Who Are These Guys?

By Letangueray

Yesterday I wrote about how I will stand by my team no matter what. That is true. But today…this was not my team. I don’t know who these guys were. But they were not the Penguins.

Gutless. Arrogant. Punk. Disgrace. Classless. All of these words and more have been slung at the Pens since the beginning of the month. I defended most of it. But today? I saw ALL of it.

I don’t need to do a game play by play. You all saw it. We know what happened. The past two games, it was like, okay. Dan Bylsma needs to fix these lines, get the power play fixed and get our defense motivated because something isn’t working here, but they can bounce back and hopefully at least split the games in Philly and take it to seven games if necessary.

After today, these team deserves to get swept. Period. Where is your honor and dignity? Where is your respect for the game? You play for an organization who has been on the podium for a YEAR speaking out against games like today. The Brawl on Long Island was not the Pens fault. But today, the Pens acted with the same amount of gutless, reckless behavior as the Isles.

Speaking of the Isles, let’s start with Arron Asham.

Brayden Schenn may have acted like a prick a few times in the past few times the Pens and Flyers have met, but his hit on Paul Martin was clean. Did Asham have a conference call with Trevor Gillies this morning over breakfast? Because what he did to Schenn was just as deplorable as what Gillies did to Eric Tangradi.

If that move doesn’t earn Asham a one-way ticket out of Pittsburgh in the off season, then I have zero ability to defend the Penguins organization as not acting with utter hypocrisy. Asham needs to be suspended and not just one of these one game joke of a suspensions. He needs a suspension of Matt Cooke caliber. Take it into next season, wherever he may land because I don’t think Mario will allow him a renewal of his contract. Nice knowing ya, Asham.

This team needed Asham in the playoffs. He plays hard and comes to work ready to go. This was foul.

Then there is James “The Real Deal Fuckin” Neal. (I hardly ever use profanity on my blog, but today I take exception.) Neal is invisible for Games 1 and 2, with the exception of a few fantastic, CLEAN hits. He scores two goals today, but also…

You ran Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. And chaos ensued. Both hits were blatant and dirty. Neal after the game attempted to explain himself that when it came to the Couturier hit, that he tried to let up and wasn’t sure if Couts had the puck or not. Head shot city on this. He head shotted Giroux as well. Of all teams to be making dirty headshots, man. Upward motion and he left his feet. We cry all the time about Ovechkin leaving his feet so I will not defend Neal’s hit on Couturier at all.

Not ONE Flyer headshotted one of our players when they had the chance. This is completely to their credit.

James Neal should be suspended into next season. Without question.

Craig Adams…pulling hair? We all made fun of Scott Hartnell for biting Kris Letang, but really man? What Harvard text book is that move in? Adams will likely face suspension. Yes, the hairpulling may have been incidental because Hartnell has a ton of it, but still. Per Seth Rorabaugh at Empty Netters (coming up huge Tweeting all of the Rules the Pens broke so I didn’t have to go digging myself): Per rule 46.22, Adams is “suspended for one game, pending a review of the incident” for that instigator penalty. (Rule 46: Fighting)

Kris Letang, a player that deserves to be called elite, has also been fairly abysmal this series. The Pens NEED Letang. I mean need him like they need oxygen. And what does he do? Gets ejected from the game in the first period for fighting with Kimmo Timonen (who also served a game misconduct).

Get some discipline, Letang. Get a hold of yourself.

**EDIT** Adding in, because I was so furious when I was writing this, I completely forgot about Letang “Shhh”ing the crowd. NOT the time man…this is why we get called arrogant. Totally WRONG context of the game for that move.

I’m not done calling people out.

Oh, Captain. My, Captain. Where was our fearless leader today? Where was the man that leads the Penguins? The face of the franchise. The face of the league. The poster boy for banning headshots and cleaning up the game so that it maintains its integrity.

Oh, he was busy mucking it and pulling bitch moves like stabbing at Ilya Bryzgalov with his stick, throwing Kimmo’s glove and fighting with Giroux, the Alternate Captain of HIS team in Pronger’s absence. Then getting into it with guys at the end of the game following the Neal/Giroux debacle. Thank you, Crosby. Most of the scrums today were started by you, our leader or were the direct result of something you did.

