Rossi: Blues on call, but in blue, Pens fall
I'm not alone in hoping the Penguins one day become a Blue Man Group, but those of us who favor their original colors to Pittsburgh black and gold are seemingly a minority smaller than the number of men to have coached the Steelers since 1969.
Having long ago abandoned my charge for the Penguins to Go Blue! into Consol Energy Center next season, I spent a few hours looking to answer the most pressing question regarding the Stanley Cup champions:
Why can't they win wearing blue?
Faking ignorance to his club's 3-5-2 record last season when dressed in blue, captain Sidney Crosby originally denied a working knowledge of these struggles. However, I know better than to trust his "Didn't we win in them?"
Not enough, and on some nights the only good-looking thing about the Penguins was their threads: one goal scored in a shootout loss to Minnesota last November; seven goals allowed in a loss to Toronto a month later; a five-goal trouncing to Florida in early January; a loss to Philadelphia in late March, their first regulation defeat in a month.
The Penguins won 18 of 25 games under Dan Bylsma last regular season. Two of their non-wins came in blue.
"And I like them," Bylsma said of the baby blues.
Not long after their loss to the Flyers, the Penguins dropped their blue like a bad habit. Apparently they discovered some Blue's Clues. Hey, they needed points, right?
As is often the case when I have a serious question regarding the Penguins, I turned to goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. A guy nicknamed "Flower" surely could solve this colorful controversy that has begun to bloom.
Me: What can you do to break this curse?
Fleury: I don't know yet.
Me: Burn them, maybe?
Fleury: No, (equipment manager) Dana (Heinze) wouldn't be happy.
Me: Douse them in holy water?
Fleury: Thanks for bringing it up. I'll give it some thought and get back to you.
Me: What about a voodoo doll wearing the blue uniform?
Fleury: No. No.
Me : Anything• My point is you never win when wearing blue!
Fleury (rolling his eyes and smiling): I get that point now. It's just coincidence. Maybe I could wear a black jersey under the blue.
Me: What if you wore the black game sweater under the blue sweater?
Fleury: No, it would get too hot - and this is getting ridiculous.
It is getting ridiculous. Colors aren't cursed, are they?
"No, they can't be," Fleury said later. "Why would blue be cursed, anyway• What has it done to anybody?"
Nothing, other than not being either black or gold.
PRESS BOX RUMBLINGS
The Flames are resisting the structured defensive system preferred by new head coach Brent Sutter. ... Heat in Toronto on Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson is not from GM Brian Burke. ... Ottawa D Anton Volchenkov has jumped atop the list of hockey's best open-ice hitters.
FOUR IN PLAY
In honor of the Penguins' alternate blues, worn last night for the first time this season, HDIP rates Pittsburgh's top hockey sweaters:
4. Shamrocks (1935-36): The Penguins should wear replicas every St. Patty's Day.
3. Penguins (1977-78): Think the 1991 Cup team, but dressed in blue.
2. Phantoms (1994): Bonus points for the best logo in city history.
1. Penguins (1991-92): Three patches, but none better then "BADGER."