EDITORIAL Another Cup of cheer for Penguins

  • EDITORIAL Another Cup of cheer for Penguins

EDITORIAL Another Cup of cheer for Penguins

"We have a lot of dynamic forwards that make a lot of great plays through the course of games that a lot of times on a lot of nights become the story line, but this team doesn't have success if that group of defensemen doesn't play the way that they've played throughout the course of this playoffs".

That means late Detroit Red Wings legend Gordie Howe will no longer have his name on the Stanley Cup. "There was no more hard path to win the Cup than what Pittsburgh went through".

Even Gretzky never won back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies as playoff MVP nor did he capture a Cup past the age of 27, while Crosby won his last two at 28 and 29. He saved his best performances for when it mattered the most, recording back-to-back shutouts in Games 5 and 6 to win the Cup. Only one other player, beyond Crosby and Lemieux, has won back-to-back Smythes since the award was first given out in 1965. Murray is way too valuable to expose to the draft. After returning from injury to play in the conference finals, Murray was virtually unbeatable.

Rookie Jake Guentzel (NHL rookie playoff record-tying 21 points), Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson all found themselves playing vital roles alongside Pittsburgh's cornerstones at some point during the postseason. Out-of-nowhere rookie star Jake Guentzel now occupies the stall directly to Crosby's left.

So Lemieux pushed for the cap during the NHL's lost winter, well aware the ripple effects would include a rise in league parity at the potential expense of the dynasties that have been a part of the league since it started awarding the Stanley Cup almost a century ago.

The Penguins won the final series, four games to two.

After his season ended in April because of neck surgery, Letang said he believed in the Penguins ability to overcome his absence primarily because of Crosby and his determination.

If it wasn't enough that the Penguins had the best player in the world, they have another who some might consider to be the second-best.

With what Crosby has been able to accomplish in his first 12 National Hockey League seasons, there is little doubt that No. 87 belongs in the first group of all-time great players, alongside Gretzky and Bobby Orr.

The players echo his message, whether it's Just Play or Play the Right Way, in the way they talk.

He is not only the best hockey player on the planet; he has proved yet again he is also the toughest. The Crosby-Malkin era had held such promise, but each star was aging out of his prime.

Oh, well. He'll just have to wait until the first round of next year's postseason to add that entry to his already ridiculous resume.

All that panic feels like a dream now.

They now have three championships each and the tendency on the day after the Stanley Cup is presented is to bring in the word dynasty, define what is in these new financially-complicated times, and try and figure just how set up the championship team is to win more crowns.

What they don't have is Crosby and Malkin. "But a lot of them did, and they all played well and helped Pittsburgh win". He averaged 1.89 points per game to Crosby's 1.31 in the regular season and 1.61 in the playoffs (Crosby, 1.13).