In the movie “Armageddon,” there is a scene where the drilling fails and a news anchor announces to a stunned public,“We’re getting sketchy information that the mission has suffered massive failure.”
If “Armageddon” was based on the Penguins’ 2014 season, it would have just ended there, and Joe Vitale would have been shot into the sun.
The phrase “massive failure” rings like church bells in the summer wind. On Friday morning, the Penguins had the Rangers dead to rights, up 3-1 in the series and one win away from a return trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. Wednesday morning, 5 days later and 3 total goals later, the Penguins have been eliminated.
The Fall of Bylsma
A 3-1 series collapse. A final, damning blow to Dan Bylsma’s tenure in Pittsburgh. There’s no use in even speculating that Bylsma will be back next season; he won’t be. If you’re still holding on to that notion, you’re in a dark place. Bylsma’s departure will be quick, like a guillotine. And, yes, teams will be falling over each other to hire Bylsma, but he is not Jesus.There are other able-minded hockey coaches on the planet, and every last one of them dream of having the Pens’ roster.
Dan Bylsma is a good coach, he just isn’t the right coach in Pittsburgh anymore.
The Fall of Shero
Speaking of rosters, Shero isn’t as trusted as he used to be. We were surprised a couple months ago when we uncovered his staff’s trash drafting.
His fate is a little more unclear. Firing him is a system restart, but he hitched his wagon to Bylsma so much that he actually started drafting players for Bylsma and signing undrafted free agents that had no business being in the NHL.
The Fall of the Players
The full scope of this meltdown won’t escape Crosby or Malkin. They deserve blame, but to us, it isn’t anything more than any other player would face. At the end of the day, in the offseason and at the start of next season, Malkin and Crosby are two of the top five players in the NHL. You don’t trade them. You get a coach to get more from them, and you get viable players to play around them. We’ve all watched Sidney Crosby his entire career. This is the most telling thing. It is from Game 2:
Guess who’s leaving.
The Fall of the Penguins organization
The price to be paid for this 3-1 collapse is the downside of the reality shows and Pizza Hut pizzas in the Student Rush line and the magnifying glass that the modern-day media wields. We all know Chris Kunitz’s babies’ names and the exact minute his wife had them. We all know Kris Letang got married last year or whenever. We’ve seen Dan Byslma being an aw-shucks goofy dad in his basement. It gives the players and coaches a human quality that carries more weight for some people than their on-ice production. It can make it tough when you tell Craig Adams’ son that his dad should retire. You can’t stand hearing anyone criticizing Malkin because he is funny and “he is score.”
And it’s gonna be ironic when you get that text alert about Bylsma’s termination.
In a way, we are glad this season has ended like this. This team was as unlikable as we’ve seen in the Crosby era. Seeing the Penguins go down in flames is a bitter pill to swallow, but the very likely prospect of a organizational shakeup has already put a jump in our step.
A culture/coaching change needs to happen
And here we are. The massive failures have now caught up to the franchise riding the coattails of a championship won five years ago. Things are going to start coming out. Things like the sellout streak being a sham, the Penguins’ budget out of whack because of poor playoff sales, and much more. There will be blood in the streets.
Decisions aren’t being made by the people you would think are making the decisions. The Penguins were forced to give away Game 7 tickets on the radio. Think about that one.
You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time. And that’s where the Penguins’ organization is at right now.
Rich’s Tweet Cap coming later today. Game 7 recap, series recap tomorrow, and whatever else will be coming the rest of this week.