by Tony on 05/11/10 at 10:32 AM ET
Not very much on the line Wednesday night, eh boys?
Forget about everything that’s happened leading up to tomorrow night’s Game Seven between the Canadiens and Penguins. Forget that the Pens have blown leads in all three of their losses. Forget that Jaro Halak has continued his magical roll for a second straight playoff series, even though the Penguins have dominated play for the majority of the series.
All that is irrelevant now, it all boils down to one game. One game which if the Penguins lose on their home ice at stately Civic/Mellon Arena will close it forever in stunning fashion.
So this morning, the spirit of Herb Brooks paid me a visit and reminded me of the speech he gave his USA team in the 2nd intermission of the 1980 Gold Medal game vs. Finland, which they were losing 2-1:
“If you lose this game you will take it with you to your f#$king graves.” As he started to leave the locker room, he stopped, turned around and added, “Your f#$king graves.”
Maybe that’s a tad bit over-dramatic, sounded good at the time. But when you think about it, it’s pretty much a damn accurate statement, is it not?
Can you imagine how sick to the defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins’ collective stomachs they will feel all summer long if they don’t win this game? Even if they win, there’s no guarantee that they’ll advance past the Eastern Conference Finals or win the Stanley Cup. But if they lose, especially after being up 3-2 against a team with a multitude of injuries to their defensive corps, they’ll never forget it.
Usually, when it comes to Penguins’ losses at home, it’s due to the team coming out flat, lackadaisical, uninspired, etc. Thankfully, that shouldn’t be an issue on Wednesday night. Put it this way, I would be absolutely shocked/stunned/flabbergasted if they did.
I don’t think HCDB will make many changes at all. I believe the Ukrainian connection of Fedotenko and Ponikarovsky will remain in the press box. The big clamor coming from the fans after last night’s loss was the wish to get Alex Goligoski out of the lineup to be replaced by Jay McKee. Although I agree that Goligoski made Max Lapierre look like, well, Mike Cammalleri, I would be surprised if HCDB actually makes the move to sit GoGo.
But what I fully expect is the Penguins to come out and play the body on the Canadiens, big time. The Penguins’ forecheck, for whatever reason, was not there as much in Game Six. It needs to be like it was in Game Five. I also don’t want to see the Penguins’ defense backing up and allowing the Habs free entry into the Pens’ zone time after time.
Game Sevens are what’s great about hockey, as nerve-racking as they are. Perhaps the Penguins should remember their old coach Herb for some inspiration.
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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.
Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins. My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes. I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.
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