Monday, June 15, 2009

Stanley Cup Champions!

Friday night the 2008-2009 NHL season came to a close with an exciting game 7 between the defending champion Detroit Red Wings and the team they beat last year for the cup, the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a great series and the finial period of the finial game was awesome! It was a tough game with some great plays and hits and this year the Penguins came out on top 2-1. Even with their star center, Sydney Crosby getting hurt in the 2nd period. The Penguins came back from being two down 2-0 in the series to push it to a game 7. In the past, 32 teams have jumped out to a 2-0 record and 31 of those teams have gone on to win the cup. So the odds were not in the Penguins favor. But I think that only fueled the Pens fire even more and the fact that this year, they had a chance to lift the cup on Detroit’s home ice, like the way Detroit did last year in the Steel City.

There were a lot of compelling story lines in the series this year but none as compelling as Maria Hossa’s. For those of you who don’t know his story, here it is in a nutshell. Hossa ended up with the Atlanta Thrashers a couple of years ago in the Danny Heatly trade with Ottawa. He was not happy with the trade and never seemed happy playing in Atlanta. So with his contract coming up at the end of last year, Atlanta traded Hossa to Pittsburgh. He was happy he was going to have a chance to play for the cup and he did only to lose to Detroit in the finials last year. Since he was a free agent after the season he could sign anywhere that wanted him. Pittsburgh made him a multi year offer for big money, but he turned it down to sign a 1-year deal for less money to play for Detroit. The deal was for seven-years & $49 million with the Penguins but he instead opted for a one-year, $7.45 million contract. I actually admire that because he went against the norm and wanted to play to win not for the highest salary. But that was a slap in the face to the Penguins organ-I-zation. Also, to my knowledge, he is the first player to play in two consecutive cup finials with the same two teams and lose twice because he switched teams.

This is what Mr. Hossa had to say about his decision: "I don't regret it. It could be different circumstances if I signed with Pittsburgh. They probably would've signed some other players and been a different team. We could sit here for hours discussing this. It could've been a different team, so I don't regret it."
Here is Hossa on the ice again as the visiting team wins the cup!

It was a long season, but as usual it ended with a lot of excitement and some good hockey being played. Now the Lord Stanley’s Cup will go around the world and visit each member of the Penguins hometown before it comes back in the fall for the start of the next season. Maybe, just maybe, the Thrashers will be relevant again next year!

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