Paul Zeise: Penguins are living in a fantasy land -- it's time to join reality

Paul Zeise, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on

Published in Hockey

PITTSBURGH — No, the top teams in the playoffs weren't "shaking in their shoes" with fear that the Penguins might sneak into the playoffs. And no, the Penguins weren't capable of making some magical Florida Panthers-like run to the Stanley Cup Final had they gotten into the tournament.

And, finally, no, this notion that this core group of old guys keeps them close to being a contender again and it is just a matter of finding the right complementary players to get them back over the top.

This has all become so ridiculous and so predictable with the Penguins, almost like "Groundhog Day," the movie.

The Penguins have old star players, they show a little bit of life, they fall just short and yet the band plays on and on and on. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat, rinse and then throw up.

It could be argued the best thing that happened for Penguins fans is the team made a push down the stretch and made the last three weeks of the season meaningful. It was indeed fun scoreboard watching while watching the Penguins win and at times look like one of the most exciting teams in hockey as they surged toward a playoff berth.

That being said, the worst thing that happened for the Penguins franchise and future was that late surge that ultimately fell just short of the playoffs. It was just enough to convince some they aren't that far away from being contenders.


It almost assuredly brought some sort of false hope to the front office and ownership group, and thus, we are in for another offseason of the front office ignoring the Penguins' main issues and fixing the window dressing.

I would like to believe that isn't the case, but everything I have heard or read coming from the front office is that they are close and just need to stay the course. The belief is they were the best of the teams vying for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference and they were just a few bad bounces from getting into the playoffs.

Some analysts and assorted media types in town who used phrases like "the top teams are scared of the Penguins getting in" because they are so dangerous. Yeah, OK, the Bruins, Hurricanes and Rangers were terrified at the thought of facing the Penguins goalies for four or five games.

Give me a break. None of it is based in reality.


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