By William R. Eller
In your lifetime certain moments will live deep in your heart and soul. For many its graduation, your wedding, or the birth of your kids. In sports these defining moments are the start of your professional career or when you break team or league records. Perhaps the most important moment is when you try to win a championship.
Pittsburgh may be the center of championship moments; the rich history of the Steelers, the Penguins, and even the Pirates has given us chills over and over again. The Steelers have the Immaculate Reception Lynn Swan’s leaping catch versus Dallas, and now Santonio Holmes toe drag this past super bowl. The Pirates have Bill Maszeroski’s game winning homerun versus the Yankees. The Penguins have their moments as well: Mario’s goal against the Blackhawks and Frank Pietrangelo’s save in 1991 are two of my favorites.
This season we come down to game seven versus the Red Wings and my nerves are already shot in anticipation. Every bounce of the puck, every save, every shot will be followed by gasps of air. During this game, cameras will be snapping picture after picture in an attempt to catch the one moment that will define this historical game. My hope is that Crosby and Malkin will have their career defining victorious moment and not the disastrous moment that I fear most.
Briefly talking about this very topic on yesterday was head coach Dan Bylsma. He was in a game seven of the Stanley Cup finals in 2003 against the New Jersey Devils. Sad for him the game ended 1-0 in favor of the Devils. Bylsma was asked if he remembered if he had a chance in the game to score or block a shot during the game, something of a game changing moment. His response made me take a step back and think how honest and upfront Dan is with the media as I'm sure he is when talking to his pupils. His chance (shown above) absolutely changed his life, he could have been a hero, but ended up being forgotten in Stanley Cup history.
This isn’t the picture I want to see a Penguin in tomorrow night, but if one man can give his players the perspective on how to not be in this picture it’s Bylsma.