Sorry to say it, but this team was better without Crosby. I thought maybe, just maybe it was him being miscoached, mishandled, misused. No. When Crosby is on the ice, this is Sidney Crosby’s Penguins. And the fans are proof of this. “This is HIS team. This is Sid’s team, guys! This is Sid’s team! He is the Penguins.” And if any of his little fan club members deny this, I’ll show you a room full of liars.

I said the other day that this team could win a Cup without Crosby. I said all season that this team could win a Cup without Crosby. I said LAST season this team could win a Stanley Cup without Crosby. Now they have to learn to win one with him and honestly, they need to learn to play with him, and this isn’t the team’s fault…

Last but not least, Head Coach Dan Bylsma ought to be fired for today. Dead serious. He has been outcoached by Peter Laviolette every step of the way.

This team is built into individuals and what individuals can do. And it is all built around the key players, rather than developing the team together (which is the Capitals biggest problem). I was so blinded by the talent of this team that it took until the last month for me to see it for myself. The Pens are the Capitals right now. A team with no leader, no cohesion, no chemistry.

They had it for a little while. They found an identity. That identity is gone.

This team lacks discipline. A system was found that made this team work with ALL of its parts (Crosby included) and Bylsma decided to shake things up that didn’t need moved (as I stated in other blogs over the past two or three weeks).

The Pens didn’t win a Cup playing Bylsma’s game. They won playing still under the direction that Michel Therrien pointed them in. Their discipline is gone. Someone needs to come in and set it straight and I don’t know that Bylsma is the man to do it.

This is the Pens right now…

To a T.

The most sad part of all of this is that the Flyers aren’t even playing fantastic hockey. They aren’t doing anything special or out of the ordinary. This isn’t a case of the Flyers are some elite team (when really talent wise and ability wise, the Pens and Flyers are about even) and the Pens are just falling apart or are injured. The Pens are just a mess.

The Pens were favored to win the Stanley Cup by almost every analyst. No one could have predicted this. I am friends with many Flyers fans and they all feel that this series was anyones to take. That both teams had just a good a chance as the other. It would come down to who could score more. The Flyers shouldn’t be outscoring every night. Not like this.

These goals aren’t even that magnificent, most of the them. They are soft and many gift wrapped by a Pens defenseman handing them the puck or someone causing an awful turnover and leaving Marc-Andre Fleury alone to fend off breakaway goals. (Which are all about 50/50 chance of making a save.)

Get back to being the Pens. You guys aren’t the Pens. I have no idea who you are, but I will be here when you come back. I will be here, I promise. Arms wide open, ready for you. But you need to figure out how to be the Penguins because this is disgusting. It’s an embarrassment. It is an abomination.

I love you, Penguins. I do. But today, you broke my heart. You disappointed me and thousands of others and not because you didn’t win. Not because you didn’t try. It was because you didn’t care.

When you’re done with this, read what Dejan Kovacevic had to say… Link here


24 responses to “Who Are These Guys?

  1. Stop being negative about this. Instead of the Pens being in the Flyers heads, they got into the Penguins heads. The Flyers could have walked away from most of the crap, but they didn’t. Our defense sucks and the goaltending has been OK instead of excellent like most of the season. If the Pens were playing any other team they would be kicking their asses, but they are not and this is what we get. The Flyers have our number now and yes it is as easy as that.

    • The Flyers haven’t even done much to get into their heads, so I’m not sure where you are coming from with that. They have played decent but they haven’t exactly been doing much. The Flyers did try walking away from a few of the scrums but it got entirely out of control and after doing something like running down Couts or Giroux, how do you expect them to respond?

      • I guess since I believe the Flyers have gotten into the Penguins heads, i understand the Pens actions today, though not as bad as everyone is making it out to be, but not normal for the Penguins.

