Well, another Penguins season has come to a close. What can I say? A few things, actually.
Considering the injuries to players, most notably Sidney Crosby, who is arguably the best hockey player in the word, you have to tip your hat to the Pens for making it to Game 7 of the first round. When you are without Crosby and Malkin, the fact that you can win more games than lose (until this series, anyway) really shows that the others stepped up.
Kudos and rah-rahs aside, when your team has a 3 to 1 series edge, it is almost inexcusable to go out and lose the next three games and ultimately the series. That is a tough pill to swallow. They needed to win only one of their last three. How could they not do it?! Last night, the Bolts scored only one goal, and the Pens could never get on the board. The Pens definitely played hard; they played their hearts out, which made it all the more frustrating. But if you can't score a single goal in a Game 7, well, you just don't deserve to win.
Equally as frustrating was the Pens' power play. They were something like 1 of 35 (if the online P-G had a useful search function, I could tell you the actual stat). That is beyond awful. Again, you don't really deserve to win a series with a statistic like that.
My final frustration lies with the officials/higher ups. I love hockey; I find it more exciting than football, which I love equally. But the inconsistency with which punishment and penalties are carried out makes the sport almost a joke. I don't pretend to be super knowledgeable about all in the ins and outs of hockey, but I have watched enough plays and replays to see that two players can run into other players in almost the same matter, but one player will be out of 20 games whereas a second player may be suspended for only one game or maybe none. And it does not always have to do with repeat offenders either.
All that said, I still love the Pens. Sure, I am disappointed the season ended in April, much earlier than it has in the past few years, but you have to give those guys credit for never giving up (a few awful games notwithstanding). They fought the good fight, and they will be back next season, hopefully better than ever with a healthy Crosby and Malkin. If nothing else, we don't have to worry about Crosby being hit in the head during a playoff game. I am one of many who was concerned about his coming back this season. Well, problem solved, although I wish it had not come to that.
In the meantime, can we please end the NFL lockout (or keep it "unlocked" as I think it is today)? If I have to wait until the end of October before I get to watch a meaningful sport I enjoy, I may go crazy.