Friday, June 12, 2009

Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup Champions!

If you scroll down a bit, you will notice that I called it correctly that the Penguins would not only win, but win the series in 7 games. So, congratulations Pittsburgh Penguins! You all have done your city proud! The game itself was a bit anti-climactic to where the skill players for the Penguins and Red Wings weren't locked in a scoring battle, but grinding out a defensive struggle. When there was hardly little to cheer at the end of the first period, the score read a double goose egg at 0-0. I was preparing myself for a let-down, but still I permitted the thoughts to having a good feeling of being in great shape. Both teams played defensively.

I watched the NBC version and still felt like I should pay attention to their production of the game as well. Even if "Mad Mike" Milbury is remembered for dissolving the success of both the Bruins and Islanders, I still find him a truly entertaining personality between periods. Unfortunately, NBC does have to keep looking for more hosts that have more bravado than Darren Pang and Pierre McGuire. Can anyone really tell those two apart? Do they really need two dwarfish bald men?

The second period was the most exciting and the most controversial. Max Talbot, or as his closest friends call him "Superstar", let one rip past Osgood's 5 hole after a bad turn over pass in the corner. It wasn't Crosby or any of the other Penguin star players, but Max Talbot getting the opening goal. Clutch performances have been coming from unlikely sources. Not only did he get one goal, but he also grabbed destiny by the horns and scored the second goal. Then came the one moment that everyone in Pittsburgh held their breath. Sid Crosby got his leg caught between the boards and Johan Franzen. Crosby had already missed some time from a lower body injury that wiped out most of his second part of the season. Penguins fans got the scare of their lives when Crosby hobbled to the bench then to the locker room. Did this cost the Penguins the cup?

At the second period intermission, I was hoping that Marc-Andre Fleury would be able to withstand the pressure knowing he has never truly held together under situations like these. But that would only be on the back burner of concerns once the reports of how hurt Sid Crosby was.

Third period was more of the first, but with the added unknown factor of just how effective was a Sid Crosby on one leg. The Red Wings made a gutsy effort, even getting the lead cut in half by Jonathan Ericsson. But the final few minutes even produced a gigantic rush of desperation. With the goalie pulled, Fleury managed to make not one but two huge saves and hold on for the win.
“It’s a dream come true,” Crosby said. “It’s everything you imagined and more. I would’ve loved to do it in four. It would have been a lot easier on the nerves.”
The post-game celebration was tremendous. Hossa looked the most dejected out of any Red Wing that the camera panned over to. Of course, the Detroit fans booed the Commish, and no doubt seethed anger to see hockey's youngest and triumphant captain hoist the Cup above his head. Malkin deserved the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. Too bad his parents were not in the building. Malkin raised the trophy as if it were weightless, but I had visions of what happened to the CHL's Memorial trophy just a year ago.

... and on one additional note, Mario Lemieux is getting noticeably older. His playoff beard and hair is actually starting to get some big streaks of gray.

[Via: Yahoo! Sports]

P.S. Happy Birthday, Kris.
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