  2. You are WAY off base! Those scumbag Cryers have been getting away with murder this whole series and our Pens got tired of taking their crap. Those thugs (which wld be our Pens in YOUR book) but are the Flyers in Mine, deserved every ass kicking they got! And I love how you make the Flyers players out to be a bunch of angels…even glorifying their play style at certain points in this blog. This used to be my fav blog but you totally just lost me. Why don’t u start wearing orange from now on. If the Pens DONT fight and stck up for themselves they are called a bunch of whiney babies and when they DO retaliate against the scumbag team of the NHL YOU Call them, well let’s see, you actually had a laundry list of names to call them…classless, disgrace, arrogant, thugs etc. You should be ashamed throwing ur so called team under the bus. You call urself a true fan…not anymore. You crossed the line BIG TIME!!! GO PENS!

    • The Flyers are not angels, but the Pens lost this one for themselves and the other two games and I will praise teams where I see fit because I am looking at the game as a whole. The Pens are BETTER than the Flyers but come on! The Pens played with ZERO class or dignity today. It was a complete disgrace how they responded.

      I am a hockey fan and a Pens fan but I respect the game as a whole and despite some of the Flyers antics, I will NOT excuse MY team from what they did and today it was not about what the Flyers did. I’ve done my share of calling out Rinaldo on his antics and Hartnell on his and Pronger on his in my days, but today, the Pens needed to get called out.

      • That was a great post that hit it as it is. The Pens have fallen apart against Philly and it started in the 2 regular season final meetings. You stated it like it is. It should have been anyones series with the Pens having the edge/advantage of winning. If I have to pick a goaile…..I would have picked Fleury over Bryz. Not the case. Neither goalie has been stellar on earned they’re big contracts. Not many of the goals on either end have been great. In all honesty, if the Pens stop the power play goals and the SH goals, they would be 3-0 in the series over philly. Its been like 4 or 5 SH goals in 3 games……that is the difference between a win and loss and the momentum shift. Neither goalie is stellar and whatever team wins, better fix that issue becuase there will come a time when they will face a goalie that can stop a puck. Your post was very well written and truthful. I am sorry that you had to witness your team fall apart and become what they have become. This is not the way a hockey game should be played.

        • This definitely should have gone at least 6 games. And yes, Bryz let in a lot of goals that he shouldn’t have. It seems like both of our goalies have the ability to make magnificent saves but left in the soft ones.

          After all of the scrumming in the first period, there was a slight momentum shift with Neal’s goal, but the problem is the Pens are getting a goal and then causing some horrific turnover and you guys are immediately responding.

          This whole series hasn’t been playoff hockey. I don’t care what anyone says. Neither one of our teams are playing at a playoff level. The whole thing has been a joke and unfortunately the joke is on us. The Flyers aren’t playing in beast mode or anything. The Pens are just dilly-dallying around the ice and NOT playing their usual game. I don’t know what happened… I have zero explanation for this change in attitude we have seen.

          • I think the Pens are too worried about getting Crosby and Lakin involved offensively and forgot about the defense. Malkin has got to be wondering menatlly why he has yet to score after 50 goals. Tampa bay did a similar thinsg this year trying to feed stamkos the puck for goals rather than winning as a team. Last years playoffs, Tampa went up in the series on washington and all they worried about was getting the puck to Ovechkin and trying to hit to injure and fights. They did not mentally play the game of skill and got swept. The Pens seem to be in that desperation mode this year.

    • and I’m sorry but I’m not going to sit here night after night and throw OTHER teams under the bus for head shotting people and not call out my own team. Homerism is unacceptable to me. I love this team. But today they did not play like OUR team that we all know. I’m sorry this is how you feel.

  3. The Penguins that we saw today were not the Penguins that I have grown to love. I won’t say I’m embarrassed to be a fan like some have been but I will say that I am disappointed in the way that they responded. Instead of showing what they are capable of, they fell apart.

    I have also said for a while that Sidney Crosby is being catered to. When he came back, instead of making him learn the new system and adjust to the new way of playing, the Pens adjusted their way of playing for him. If he’s the best player int he world, make him earn that title. It should be easy for him to fit into any system if he is as good as everyone says.

    Finally, the only thing I will defend is the Craig Adams hair pulling incident. From what I saw, and I may be wrong, it looked to me like Adams was trying to grab a hold of Hartnell’s jersey and ended up getting his hair. I didn’t see any blatant hair pulling like everyone is making it out to be.

    The Pens are better than this and I hope that they pull it together next season.

