Joe Louis Arena
Series Tied 0-0
June 4th, 2008
For the last 360 days, this is all you've thought about.
Last year you watched the Red Wings raise the Stanley Cup in the Mellon Arena.
The only Stanley Cup ever presented in Pittsburgh was given to Detroit.
A lot has changed since then.
Ryan Malone, Gary Roberts, Adam Hall, Ty Conklin, Marian Hossa, Georges Laraque, Jarko Ruutu, Darryl Sydor and Ryan Whitney are no longer with the Penguins.
In their place stand Chris Kunitz, Craig Adams, Miroslav Satan, Ruslan Fedotenko, Mathieu Garon, Eric Godard, Matt Cooke, Bill Guerin and Philippe Boucher.
But the pain of losing is still with this team.
Ask Sidney Crosby or Marc-Andre Fleury or Max Talbot what it felt like last year.
We thought this email from an old friend summed up what we're all feeling:
My wife and I were travelling back from the Northeast to Ohio for a friend's wedding this past weekend, and we left on Friday morning, the day after the Pens Game 2 victory.As we moved through airports, I wore my hat and backpack, each appropriately adorned with large Pens logos, felt a little taller, and walked with a little more pride and confidence that the Boys were playing well. When we reached our connecting flight at Washington-Dulles, my wife and I noticed several people wearing Penguins stuff. Passing each Pens fan that we saw, I tipped my hat to each of them and nodded; each fan would nod back just the same.It felt like we all knew the same thing: the Boys are on a roll, but it's too early to get excited.There's more work to be done
Bring the noise.
Stop and think for a moment about how you felt after game six last year.
And then think about the guys on the ice that had to watch the Detroit Red Wings parade the Stanley Cup around their home ice.
Think about how much that sucked.
And then about how those same players will do anything within their power to prevent that from happening again.
While you're at it, think about Tomas Holmstrom standing in front of Fleury's net.
Think about Niklas Kronwall leaving his feet to deliver a hit.
Think about Chris Osgood falling down like he was shot everytime a Penguin brushes his pads.
The media can make this about Marian Hossa all it wants, but it ultimately comes down to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings.
We [wrote this]on June 5th, 2008:
“But having to see shots of the Wings holding the Cup on Mellon ice during Versus' broadcasts next season as the Pens steam towards the Finals again is not something we're looking forward to.
It will haunt us. It will taunt us.
But so be it.
It will serve as a reminder of what was and what could have been. ”
Will winning this year make up for last year?
Of course it won't.
Of course it won't.
There would have been something special about seeing Ryan Malone or Gary Robert hoisting the Stanley Cup in black and gold.
But this series will be something special as well.
This series is for everyone that told us our Cup hopes were over when we failed to re-sign Adam Hall or Jarko Ruutu or Georges Laraque.
This series is for everyone that told us that Ray Shero was destroying the Penguins.
This series is for everyone that said we'd never amount to anything without Marian Hossa.
If you've been on the Internet in the last few days you've definitely read "experts" who are already counting the Penguins out.
They were the same ones that spouted off about the runner-up curse.
They were the same people who laughed and remarked about how weak we had become during the offseason.
They were the same people that spent weeks talking about how we'd never make the playoffs.
They picked the Flyers and the Capitals and the Hurricanes as victors.
Each and every one of them was wrong.
After everything we've been through, we're back.
You have to figure that the last team the Detroit Red Wings wanted to play in the Stanley Cup Finals was the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They wanted to face a young and inexperienced Washington or Philadelphia team.
They hoped they would face off against the Bruins or the Devils.
But instead they get us.
From the amount of complaining Mike Babcock is already doing, you can be sure that they didn't want to face us.
But they'll have to.
The road to the Stanley Cup will once again go through Pittsburgh.
Except this time, the trophy will stay here.
To win this series the Pittsburgh Penguins will have to move Holmstrom away from the front of the net.
They will have to send Hal Gill after him and have him stay on him for the entire round.
They will have to play a physical, aggressive game that will tire the Red Wings out.
Detroit is injured.
Hard work and fast skating can beat them.
They will have to score on the power play.
If the Red Wings have a weakness it is their penalty killing.
The Penguins will have to exploit that.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin will need to score.
The Penguins will need to go to the Detroit net and establish a presence.
They will need to battle for every inch of ice.
Is it going to be easy?
Of course it isn't.
Winning the Stanley Cup is never easy.
But it is possible.
"We know what to expect. This year we know our opponent. We've seen them last year, we've seen them a couple of times this year. Last year that wasn't really the case. There shouldn't be any anticipation, really. We know what to do. We've got to go out there and do it."
-- Sidney Crosby
[There is a wallpaper ver of this, we'll have it later.]
:: Pavel Datsyuk will not play tonight.
Jonathan Ericsson and Nicklas Lidstrom will.
:: No Pens news. Good.
If there is one song that symbolizes everything we've gone through:
It is staying alive.
Because that is what we have done.