Sidney Crosby

Trying to put the Penguins’ potential letdown in historical context


“It’s hard to come up with another really good team in any sport that crumbled the way these Penguins are,” writes Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook in a scathing piece published today.

If you haven’t heard enough bad things about the Pens, the column is worth a read.

But it also made us wonder how the Penguins’ letdown, especially if they get swept, would stack up against other famous letdowns.

And we mean letdowns, which aren’t necessarily collapses. For example, the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead to the Flyers in 2010, but the B’s were the No. 6 seed in the East. Nobody considered them Stanley Cup favorites. Plus at least they made it to the second round.

Nor are we simply talking about first-round upsets. For example, it was definitely a letdown for the Red Wings when they lost in the first round to the Oilers in 2006, but we don’t recall Detroit losing its collective mind like we’re seeing from Pittsburgh.


1. The Pens were the Cup favorites

2. They’re on the verge of getting swept

3. They’re on the verge of getting swept out of the first round

4. And above all, they’re going down in flames. Blowing leads. Surrendering 20 goals in three games. Losing all focus. Their owner is reportedly embarrassed by their antics. Really, it’s the textbook definition of a meltdown.

The one thing you can say in Pittsburgh’s defense is that Philadelphia is a very good team.

But I’m trying to think of another team from any sport that has all those four points covered, and I’m having trouble.

If you can think of any, please do share.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

Jarret Stoll, Mats Zuccarello
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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

This post will be updated if there’s video of that staggering sequence.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: