Tuesday, June 9, 2009


The colossal Pen meltdown we saw Saturday night reminds me a lot of the 1998 NBA Finals. The Utah Jazz came in as equals to the dynastic Michael Jordan and Bulls. Some even thought that the Stockton-Malone-led team might pull it off and end the Jordanaires' reign. Even though they played them tough, at some point (and I can't remember the exact moment), you could actually see the Jazz's defeat playing out in their heads.

"Hey, we can beat these guys! ... Wait a second, we can't beat these guys. They're the friggin' Bulls! The friggin' Michael Jordan and the Bulls!"

And the Utah Jazz simply crumbled in six games.

I think that's what happened to the Pens on Saturday. They'd played D-Town tough the first two games and lost, played a fairly sloppy third game and won, and then really dominated for the fourth game. They had tied the series against the legendary Detroit Red Wings.

They came out tough on Saturday. The skating and passing were crisp, and the Malkin and Staal lines were going strong. Then Detroit killed that first penalty. Then Detroit scored. You could see the passing suddenly getting a little shaky. There were turnovers. The defense was suddenly looking very diffident on the ice.

After the Red Wings scored that second goal on that disastrous line change, you could see it was over. The stupid penalties started flying, the power play goals.

I think our lovely Pens suddenly thought, "Hey, we can beat these guys! Wait a second, we can't beat these guys. They're the friggin' Red Wings! The friggin' Pavel Datsyuk and the Red Wings!"

I hope that ass-kicking jarred their heads a little and knocked those stupid thoughts out of their skulls. After all, while Detroit is still the better team, they're not so much better that the Pens can't pull this one out. However, if they are still thinking like that, even if they win tonight, I can't see how a team can beat a team they know in their heart of hearts they're supposed to lose to.

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