Crosby's bad day at the office

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby is checked by Flyers forward Claude Giroux (behind) during Game 6 of...

Penguins forward Sidney Crosby is checked by Flyers forward Claude Giroux (behind) during Game 6 of their NHL Eastern Conference quarterfinal series at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Penn., April 22, 2012. (TIM SHAFFER/Reuters)

KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:45 PM ET

"Yo Sid, what time tomorrow?"

The sign was brought to Wells Fargo Center on Sunday morning by a Philadelphia Flyers fan and included a silhouette of a golfer in full swing on it.

No doubt the message was intended for Public Enemy No. 1, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, and the insinuation turned into stark reality. The Flyers eliminated their Pennsylvania rivals from the NHL playoffs with a rather workmanlike 5-1 triumph Sunday afternoon.

Crosby won’t be teeing it up on the golf course Monday, but a rather long off-season is beginning far too early as far as he’s concerned.

From the first shift on, it was a tough day at the office for Sid the Kid, who managed three shots on goal but finished the afternoon minus-3.

Crosby deserves credit for battling back from his concussion-like symptoms to have an impact, but as was pointed out, six of his eight points came in the first periods of games this series.

Don’t get us wrong, there were plenty of Penguins who needed to do more against the Flyers, but Crosby hates to lose and is sure to accept his share of responsibility.

While some observers may wonder if the Penguins might make a few bold moves this summer, Crosby is certainly going to use the first-round exit as motivation to come back strong.

After a full summer of training and a return to full health, you can be sure Crosby is going to find a way to come back a better player.

Any team that boasts Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal down the middle -- plus James Neal on the wing and Kris Letang on the blueline -- has a solid foundation in place. But as this series proved, if you can’t get a timely save, you’re doomed no matter how much talent you have.

While it was nice of Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma to offer his congratulations to the Flyers in his post-game media address, it was brutally honest of him to say he couldn’t really offer them good luck moving forward.

That’s what rivalries are all about.

CRAZY STAT

During the regular season, the Penguins were third in the NHL on the penalty kill and gave up only 33 goals in 270 chances over 82 games.

But in six games this round, the Flyers scored 12 times in 23 opportunities, giving the Penguins a dismal 47.8% efficiency rating.

THE EARLY EXIT

Let the speculation begin.

After the Vancouver Canucks were bounced 2-1 in overtime by the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings, there are sure to be plenty of calls for change to the 2011 and 2012 Presidents’ Trophy winners.

By allowing only four goals in his three starts, you can’t argue with the decision head coach Alain Vigneault made to go with Cory Schneider instead of Roberto Luongo between the pipes.

Schneider held up his end of the bargain, but in this series the Canucks simply didn’t generate enough offence to advance.

Now it’s up to general manager Mike Gillis to see what kind of tweaks (or major moves) he’s going to make to the Canucks roster after getting to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in 2011 and getting bounced from the first round by an eighth seed in 2012.

MOVES PAYING OFF

How about a little credit to Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren?

Holmgren made some dramatic changes to his team's core during the off-season, trading captain Mike Richards and centre Jeff Carter in separate deals that helped make enough salary cap room to sign goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

Then after Chris Pronger went down with a concussion, Holmgren made two important depth moves bringing in defencemen Pavel Kubina and Nicklas Grossmann. Grossmann missed the past two games with an injury.

The Flyers have battled injuries all season long and used a total of nine blueliners during the first round. Without depth in their system, the team might have found itself in hot water.

BRUINS FORCE GAME 7

The Boston Bruins got a big effort from their big guns Sunday afternoon, but one guy who didn’t show up on the score sheet was captain Zdeno Chara.

The hulking defenceman had another big effort and continued to make life difficult for Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin.

But not even Chara’s stick was long enough to prevent Ovechkin from scoring after a clean face-off win by Washington's Nicklas Backstrom late in the third period, but he did a good job of containing the Caps' most dangerous weapon.

Chara led all players with 30 minutes and 33 seconds of ice time in Game 6 and the sight of blood dripping from his nose after taking a high stick from Ovechkin was the image of what playoff hockey is all about.

ken.wiebe@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/WiebeSunSports


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