    • It’s a little hard to tell. My eyes are blurry from watching so much video today haha but it could be incidental. I could be wrong on that. But I think he will still face punishment just because he was low minutes and fought, so per NHL rules, he is outta there.

  4. 100% correct on everything except the Craig Adams thing. I watched it several times and Adams was trying to get a hold of the back of Hartnell’s jersey. What are you going to do? There’s just…hair everywhere. Hard not to get a handful of it. When Ricky Williams used to play for the Miami Dolphins, he had magnificent, long dreadlocks that other players would sometimes use to drag him down. When asked about it, his answer was that his hair was a choice he made and if guys could use that as a weapon, well, that was part of the game. He eventually did cut it later in his career. If Hartnell doesn’t want his hair pulled, he should cut it. Simple as that. (Oh, and don’t take this to mean that I don’t think Adams should sit a game or two. I think he should.)

    • I think per NHL Rules due to Adams ice time and the time in the game that this all occurred that he has to serve a game. Not to do with hair pulling, but logistics.

  5. I will start off by saying this is definitely not the Pens team that i know. I do not agree with some of this… I usualy agree 100% with what you have to say. Just not this. Especially concerning the Schenn hit. First off he left his feet & put both forearms to Martin’s head (& did end up getting some minutes in the box for it). Asham was just retaliating, defending his teammate. When you look at the replay Schenn puts his arms up to make sure the cross check hits him higher than probably intended. Also, Asham did not hit him in the head. He hits under his head by his name on his jersey then his hand slides up. Sure I think it was necessary but at least he didn’t hit him in the head. However I do believe that he should be fined & suspended. & when you’re going down 3-0 in a Stanley cup playoff series you have to try & make a statement somehow. James Neal was trying to do that, & I disagree that his hits were dirty. & Letang & timmonds got the game misconducts for getting involved with the Crosby/ Giroux incident. & I completed agree that Crosbys return has been doing more harm than good for this team. Also, not sure what the hell Bylsma is doing with this team right now. & I agree that the defense, not the goal keeping was what was slacking today.

    • I don’t expect people to always agree with me and certainly not at 100%. I’m not embarrassed to be a Pens fan or a hockey fan, but how they acted…they embarrassed themselves. I’m just extremely disappointed.

      I don’t let Fleury completely off the hook, but I won’t place full blame. The past three games these guys lost as a team in every way, shape and form.

  6. Neither hit by Neal looks to me to be a headshot, unless you’ve expanded the definition to mean any hit that involves contact to the head. I mean, if you lay a guy out then yes, the head is involved. Looks to be going to the shoulder of Giroux and he whips his head around to avoid contact, which appeared to be the cause of his disorientation. I don’t know, lots of shit going on in this one that will be reviewed, but there seems to be a lot of overreaction here. You’re seriously concerned about Hartnell’s hair being pulled? If you have hair like a clown and get in a scrum, you’ve got nothing to complain about. I’d say the same thing if someone fought Letang, went for a hold on his jersey and came up with a handful of hair. What do you do at that point? Say “excuse me, sorry I grabbed your hair. Can we stop while I grab your jersey?” And the SSHHH? Meh, the team seemed to respond well to that whole incident. Got a big goal not long after. Of course in this series that doesn’t matter since the Flyers always have an answer.

    • It’s not even that the Flyers have the answer, it’s that the Pens aren’t doing what they need to do, which is just a shame to see them like this. Where are the guys from February and early March? Because THOSE guys played like champions. This? This is disgusting.

  7. I have to give you props for this article… as a lifelong flyers fan it is nice to see that there are pens fans that are logical. The pens were a disgrace yesterday and shanny is going to be making the calls this mornin

    Crosby is a disgrace and is acting like a brat… thx for allowing me to comment. I am off to get my dustpan ready!

    • I hope it isn’t the case of the dustpan, but only if they can come back on Wednesday and play like the team I know they are. This wasn’t it. The competition between our teams back in the game in February- now THAT is what I wanted to see. Two GOOD teams fighting will skill, not this crap. I was sure this would go to 6 or 7 games just because both of our teams are so good. Now I’m just not so sure. If the Pens come back and take it in 7, I only want to see it because they played at a higher skill level and with more intensity, not because they tried goony tactics to ease their frustration.

      Thanks for stopping by.

