PITTSBURGH - These are tough times for the Pittsburgh Penguins, one game from elimination in their Stanley Cup series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Not surprisingly, people are losing their minds in overreaction. Here are some points to ponder:
n There is no need for a coaching change. The Penguins are coming off a regular season in which they had 109 points.
They succeeded against NHL competition. The meltdown they've had against the Flyers is troubling, but there's no evidence it's more than an exceptionally bad week.
n The Penguins have forced their owner to shut up. Mario Lemieux must be awfully uncomfortable perched on that high horse, complaining about gratuitous violence in hockey.
When frustration mounted, his players were no better than anyone else's, succumbing to the emotion with embarrassing cheap shots.
Was anything more ridiculous than Sidney Crosby petulantly poking away a Flyers glove after a scrum?
n The collapse has been multi-dimensional. The defense is being burned on odd-man rushes. Special teams have been terrible. Evgeni Malkin has disappeared. Marc-Andre Fleury has played his worst hockey in two years.
Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. There couldn't be a worse time, but the Penguins still have at least one more chance to salvage some pride and extend the series.
If it ends in the first round, Lemeiux and general manager Ray Shero would be wise to follow a philosophy practiced by former GM Craig Patrick:
Do nothing - at least for a couple of weeks.
Patrick always allowed the emotion of the season to settle, whether it was good or bad. Then it was possible to take an objective look at what happened and move forward.
Almost a holiday
The NFL is so big that simple release of the schedule is a made-for-TV event in prime time.
The Steelers don't play a 1 o'clock game until their fourth game, at home against Philadelphia.
The toughest travel is early, with games at Denver and Oakland wrapped around the home opener vs. the New York Jets.
Closing with the Cleveland Browns - at home this year - seems to have become a tradition.
The Steelers also revealed their new throwback jerseys. I'm pretty sure the Three Stooges wore something similar in one of their classic shorts.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.