Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's Been Worse

By all accounts the Penguins season, from roughly very late May until now, has been a mess.  Swept in a very inglorious fashion, a draft that featured few picks due to the deadline deals which worked well at first then bombed, and a free agency period featuring a lot of question marks.

While it hasn't been good, it's been much much worse.

(Getty Images)

As the Pirates had their streak of seemingly never ending losing finally snapped after 20 long years, the Penguins went through a much shorter, but equally brutal, stretch not long ago.  A stretch that even had the Pirates mocking the inept Penguins.

Much like the Pirates, the Penguins were felled by horrible trades, poor drafting and bizarre personnel moves.

If you don't remember TV personality and former Penguin Ed Olczyk as the Penguins coach you can consider yourself lucky.

If you don't remember what it was like to think that next year you may not even have a team you're fortunate.

If you don't remember a top line of Milan Kraft, Rico Fata, and Aleksey Morozov you're better off.

If you don't remember rooting for just one win, ONE WIN, to break the 17 game losing streak, thank your stars.

If you don't remember a defenseman, Dick Tarnstrom, leading your team in scoring then buy yourself a lottery ticket.

Those times are thankfully long gone.  The dregs are replaced by diamonds.  There's a reasonable expectation of long playoff runs and Stanley Cups every year.  We're all better off for it.  The trade off?  Heart break.

Where before you went in happy for a win, you now expect a win and anything else is a failure.

Where before you hoped for just one goal and to not be shut out you now expect at least three a night.

Where before you hoped for one player to crack 50 points in a season you now expect two to have over 100.

This is the trade off.  Expectations bring about failure and create misery.  Heartbreak comes with the territory.  The 1/30 chance belies the truth of just how unlikely it is that it'll be your team at the end of the year who met every expectation.

So as the season approaches and no amount of beer, bourbon, or mouth wash can erase the sour taste from last season remember that not long ago it was much, much worse.  While there's no reason to not expect the Cup, be happy to be competitive and know it could be much worse.

Expect the long playoff runs, expect success, expect to win.  Just expect to be disappointed.  It's the trade off.  And I'll take it any day.

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