That Was Last Year...

Today is another day in the annuls of Stanley Cup history. The Pens find themselves in the exact same position as last year against Detroit, down 2-1. Every single reporting outlet has something to say about the similarities and differences. I remember last year like it was literally yesterday. June 2nd Talbot scored that last minute goal in to send the Pens to OT only to have Sykora (?) bury an OT winner. Though that was game 5, not game 4. Last year on the May 31st the Red Wings upset the Pens in Mellon Arena taking game 4 and being up 3-1.

But that was last year.

Sure the Pens had what may be perceived as a better offense, but they lacked confidence. As someone has said, the young guns in Pittsburgh lay ahead of their time. With amassing themselves several franchise players in the draft in the early part of this decade, the Pens were not expected to hit full stride until sometime next decade. But that's not the case. This is their second year in the Cup Finals. Their core is in placed and locked up. Sure their team may have seemed stronger last year. But in my opinion, they weren't ready. They didn't have what it took. In my mind there really wasn't a game I felt confident in. Of the two games they won last year none of them were dominant in any sense. They were hard fought down to the wire games.

But that was last year.

You take a team with Crosby, Malkin, Hossa, Malone, and Sykora and you have a winning combination. Last years team nearly breezed through the first three rounds like they were playing AHL teams. They went 12-2 in their first 15 playoff games. But still critics thought the East still had something to prove against the powerhouses in the West.

But that was last year.
..This, is this year.

The Pens didn't go 12-3 12-2 (typo, thanks Jamison) in their first three rounds. They went 12-5 and faced a determined Capitals team in the second round that offered probably the greatest challenge to the Pens all year. They stepped up to that challenge dominating a game 7 in Washington to silence the crowd in Red (hmm, Red?). Okay, so they did in fact breeze past Carolina sweeping their way into the Cup finals. I was at game 4 in Carolina...whoa. But none of the Pens will tell you that it was a breeze. They felt it was as gut wrenching and hard fought as the 7 in the previous round.

Since the Pens find themselves with a chance today to even the score rather than going down 3-1 to face elimination at Detroit, again, they will be up for the challenge. They know what it feels like to lose game 4 at home and have to pull everything out of you to win on the road by pulling your goalie in desperation with less than a minute to go. They know.

They know how depressing and degrading it is to lose on home ice. They know that if they win tonight not only does it further solidifies some hope in all the players but practically gives them the advantage. When you have the ability to carry over momentum from winning two games in a row with the "probability" of winning two more to win the Cup, well, that they don't know. But that's where they want to be.

This team is better equipped. This team has Stanley Cup winners on it. But more importantly, this team has Stanley Cup losers on it. They want the Cup. Two of the brightest stars in the game want to lift that 35 pound hunk of silver and nickle in the air in total euphoria. They want to pass it along to their peers that have worked so hard to help them achieve what no other team in the league was able to this year.

They want to bring the Cup back to Pittsburgh. They want it, we want it.


Jess L said...

We want it more!

jdm said...

The Pens went 12-2 last year in the first 3 rounds...

Just sayin...

Good post though, I don't think we'll allow ourselves to take the same hard road twice.

Let's do this! LET'S GO PENS!!!

Cory McIntyre said...

Is it time for the game yet? Sheesh. 8 o'clock can't get here fast enough today.

Post a Comment

Facebook Twitter Delicious Digg Favorites More Stumbleupon