The Pittsburgh Penguins should not despair.
For some teams, a lot of the small things can amount to bigger problems.
Perhaps it was Jaromir Jagr’s decision to sign a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers last summer, putting the city of Pittsburgh on their heels until the ultimate gut-wrenching and disappointing turn to the rival Flyers.
But, if anything, the Flyers built for this situation that led to a Round 1 win over the Penguins on Sunday. They built a team to handle the best of the best, and, the Penguins are a very good measuring stick.
The Flyers dumped Jeff Carter and Mike Richards to seal up Ilya Bryzgalov and a few other pieces.
Philadelphia unconventionally did what most teams dread to attempt: restructure a team over the course of four weeks.
And despite Chris Pronger not being able to help lead the campaign, the Flyers are unstoppable.
Sure, the Penguins can be looked at being the softer team. And, sure, Marc-Andre Fleury had probably his worst playoffs outing in his career.
But the Flyers were quicker on the rushes, they banged at the nets harder and were tougher in the end boards.
If anything’s certain, TSN broadcasters loved chiming in the “Harnell Down” phrase at any opportunity.
Meanwhile, Claude Giroux showed his leadership roles, while other players got underneath the skin of Sidney Crosby. The series was a well-fought physical battle, but also a tough mental battle.
The Flyers won in both categories.
The Penguins can only learn about themselves from it, and learn from the competition and how to show up ready next year for the Flyers. Because that’s where the biggest threat in the Eastern Conference, hands down.