Pretty pathetic performance down there in balmy south Florida last night.
Thibault was, well, Thibault.
That great experiment with Malone on the first line. Jesus H. Christ, when will they learn ??
Just how many centering passes with no one going to the net did they attempt ??
And I have to say, for as great as he looks with the puck, I'm really starting to have a problem with Malkin's impersonation of Jagr on the forecheck, or more accurately, lack thereof a forecheck. Geno, when he wants to anyway, really knows how to use his body and lay solid, clean checks (yes, I know, a lot of times the elbow is too high). And ESPECIALLY since he's getting the vodka knocked out of him on a nightly basis.
But I shouldn't single out Malkin, with the exception of the 4th line, this team as a whole needs to do a whole lot more hitting. I'm not talking about goon-type hitting, but as I just said, Ray Charles (if he were still with us) could've seen the amount of checks that the Pens opponents lay on them EVERY GAME.
But here's the biggest thing, in my view. And the funniest part is, the Pens don't have to do anything about it ON THE ICE.
I have to give credit to this to Jay Caufield, who regularly does Pens postgame on FSN 'Burgh. I think Jay does a very good job, by the way.
And when you see what he says, you realize that right now, the Penguins and the Steelers face the same problem.
Jay hit the nail right on the head last night when he said that from now on, the Penguins are a huge game on opponent's schedule, because now they're facing "the big boys", of course referring to Crosby and Malkin, among others.
It's the same thing that the Steelers failed at miserably this past season. They failed to realize that even as much as their opponents hated them before, as the Super Bowl Champions that hatred and intensity went up a notch. And when the dust cleared, the Steelers are already planning their golf tournaments.
So boys, as said in tonight's post title, it's time to change your mindsets.
You see, the opponents no longer view the Pens as laughable losers.
Penguins opponents know now that they can't skip into Mellon Arena and expect an easy victory, that is if they get a win at all. And with more frequency, those teams are coming out losers. But what that also means is that teams are now coming into Pittsburgh and thinking it will NOT be an easy game.
And when the Pens go on the road, when the Pens themselves admit to have more jump in their stride, their opponents, with usually close to a sellout crowd for a change, are more focused and intense themselves.
So what the hell does all of that crap mean ??
It's pretty simple actually.
For as humble as all of the Pens have been this year, the youngsters that they are, they collectively all need to get one concept in their head; Your opponents now have given you the respect that you've deserved, even as incredibly young the majority of you are.
That means that NOTHING short of the type of effort that they put out recently vs. Toronto, Carolina, and Buffalo will suffice. It's apparent at the halfway point that the Pens opponents aren't taking the night off anymore, so if the Pens do, they're in deep kimchee.
The Flyers are next on Saturday afternoon. They'd better heed what Jay said (I just piggybacked what he said), or even the Flyers, whom the Pens have beaten 5 times this year, will beat them.