Wednesday, May 27, 2009
PENS RETURN TO STANLEY CUP FINALS
Wow, this is the kind of series you hope for, but never expect. After a pair of brutal slugfests against bitter rivals, you had to wonder if the Pens would go for the kill or let the Canes linger one game longer. They couldn't close out the Flyers in Game 5, nor the Washigton Crapitals in Game 6. All those recovering from your Prince of Wales soaked hangovers can bet your asses that no one writing for this blog expected anything but an overwhelming win in Carolina last night. All the signs pointed to it, we simply sat back and waited for everything to come up Milhouse.
The first nail in the coffin for Carolina: Bill Cowher. The Eastern Conference Finals is a long, drawn out equivalent to football's AFC Championship Game, and you want to let Cowher, known just as much for CHOKING in the playoffs (especially in the AFC title game) as he is for ONE super bowl win in 15 years, rally the Carolina troops by cranking that weird siren? Tomlin (genius), by comparison, has one ring in two years. Cowher's journey towards the dark side is now complete. He can rot down there for all we care. The morons in the Canes organization put a big fat jinx on this game before the puck even dropped. You think Cam Ward should've caught Talbot's floater at the end of the first? He sure as shit was about to until Chargers linebacker Denny Gibson appeared from '94 to deflect the puck just beyond his glove's reach. That made it 2-1 Pens and they never looked back. Thanks again, Cowher.
Second nail? FATE, or as the producers of L O S T would say, DESTINY CALLS. The comparisons of this team to that of the flashy Oilers in the 80's has been going on longer than I care to remember. Both loaded not just with young talent, but with the best players in the league in Gretzky and Crosby. (If you are still arguing that Ovechkin is the best, go and suck Bruce Boudreau's nuts. You can find 'em on some golf course's nearest food cart.) Even their playing styles are very similar. Both teams went to the Stanley Cup as relative newcomers, and both got beaten by the perceived juggernaut of their time. The following season, both the Oilers and the Pens returned with their swords in their hands, battling the same team that beat them the year before. There was a happy ending for the Oilers, capturing the Stanley Cup in that second attempt and starting their dynasty of 5 Cups in 7 years. For the Penguins, we will see...
Lastly: HISTORY. For any Pittsburgh loyalist, a return trip to Lord Stanley's Throne Room was always gonna happen. It didn't seem likely sitting 10th place in February, but Sid and Geno knew all along that a dramatic comeback would look far better on the post playoff DVD, and set out to make it happen. Steamrolling the competition, the Pens nailed the 4th seed in the East. First up on their list of children to eat? The Flyers. (aka one big joke of a team from Sillydelphia). We all remember those series from the 90's and the steel cage matches that came with it (not to mention multi Overtimes). And before these playoffs what do we remember best? Oh yea, kicking their ass in the Conference Finals last year. As the playoffs progressed, it seemed every round carried that sweet smell of playoffs past. The Craps were next, and while the recent feud has been all about Sid vs. Ovechkin, the bouts between the two clubs in the 90's were always awesome, mainly because the Penguins were always winning. I could give a shit about Carolina; The Whalers were a far superior club. However, we did get to see the Penguins old war horse Ronnie Francis behind the bench as an Associate Coach. To top it off, "the Great Eye is ever watchful" above the Penguins heads, and I'm talking about Mario LeMagnifique and his playoff beard.
What more could you ask for? Well, look at the two teams left to challenge the Pens for the Cup. More than likely, we'll get the idiot Red Wings, the same damn team who beat us in six games in the Finals last year. I won't plug the revenge motive, because only retarded teams like the Baltimore Ravens show up at a Pittsburgh bout with revenge on their mind (see: pick 6 Polamalu, ray lewis golfing).
Speaking of revenge, nice to see you again Hossa. It's all common knowledge now, but let's recap. Marian Hossa, a steal at the trade deadline, helped get the Pens to the Cup Finals last year. After the loss, the Penguins offered him a long term juicy contract. Pens Nation goes wild. Hossa's response? Noooooo thanks. It wasn't just a simple rejection, because he then signed a one year deal (for less money) with the Red Wings. His reasoning? The Pens were a fluke and the Red Wings are more likely to win another Cup. Ouch. Time to slam those words down his throat with a side of halushki. Rest assured, a rematch from last year cements rivalry status, and we'll be ready. Oh, and if we aren't lucky enough to get that rematch, we settle for...another rematch! It'll be Pens vs. Blackhawks, a rematch of the 1992 Cup Finals that saw Super Mario & Co. punish them into a four game submission, similar to the whipping you just witnessed last night. Can't wait. Go Pens.