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Saturday, May 28, 2016

Crowns and Clowns ECF: Penguins vs. Lightning by @Medina_Marie17

How are you feeling Pens Kingdom? Has your heart beat returned to somewhat normal? Are you still riding the Eastern Conference Championship high? Did you get any sleep at all last night? Well, I hope you are used to it because more work is to be done. The Penguins battled the Bolts down to the final game of the series and what a game it was. From the crowd to the players to the storylines, the kingdom is, once again, buzzing with Stanley Cup fever.
3 series down. The most important lays before them…but before Pens begin their journey to take on the San Jose Sharks, let us review my picks for Crowns and Clowns ECF: Pens vs. Bolts.


High King: Head Coach Mike Sullivan

It takes a special person to instill a sense of confidence and worth into someone else when they are at rock bottom. As such, it takes a special coach to “right the ship” after it’s drifted too far out to sea. When Head Coach, Mike Sullivan, took over the team in mid-December, the Penguins were 5 points out of a playoff spot and were sinking fast. Then, there was the come from behind win against the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 31st. The game where it all clicked. The game that started the comeback from being dead and (almost) buried to becoming the hottest team going into the 2016 Playoffs. Only an extraordinary coach could have accomplished this feat and the Penguin fan base is thrilled and honored to call him OUR coach. Mike Sullivan now wears the crown as High King, as he should. The Princess bows to his majesty.

Prince: Bryan Rust
A familiar face to the C&C segment but as deserving as ever. The “career AHL’er” as he was called by one blogger, has shown his grit, his drive and his true ability. He (finally) capitalized on a pivotal breakaway goal in Game 6 and tallied BOTH goals in Game 7, sending the Penguins to the Stanley Cup finals.
Those two goals made Rust only the 4th Penguin in team history (and the first rookie) to post multiple goals in a game 7. I guess he really does deserve that contract after all, doesn’t he. Some call him Rusty, but I call the speedy, grinding, trash-talking, fighting Irish alum, the Tasmanian Devil (for reasons just mentioned) and the smiling Prince of this series.

Duke: Matt Murray
Figuring out who would take the title of Duke was a little more challenging. So many players stepped up to help get the Pens through this series but in the end, it comes down to having a strong goalie to keep the other team from getting ahead. Matt Murray had never seen a team as fast as the Lightning. Some wondered if now was the time to put in Marc-Andre Fleury. With only one shaky game, Matt Murray stood his ground and when the final horn blew, it was he who was in the middle of the celebration pile. 22- year old Matthew Murray… our goalie, our future, and this series noble Duke.


The Bozo(s): The Black Eyes of NBC Sports
I said it in my piece earlier in the week and I am making good on that promise. Due to their on air comments and actions (as well as a not knowing how to phrase a question regarding a players endurance and lung capacity), Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire are your Bozo’s of the series. Condoning goon-like behavior and indicating that taking out a team’s stars via injury is a “good game plan” is no joking matter in my eyes.

It was obvious Milbury was joking”.

“Well, Pierre didn’t choose the clips” (okay, if that is the case then he also didn’t apologize for the examples that were being used either).

YOU DO NOT JOKE ABOUT PURPOSLY INJURING OTHER PLAYERS! Then, after Game 7 was in the books, Mike Milbury goes on to try and discredit Bryan Rust’s second goal. NO MIKEY, that is not okay. No Pierre, that just doesn’t “make the cut” in my book. Now share the jingly-bell hat like good boys and hopefully you can learn from your mistake and engage that brain-to-mouth filter you seem to have forgotten about.

The Simpleton: The 3rd-Period “protect” defense

This is what your "protect" defense makes us feel
It has been an issue time and again. The Penguins have a strong lead, and then the 3rd period starts. They sit back and try to play “let’s just protect the lead” instead of keeping their foot on the gas for the last 20 minutes. It has come back to bite them and have taken games into overtime because of it, sometimes costing them the game.
It almost cost them game 6 and thereby would have eliminated them from the playoffs. Luckily, in Game 7, the Penguins kept the pressure on (for the most part) and were able to defend and keep their one-goal lead to victory. But the “protect” defense HAS TO STOP. Hopefully now they have realized this and will not engage it against the Sharks because it can and will spell disaster.

The Jester: Steven Stamkos
Generally, Steven is a decent human being and he is one heck of a hockey player. But no game, no sport is worth putting your life and career on the line. A blood clot is a serious thing. You need only ask Pascal Dupuis. Stamkos was out 56 days/21 games after undergoing surgery to deal with a clot around his collarbone area. He missed the entirety of the playoffs but made the decision to play in this game.


I get it. It’s a game 7. The season is on the line and he wants to be a part of it. But is possibly ending your career and maybe your life worth it? He played all of 11 minutes and 55 seconds, took only two shots and was a minus 1. Other than those two shots, he was basically invisible and didn’t help his team much at all. Not being able to play in that kind of game is a hard pill to swallow but at 25 years old, he has many more years of hockey left in front of him (God willing) and, in my opinion, was too risky a chance. But it’s his career, his body, and his choice but it still gets you put on the list.

Your Pittsburgh Penguins are the Eastern Conference Champions. It’s time to Slay the Sharks!

1 comment:

  1. You are right on about Mike & Pierre. Both are bozos and should go. Their personal bias for certain teams goes on all year around. Even if you aren't playing their favorites, they talk about them and you think you are on the wrong channel. NBC need to clean house and get a new non bias crew. Fresh start like a new coach.


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