Tue May 27 10:40am EDT
"It's really tough to generate offense against that team. They're good on obstruction. It's going to be tough to generate any type of offense, if the rules remain the same. So it's the first time we're facing a team that the obstruction is there, and we're having a hard time skating to take away ice.
We took two penalties tonight on the goalie. We never take penalty to the goalie in the playoff. I'll tell you something, I reviewed those plays. He's a good actor. He goes to players, and he's diving. Took away our power play. Got to get focused. I know our players are frustrated right now. It's tough to play the game. But Osgood did the same thing against Dallas under Ribeiro." - Michel Therrien, Penguins coach.
So now the real work begins. Working the refs. Working the media. Y! Sports' own Ross McKeon called Therrien's gripes, after his Pittsburgh Penguins lost Game 2 to the Detroit Red Wings, "grasping at straws." And you get the feeling that the players don't buy what their coach is selling. Sidney Crosby visibly swallowed his pride as he tried to deliver this company line during his presser, because no one with that kind of competitive drive wants to scream "cheaters!" when he still believes it's his own team's fault that it's not finding the twine.
Therrien's comments can be seem as desperation, because after reshuffling his lines and adding Gary Roberts back into the mix there's really nothing from a personnel standpoint he can still do; unless he just goes bat-poop crazy and creates some kind of Laraque-Crosby-Staal hybrid. So the next best option is to work an angle with the refs, and the bottom line is that it's already worked once against the Detroit Red Wings during this postseason: Dallas's incessant complaining about Tomas Holmstrom's crease-crashing, a ghost that's haunted him into the Stanley Cup finals. The coach sold it, his goalie sold it, and the media storm that followed forced the referees to begin their war on Holmstrom's buttocks.
Even if you believe Therrien's selling a lie here, and demeaning the efforts of a rather amazing defensive team, he deserves credit for trying to flip the script heading into Game 3. If this earns Chris Osgood a diving call later in the series, he did his job. If this opens up the ice slightly 5-on-5 or gives Pittsburgh some extra power plays in order to increase their anemic shot total, then he did his job. There's a magnificent tradition in Pittsburgh when it comes to whining about obstruction; Therrien wants results now, but it took Mario about a decade before anyone would listen to him.