Wow. Just wow.
What a game! I could not have asked for a better game 7. Well, maybe an overtime or two, but otherwise, this one was perfect. Play was fast and gritty, Marc Andre Fleury was top-notch, ex-Duck Chris Kunitz got his second assist of the series, and the unsung hero emerged.
Watching double goal scorer Max Talbot beam as he described his feelings in the post game press conference, I felt that it couldn't have happened to a better guy. You deserve it, dude. Live the moment, it's yours.
I watched the Pens score twice against a Red Wing team that just couldn't get it together. It wasn't until the third period that they started connecting their passes, effectively penetrating the Pens' zone, and actually getting one into the net behind Fleury. The Wings had two periods to show up, but didn't. By the time they did, it was already too late.
Indeed, the better team did win this one.
And as I watched the clock strike triple zero, the Penguins collecting in a huge pile on top of Fleury in the crease, I was misty-eyed and reminiscent of our Ducks doing the exact same thing two years ago.
I wasn't at that game, but I was listening to the radio broadcast at work. As the Ducks were introduced as the 2007 Stanley Cup champions, I remember standing up and pumping my fists in the air. My coworkers thought I was crazy, but it didn't matter. My Ducks made history as the very first team to bring the cup home to the West Coast, before the Sharks, before the Kings.
I watched Evgeni Malkin win the Conn Smythe, and I watched as Bettman handed the cup over to Sid the Kid, youngest captain to ever win Hockey's Holy Grail. I watched Kuni pose in the group picture with the cup on the ice, the same huge smile on his face. Only this time, he's with the wrong team.
I saw the dejected looks on the faces of the losing Red Wing team. How horrible it must feel to lose a game 7 in the finals. I was just beginning to feel sorry for them, until the cameras cut to Marian Hossa, watching his jilted team get the better end as they skated away with the cup. I know it must suck to be Hossa, but I can't help but feel like karma kinda came back and bit him in the ass. You don't just jump teams at the last minute for a cup run that you don't even noticeably contribute to.
Phil Kocher puts the feeling into a picture quite nicely:
I don't know whose roster you're going to end up on for next season, Hossa, but if it happens to be the Duck roster, you'd better contribute to our cup run.
"The biggest thing is just his poise and his hands are unbelievable. I played with [Evgeni] Malkin and [Sidney] Crosby, and those guys are probably the two best in the league. Bobby's hands are right with those guys... He's a superstar in the making, it seems."
---Ryan Whitney, former Ducks defenseman
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Wow. Just wow.