Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ah, Whatever

There's a new stat bouncing around the league. Teams are using it to get a sense of how their special teams are overall. Combine your penalty kill percentage with your power play percentage and a number around 100 is pretty decent. Going into last night's game, the Pens were at 120. A 92% PK and a 27% PP. I guess that's how you start off the playoffs 7-0.

But now they're 7-1. And...whatever. Yeah, it would've been nicer to win last night. Yeah, Lundqvist probably stole one. Yeah, Fleury should've stopped Jagr's shot on the first goal. Yeah, whatever. I'll only be concerned if they lose Game 5. And at that point, of course, I'll go from No Concern to Somewhat Very Concerned and if they'll lose Game 6 I'll instantly jump to Highly Aggrieved and Panicked.

About the only highlight of last night's game was the general dickheadedness of Brandon Dubinsky. Sure, Malone definitely knocked his feet out when he was in the slot on the power play. Lucky it was no penalty, in fact. And a slew foot is maybe the most dangerous play in hockey after boarding. But after getting back up and then blindly whipping the puck around for a goal, Dubinsky went after Malone in the corner and screamed at him. And then he skated by the Penguins bench with more to say, except a bear hug from the linesman cut his chat short.

Now...if I'm a rookie skating on the #1 line and I just scored my first goal in Game 4 of a 3-0 series, I might find that an inopportune time to start talking. But that's just me. Maybe in the hospital that afternoon, Dubinsky promised Avery he would do something ridiculous for him in the game that night, Babe Ruth-style.

And then we got a little chippy at the end. After the second Penguin slew foot of the night, for what's it's worth. Malkin on Mara. The highlight of the post-goal scrum by far was Gonchar and Roszival squaring off, asking if the other wanted to go, hoping the other guy would say no and then just clutching each other until everybody realized it looked ridiculous.

There is a benefit to the loss, however. Things were coming too easy for the Penguins in the playoffs and their game was getting looser and looser recently. Too many penalties, too much hooking, not enough skating. This loss, which should up being irrelevant to everything but the history books is a good, cold slap in the face and reminder that no playoff game will ever be easy. Much better to get that feedback now than in Game 1 of the Wales finals.

Lastly, not sure if you noticed this, but Detroit is good.

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