PITTSBURGH - If you're roasting the Pittsburgh Penguins today, you're well within your rights.
They've been bad in the first two games of their playoff series against the Philadelphia Flyers, blowing leads and defensive assignments with shocking consistency.
But as distasteful as it may be, give some credit to the Flyers, too.
They've taken command of the neutral zone, forcing the Penguins into mistakes that have led to odd-man rushes and breakaways.
Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't been at his best in the first two games, but there have been too many goals where he's had absolutely no chance.
The Flyers trailed the opening game by two goals with about 11 minutes left in the third period. Conventional wisdom says that's when the Flyers should be expected to start "sending a message" for the next game.
That's time-honored hockey tradition. If you're not going to win the game, you start throwing elbows or insults to let the opponent know you're not taking losing easily.
The Flyers didn't succumb to the nonsense. They kept playing, and won the first game in overtime.
After quickly falling behind 2-0 in the second game, they outscored the Penguins 8-3 the rest of the way.
They have stunned the Penguins in both games.
You can checklist all the things the Penguins have done wrong, but save some praise for the Flyers, too.
The Penguins have hit them often and hard, and the Flyers have succeeded. They've refused to give in to adversity and they've outplayed the Penguins.
Maybe some fans underestimated the Flyers' skill level. It's doubtful the Penguins did, but they've been unable to handle it.
The Flyers have a 2-0 advantage in the series because they've earned it. That's painful but true.
What are they thinking?
The Penguins' coaching staff had a day to brainstorm after losing the opening game, and one of the ideas they hatch is leaving Sidney Crosby off the power play?
By what convoluted logic do things get better by subtracting Crosby's talent?
Sometimes focusing on the details turns the big picture fuzzy.
The Miami Marlins couldn't wait to hire Ozzie Guillen, believing he'd be the perfect manager for a team with a Spanish-speaking fan base.
So in the first month of the season, he alienates those fans by professing his admiration for Fidel Castro.
Of course, the way things work in sports, Guillen will probably be rewarded with a shoe contract for so conspicuously putting his foot in his mouth.
Mehno can be reached at email@example.com