Monday, June 15, 2009
More Stanley Cup Thoughts
As I'm writing this, I'm also watching the live feed of the Pens parade. Fans started arriving around 5:30 am, and last they checked, the crowd was measured at 250,000 people and growing. The Steelers parade had 300,000 strong, but since the day is nicer and school is out, they expect this crowd to be even bigger. Channel 11's "rogue" reporter, the Ox, just went crowd surfing, went out on the street, and did other rock n' roll things (he's such a rule breaker, you know). The highlight of the parade? Phil Bourque, the ol 2-9er, raised the Cup and once again yelled, "What do you say we take this down to the river, and PARTY ALL SUMMER!!!!" Anyway, while that's going on, I'm still reflecting on Game 7 and the playoff run as a whole.
Firstly, to touch on what Andy has said in the last post, I also feel bad for Hossa. I'll never fault a guy who turns down a lot of cash for the chance to win. It's hilarious how things ended up, but only because nobody saw this coming. A rematch of the exact two teams, except Maid Marian defected to the former champs and had a HORRIBLE series to help us win the Cup? It's funny, but what's important is the people who took less money to stay in Pittsburgh for another title run (namely Brooks Orpik), not those who left. Also, the person I feel most sorry for is Therrien. Think of the team as a block of marble. Therrien carved that sucker up and gave the team a foundation. He gave them character and discipline, a strong base. Then he was booted, and Genius Bylsma came in and polished the Pens into a scoring machine. Bylsma will get all the credit, and deserves it, but you still have to feel bad for Therrien.
Not only did few people expect a rematch, but even fewer could've expected a Bizarro-world finals. There's the obvious stuff (new coach, touching the Prince of Wales trophy). Last year, Sid carried this team on his back in the finals. This year, Sid was a non-factor most of the games and injured for half of the final game, but his teammates were strong enough this year to pick up the slack for him (I told Jay it was not unlike Charlie and the Moth). Last year Malkin snoozed in the Finals. This year, he was a bull in every single game. Yeah, his aggressive style led to more penalties, but he was possessed when near the puck. And finally, last year MAF pooped out a goal in the deciding game, but in Games 6 and 7, Fleury was brilliant (especially the Immaculate Rejection).
For all the Wings fans that are boo-hooing about Crosby snubbing Nik Lidstrom and half the handshake line, what a joke. Last year, the Pens didn't form the handshake line until the Wings were done celebrating. This year, Lidstrom formed the line while we were celebrating and subsequently had to greet the Pens in small chunks. Crosby and a small group were still celebrating and doing interviews, and Lidstrom stood around for a bit before whining into the locker room. Could he have stood for an extra 30 seconds? Sure. Could he have gone right up to Crosby? You bet. The Mule doubled back to check on Sid's knees, Nik and Kris Draper could've turned back as well. Crosby's thoughts? He has no regrets.
Feel like looking at the crushed hearts of Wings fans after the loss? Of course you do, and don't feel guilty about it. Drink it up.
Finally, where does this postseason go down in history? For no other reason than walking into the invincible Joe Louis Arena to take on the defending champions in Game 7, this will be remembered as one of the most exciting and dramatic series of all time. Outside of that, we have maybe the passing of the torch from one dynasty to an emerging one. We have the youngest Cup-winning captain in NHL history. And Game 7 itself was breathtaking. I spent THE ENTIRE first period on my feet, pacing. In the second period, after the goals, the hairs were up on my arm. When Crosby went down, I honestly didn't blink an eye because we were playing so well. Was this better than Super Bowl 43? ABSOLUTELY. Again, consider the opponent. The underdog Cardinals or the arrogant, intimidating Big Red Machine? The answer is easy.
THIS. IS. THE. GREATEST!