My inner-self has gotten the best of me.
Chris Miller, the fan, can't be held back any longer. I love these Pittsburgh Penguins.
Yeah, that's right. And I'm still going to love them to death even if they lose to the Detroit Red Wings again.
I hope it doesn't happen.
I hope the next two games go the way they need to in order for the Penguins to win the cup.
How easy is it going to be?
Well, not easy. Following up the embarrassment of being shut out is one thing, but winning in Detroit?
That's been an issue for Pittsburgh who are down 3-2 after a 5-0 loss in Detroit.
The Joe owns Marc-Andre Fleury right now.
We'll see what happens on Tuesday night, where the difference will have to be "Burghability."
But if it doesn't turn out the way Pittsburgh wants it to, either in Game Six or Game Seven, I'll still be proud of this group of Penguins.
1. How the hell did Pittsburgh even get here?
Remember back in February? When the team stunk? When winning games came only after Michel Therrien gave permission to do so?
This team was on the fast-track to failure, a disappointing performance that led people to believe the dumb myth that Stanley Cup runner-ups couldn't follow up the next year.
Insert the brilliance of GM Ray Shero.
Insert Disco Dan. Give up nothing for Bill Gueren. Trade away depth at the blue line by waving goodbye to Ryan Whitney and bringing in offensive talent not only for the present in Chris Kunitz, but also for the future in Eric Tangradi.
All systems were go after the trade deadline. The Penguins rolled through the Eastern Conference.
What a turn of events. At one point—go ahead and admit it Pittsburgh fans—you thought all hope was lost.
2. Pittsburgh in the finals? Again?
Every legitimate Penguin fan knew what was on the horizon several years ago when the dreadful lockout ended and Pittsburgh resumed playing at the Mellon Arena.
After several dismal years, and getting extremely lucky in the draft, Pittsburgh had a expansive group of budding talent on their hands.
They haven't disappointed, even though a Stanley Cup has yet to be won.
Does anyone really think Pittsburgh doesn't have a shot at the Stanley Cup Finals every year for the next five years, maybe even longer?
3. Next season is already around the corner
Yeah, it's hard for the players. Only getting a few months of rest before next season fires up. Heck, half the teams in the league already have nearly two months of time off already.
Is there a fan in this world who could care less? Training camp is already just around the corner!
Any Pittsburgh fan knows that the longer they have to enjoy hockey, the less time they'll waste at PNC Park.
4. The second of many to come
I've already explained why Pittsburgh has a legitimate shot at returning to the Stanley Cup Finals for the next five years, and yes, they probably won't make it every year, but who is to doubt them.
They truly have a descent shot every single year, just as Detroit does in the Western Conference?
Will we see rematch after rematch?
No, but both these teams aren't going to miss the playoffs anytime soon.
Pittsburgh will have some work to do in the offseason in order to prepare for another run next year.
If you're a Penguin fan, you already know the long list of free agents that the team must either resign or part ways with.
It's reasonable to assume that Sykora, Gill, and Satan won't be back with the team next year.
Garon probably wants more playing time than he'll get behind Fleury, so it'd be hard to expect him back on the roster next year.
Scuderi deserves a raise and should get it if Shero understands his value. The big question is how much does Shero have offer him as he currently rakes in $725,000, and he'll be asking for a bit more this offseason, most would think.
Phillip Boucher comes back only for the right price. Remember Goligoski and Lovejoy are about to become a mainstay on the blueline.
Guerin sold his house in New York and is rumored to be looking to buy in Pittsburgh, hint hint. Fedotenko proved his value in the playoffs this year, and it'd be wise to keep him as well.
Pittsburgh won't have much dough to spend, but they'll use it wisely after wasting their time with Satan this year. With the salary cap ceiling to potentially sag next year, most of the NHL's squads will struggle to form rosters that abide to NHL rules.
Pittsburgh will get the job done.
And, hopefully, they'll get the job done in the Stanley Cup Finals either this week or in the short years that follow.