The Pittsburgh Penguins, captained by Nova Scotian Sidney Crosby, broke and made history by winning the 7th game of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals 2-1 over the Red Wings in Detroit. For only the second time in 31 Game 7s of a major pro sports final, the road team won after being 3-2 games down. The other team who pulled off the come back feat the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates. It was also the first time an NHL team has won a Game 7 on the road since 1971 when the Montreal Canadiens won in Chicago against the Blackhawks. Also in a parallel to that year’s playoffs, Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma also became only the second rookie coach to join a team mid-season and lead them to the Stanley Cup. The Canadiens’ Al MacNeil did it in 1971. Truly a City of Champions, Pittsburgh, if not the City of Champions given the championship legacies of the Pirates, Steelers and Penguins. The latter two have won championships in 2009. The Pirates are not likely to win a championship this year, but it’s not a bad year by any means with two major sports championships. Furthermore, the Penguins are 5 and 0 in Game 7 road games, stepping up to the moment.
A little less well known is how winning a year the city of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia is having. More specifically, it’s Cole Harbour, and it’s this week that has been monumentous! Just four days ago, New Democratic Party leader, Darrell Dexter, won a decisive victory in the provincial elections, forming the first NDP government in Nova Scotia and east of Ontario. Now it backs it up with local phenom Sidney Crosby and the Stanley Cup. Sid the Kid was sidelined with an injury to the side of his knee at 5:30 of the second period and played only one shift in the final period, but was on the bench to support his teammates in the third period.
“I don’t recommend anyone watching the Stanley Cup final from the bench, it’s a tough situation,” Sidney joked when interviewed after the game. He is the youngest captain ever to hoist the Stanley Cup.
Hey, I just saw Gatorade play rather plain “G” commercial with voice over to Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup Champion. There weren’t all those stars in the usual commercial, but you can bet there’ll be a real one with Sidney in it coming soon!
Evgeni Malkin was named the Conn Smythe trophy winner as most valuable player in the playoffs. He led the playoffs with 36 points, as well as the regular season scoring to become just the fifth player to accomplish the double. Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky 4X, Guy Lafleur 2X and Phil Esposito 2X were the others. However, it was Maxime Talbot who scored both of Pittsburgh’s goals tonight in the second period, at 1:17 and 10:09. Rookie Jonathan Ericsson replied for Detroit with 6:07 left in the third period. Pittsburgh, who trailed 2 games to 0 out the gates, came back to win 4 of the next 5 games, including the only road win of this series tonight to win the Cup. They truly earned it as that feat was not easy to do against a tough team like the Red Wings.
In other story lines, Marian Hossa of the Red Wings had a potential dream of vengeance turned into the ultimate nightmare. Always plagued as not being a playoff performer, he was with Pittsburgh last year when they lost in six the finals (thanks to Brian J. for the correction), losing to Detroit on home ice. During the off season, Marian walked away from a reported 5 year, $7 million annual offer by Pittsburgh, and a rumoured $9 million a year multi-year deal with the Edmonton Oilers. He went for a one year deal in Detroit worth $7.45 million, presumably because he thought the Red Wings had the best chance of winning the Stanley Cup. Hossa could have hoisted the Stanley Cup in the Pittsburgh fans’ face in Game 6, to prove he was right, had he stepped up to help them win. However, he ended up losing on home ice again, in a worse situation being Game 7, to the team he ditched. Turns out, he was right to have walked away from the Penguins. That is a bunch of winners who know how to step up when the pressure is on, and Hossa clearly doesn’t. He turned his back on people like Mario Lemieux in ownership who were willing to believe in him after so many others didn’t. He jumped on the easy bandwagon of the reigning Stanley Cup champions and arguably, took them down without contributing his fair share once more. Talk about knowing how to make your own loser legacy! Serves him right!
On the other extreme of the legacy spectrum is Penguins part-owner, past multiple Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe trophy winners, Hall of Famer, Mario Lemieux. Mario has won a lot of other accolades in the past, showing he could win in pretty much anything to do with hockey. He proved so now as a winning part owner. Mario also took Sidney into his home when Sidney first entered the NHL with the Penguins, when Sid was more truly the “Kid”, to show him “the way”. And look how the Kid turned out! It was great to see Mario hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head again!
Congratulations Pittsburgh, Sidney, Mario and all those associated with the club, from the pros to their families. They’ve all worked hard for it, took risks and so on, and got what they deserved!
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.7