combined to score three goals in seven playoff games (all from Malkin in one game in the Columbus series). I can recall that Bobby Bonilla and Barry Bonds were figuratively run out of town on a rail by fans for similar Playoff performances for the Pirates back in 1990-92. I'm not hearing much if any such criticisms of Crosby and Malkin, though. Not sure why that is but maybe I'm not listening closely enough. What I am hearing though is that most of the teams woes can be laid at the skates of Marc Andre Fleury, and that Dan Bylsma should be fired, which will probably happen unless the Pens get to the Finals and even then, they may have to actually win the Cup for the coach to keep his job.
But, hey, as I said at the beginning, what do I know about hockey?