The defending Eastern Conference champs sit at the halfway point of the 2008-09 season out of the playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins, this blogs least likeable team in sports, have dropped five in a row, six of their last seven, and seven of their last nine games. They were just blanked 4-0 by a goalie who was coming off the flu, and had no shutouts this season. The Pens had 1:59 of a 5 on 3 advantage, and managed only one shot.

Frustration is setting in in the Pens locker room, and it is starting to show now on the ice. After a great scoring chance was wasted by Hockey Jesus putting the shot right into the pads of Henrik Lundqvist, Crosby slammed into the boards and swung his stick into the glass. This can't happen. Fans get frustrated. We here at TLoGL get frustrated. Sports talk guys get frustrated. Hockey superstars get frustrated too, but they can't show it like this.

We saw this in the Finals last year. Pittsburgh rolled through the Eastern Conference playoffs. They went up 3-0 on every team in the East, and only when the Rangers and Philly won their respective Game 4's did Pittsburgh experience anything resembling adversity. Once the Red Wings took Games 1 and 2 in Detroit, all Michel Therrien could say is something to the effect of, "I hope my stars find a way." Therrien better regain control of his team, a very young team, and quickly. He cannot afford to have the NHL's brightest star (in their opinion, not this blogger's) getting frustrated and throwing punches instead of game winning goals. They cannot have one of their top defensemen losing it in front of his own net and wailing on a guy who hit him legally, while the opposition takes advantage of the gaping hole in the defense and scoring.

Unfortunately, they will come out of this, and they will be a stronger team for it. But this entire team has some growing up to do. And a head coach who actually has some coaching to do.

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