Was I ever wrong. Quite frankly I was also quite excited to be wrong. The Pittsburgh Penguins looked like they were going to follow the trend of last years Cup finals by doing their best to manage a single win in the best of 7 series. However after a rough start the Pens kicked it in to high gear and are the 2009 Stanley Cup champions after an amazing 7th game in Detroit. The series had everything a championship series should have. All-stars, surprise heroes, momentum switching, come from behind drama, last second nail-bitters, and maybe a dash of controversy.
What I am upset about, however, is if you listen to the sports media you’d assume Sidney Crosby won the Stanley Cup all by himself, and those others guys were just fans with really good seats. Seriously, he didn’t even score in the last 3 games of the Detroit series. Max Talbott, the 4th line wonder scored both the Penguins goals in their 2-1 victory over Detroit in game 7. Malkin won the MVP. Fleury made a last second diving save to keep the Wings from facing overtime. Sure, there’s no denying Crosby is a great player, but lets face it, he had a lot of help. The entire team stepped up when they were needed and the team earned that cup. Likely none of this media obsession is Crosby’s fault, nor do I think he buys in to the hype generated about him. It just shows how team sports have eroded when the media places all their emphasis on a single player. No team in the NHL wins Lord Stanley’s cup merely by having one stand out player on their team. Without all the pieces there is no team. Look at the LA Kings back in the day banking on Gretzky to bring them home the cup. How many cups does LA have? Sadly about as many as my Sabres: zero. One incredibly player can be a game breaker – he can be that edge in a closely fought contest. Everyone needs that go to guy. But if your whole team is built around that one player, no matter what level you play at in hockey, you’re not going to win the big games.
Son congratulations to Evgeni Malkin, Marc-Andre Fleury, Max Talbott, Marian Hossa(oh right, he thought Detroit would win), and a whole host of other Pittsburgh Penguins who I don’t really know. And yes, congratulations to Sidney as well – all of you earned it.