2012 PLAYOFFS: A Penguins Overview

Forget who the Pens are playing in the first round for a quick minute.  Time to look at the big picture on the eve of the upcoming playoff season.
–This is the best time of year. The morning after a win makes you feel like someone in the "AFTER" photos in a Proactiv commercial.  The morning after a loss is comparable to the feeling when Wayne realized Cassandra was boning Christopher Walken
We as fans have little to no control over these emotions, either. We've battled each other, we've battled other fans.  All we can do is know they're coming and prepare for them. The goal is to get back to the Boulevard on some unrealistic warm June day and watch the Cup come down the street. Whatever complaints we've had, chirping we've done. It is on hold.
–The outdoor screen will be in operation every game, home and away, ROOT or NBC, Pierre nude or clothed.  [ PENS ]
Our boys Mikey and Bob will be hosting.
–This year in general feels very weird.  The Pens are heading into the playoffs as a legit favorite to win the Cup.  When was the last time that happened?  1995-96? Pens won one of the NHL's four divisions that season.  Lost to the Panthers in Game 7 of ECF.  Then we'd have to go back to 1992-93.

–Pens are 32-0-3 when leading after two periods.  Prepare to have that stat thrown in your face the first and possibly every time the Pens have a lead going into the third.

–The Pens are heading into the playoffs the healthiest they've been in a while.  It's a great thing.  Bylsma has watched this team all season.  Hopefully it's been enough that he has a solid handle on who to dress and scratch on a game-by-game basis.

–How the defense performs in front of MAF will dictate how far the Pens go.  This team may have some elite talent up front, but the defensive corps has always been almost the prime focus for Shero.  He went out a couple summers ago and bought up two upper-echelon d-men in Martin and Michalek.  He has an unlimited revolving door set up between Wilkes-Barre and Pittsburgh when it comes to the blue line.  This team has been built from the center of the ice out and from the net out.  The blue line has been built for the playoffs.

–Power play and penalty kill.  Saying it's a make-or-break thing in a playoff series takes no stretch of the imagination.  A talented Pens team lost to an overachieving Lightning team last season in a 7-game series because of impotence on the power play.  It can be a crippling thing.

–The word "dynasty" is thrown around more than Tina Turner.  In the salary-cap era of professional sports, fans and journalists perennially change the definition of "dynasty" to fit whatever argument they are presenting.  Our definition is it doesn't really matter.  Dynasties aren't really recognized until a decade or so after the fact.  All of this dynasty preamble just for us to say that this Pens team is sick.

–That's all we got for this.  Go Pens.