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Seven Heaven 06/12/2009

Posted by sportretort in nhl, Sports, Uncategorized.
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Now, THAT is why we love sports!

Is there anything better than game 7 of a Stanley Cup final?   Football may have the Superbowl.  Baseball can have a game 7 of the World Series.  There can be a game 7 of what the NBA brazenly calls The Finals.  They all pale compared to the ultimate Hockey celebration of sports!

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby skates with the Stanley Cup ar the conclusion of game 7

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby skates with the Stanley Cup ar the conclusion of game 7

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings played a masterpiece at the Joe in Detroit.  There were bodies flying all over the ice.  The crowd was so electric that you could not even hear the commentators on tv for long stretches of the third period (and  that ain’t all bad!).  With the game standing at 2-0 for the Penguins heading into that final 3rd period, the Red Wings came alive.  They scored with  just over 6 minutes left to set up the wild finish.  With the Red Wings goalie Chris Osgood on the bench in favor of a 6th attacker,  the Wings watched as Penguin goalie Marc Andre Fleury made two bang-bang saves as the clock expired, the last one sliding to his left and lunging at a shot by Nick Lidstrum, making the game saving stop to seal the improbable victory.  

 Most of the hockey world anointed the the Wings as prohibative favorites before the series began.  And almost

Malkin wins the Conn Smythe Trophy

Malkin wins the Conn Smythe Trophy

everyone else joined the band wagon ad they won the first 2 gamed in Detroit.  But the first 6 games each went to the home team, bringing the 3-3 deadlock into game 7.  Surely the Wings would win game 7 at home.  The last 6 times the Cup finals went to a game 7, the home team won.  Someone forgot to tell the Penguins, however.  And the Pens fought from the first puck drop, survived an injury early in the 2nd period to their captain Sidney Crosby, and rode 2 second period goals by Maxime Talbot to the promised land.  Sid the Kid returned for a shift or two in the third period and became the youngest team captain to hoist the cup as champion.  Evgeni Malkin won the Conn Smythe Trophy, emblematic of the playoff MVP, for the Pens.

The only dark spot on the evening came, ironically enough, during the best tradition in playoff hockey. 

The Penguins with the Cup

The Penguins with the Cup

 The two teams line up at the conclusion of the series and shake hands.  This ultimate sign of sportsmanship was greeted by a loud chorus of boos from many in the Detroit crowd.  Last year, the Red Wings won the cup in 6 games, also playing the Pens in the finals.  They clinched in Pittsburgh, but the fans there did not boo the Wings.  Fortunately, as Crosby hoisted the cup given to him by NHL commissioner Gary Betman, the Detroit crowd redeemed themselves and cheered the champions.

NOTHING measures up to a game 7  Stanley Cup Final!!

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