PHILADELPHIA — Brief and to the Point …
>> My Monday column points the finger squarely at the Penguins’ defense.
Not the team defense. I’m talking the defensemen.
>> I offer you, o voracious hockey readership, this simple question: Was this the worst collapse we’ve seen in the city’s history?
If you think that’s an overstatement or cheap shot, I’d challenge you to pore through 126 years of the city’s professional sports and identify a greater or even equal collapse.
The Pirates lost two of seven World Series, but the first came without shame in the inaugural Series in 1903, the other to a team that hit like the ’27 Yankees. Because they were the ’27 Yankees. The Barry Bonds-led division winners fell short three times, but they hardly collapsed … well, except for a certain ninth inning.
The Steelers have lost two Super Bowls but were underdogs in both. Those ’76 Steelers, still a consensus choice for their finest overall team, went down in the AFC championship to Oakland, but they’d lost Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier to injury.
Only the ’93 Penguins compare, really, but even they reached Game 7 of the second round and were without Kevin Stevens or a healthy Mario Lemieux.
Not exactly like being without Paul Martin.
Who else you got?
The 1981 Pitt football team with Dan Marino is one.
I can’t get into Pitt basketball collapses for this topic because Jamie Dixon’s never made a Final Four. Hard to call it an upset like when Duke or North Carolina goes down.
>> Erik Bedard, 0-4 with a 2.64 ERA, told reporters back home, “The runs will come.”
He might be a better pitcher than prognosticator.
>> I’ll make my weekly appearance on TribLIVE Radio today at noon.
The expected frustration of the fan base, I’m sure, will lead to some whopper suggestions. Maybe even a couple ridiculous calls for Malkin to be traded.