  8. how does the (and i quote) “poster boy of the league” blatantly knock vorachek’s glove with his stick, smacks giroux’s face against the glass, after telling fans and the league how important it is to avoid concussions and how dirty hits ruin the integrity of the game???? letang pulls timonen’s jersey over his head during that fight, schenns legal hit followed by the asham dirty cross check?…and to the delusional pens fans saying flyers are dirty, if you cant tell the difference between a legal hit and illegal hit, your a fraud fan! Alison krivak not one thing you said was even valid!

  9. You can’t beat us^. Spoken like a typical Cryers fan! Flyers are the poster child of thuggery in the NHL. And now ur crying little bitches that the Pens beat you up! You got what you deserved! Ph and btw…crosschecking Crosby from behind and skating away like a scared little bitch…Schenn!

    • I get that this is a team that all of us are emotionally invested in, but this time, the Pens started the fighting or something they did was what caused the fighting and I don’t expect our team to act that way. Missed calls are missed calls, but when Sid is slashing everyone on the ice including their goalie, how do you expect the Flyers to respond? And then Neal running down two of their guys unprovoked? I expect better from a player like James Neal. Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz both lost their cool as well over NOTHING. Taking stupid penalties when they needed to get their heads in the game.

      The Flyers have thugs, they do for sure. But so do we. Look at what Asham did to Schenn and after Schenn laid out a clean hit? There is retaliation and then their is blatant disregard for the rules of engagement. You don’t slam a dude’s head into the ice. I don’t care what he did to Sid two weeks ago. That game is done and over and I defended the Pens in those games. I will not defend them being the antagonists especially when they cannot even muster up the will at the end of the game to admit that they lost their heads.

      Being objective doesn’t make me less of a fan. It doesn’t make me a bad fan. It just means that I understand the game as a whole and know right from wrong. The Flyers are not without blame, but I have done enough finger pointing at them. Yesterday the Pens needed called out.

      I am with this team win or lose, but only if they win or lose with dignity. That is the team I know and love and support. That is not the team that showed up in Philly yesterday. Righten the ship.

  10. Omg an honest pens fan…i never thought i would see the day. I agree almost with your entire post. However i believe neal should get more games than asham(not just because he is a much better player either) asham dis come up high but in no way shape or form did i believe he intended to cross check him in the adams apple. The punch to the head while schenn was on rhe ground does not help his cause but i dont believe he realized the damage he did with the initial contact. Neal”s hit was totally inexcusable even if coutourier had the puck, which in fact was nowhere near him.. He left his feet , principle contact to the head and hit a player not even looking his way. Add to that the attempted elbow to giroux and he is a repeat offender and i would give him 5 games(what seabrooke got for the sedin hit) say what you want about the flyers but they have played a clean series. Hard, physical, and feisty but clean. I never thought i would see the day that people are actually defending them bit in this case it is right. As far as letang goes thats tough, if crosby wasnt acting like a 7th grader the timonen fight never happens and who knows how that game would have played out. One last comment, just because you are critical of a team does not make you less of a fan… Thanks for the blog it was refreshing.

    • I believe that Asham and Neal should both serve 10 games. I came up with this number because:
      1. Trevor Gillies served 10 games for what he did to Eric Tangradi which was comparable to what Asham pulled with punching Schenn in the back of the head while he was face down on the ice. Disgusting.
      2. I laid out somewhere else on the site what I think penalties should be for headshots, which 5 for first offense, 10 for second offense. Neal took out 2 guys in such a reckless manner. And the thing more concerning is the way he hit Giroux and G already had a concussion this season. I’m glad G is ok (he is actually my fav player in the league) but regardless of who he is, Neal needs to learn that that behavior will not be tolerated. Plus he is a repeat offender since he has already been fined this season (even though I disagreed with what happened there).

      It isn’t just me that feels this way. If you listen to the podcast from the guys over at The Pensblog that they posted Monday night or the PensNation radio show (their podcast is up on their site from last night’s show. I was one of the call ins) they agree as well that Neal and Asham should face harsh penalties for what they did.

      Sentiment around here isn’t all sunshine and farts. A lot of the fans are livid that our team acted like this.

      Thank you for stopping by. Hope you’ll come back!

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