Yes, signing Ray Emery to a one year, $1.5 million deal with the Flyers early this off-season will likely turn out to be either the best or worst thing for the 2009-2010 season. Just like the last two seasons, we have one obstactle standing between being good and true greatness: our Penn State rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
But we are not here to talk about the Flyers today...
You can say what you want about Sidney Crosby: he's a diver, he's a cry baby, he can barely grow a stache, he's too little for this league, etc. He has a Stanley Cup Ring now folks and is the youngest Captain in league history to achieve this milestone.
It is hard to believe that the Pens franchise almost folded back in 1999. But thanks to Mario Lemieux, Pittsburgh was able to once again hoist Lord Stanley's mug as NHL champions. As it stands, Lemieux is the only person to win the Stanley Cup as both a player and an owner.
Another 10-20 years of playing hockey and Chris Chelios himself may be able to put a down payment on a franchise himself?
Lemieux led Pittsburgh to two rings, led Canada to an Olympic Gold and two World Championships. He has won three Hart's as the NHL's Most Valuable Player during the season, six Art Ross Trophies as the league's leading scorer, not to mention two Conn Smythes as the Playoff MVP.
At the time of his retirement, he was the NHL's seventh-ranked all-time scorer with 690 goals and 1,033 assists.
08/07/87: the birthday of "The Next One," Sidney Patrick Crosby.
During the 2005 Memorial Cup hosted in London, Ontario, Canada, I got to meet Sidney Crosby and the members of the Rimouski Oceanic Hockey Team. Just a little kid as he appeared to be, but with the heart of a roided up monkey. All he needed was a touch of class and the world would be his oyster.
L'Oceanic lost to the London Knights, under Captain Corey Perry, who is also amongst the leagues top young players. Sidney Crosby gained the attention of fans, critics, and scouts, as well as the press. Perry has since won a Stanley Cup ring with the Mighty Ducks and as of two days ago, so has "Sid the Man."
Not so much a boy anymore with cameras on him 24/7 watching, waiting, hoping to get a photo or film clip of this quiet, determined individual. Weather you like it or not, Crosby is now a true champion and has once again been written down in the NHL history books.
He has taken his game and self-driven insight to a new level and is growing up with shades of Mario, his mentor, his boss, his babysitter, and his life long friend. Gretzky was a great hockey player, but Mario Lemiuex was more of an all-round player with a great attitude on and off the ice.
Much respect goes out to the entire Pittsburgh team: Talbot, Malkin, Staal, Fluery, Kunitz, Kennedy, The Sarge, Gill, Feddy, Cookie, and of course, Guerin. The Pens' pure and raw kenetic energy, chemistry, and dominance over the "returning champs" has proven that speed, heart, and determination can sometimes outrank the strongest of armies.
Pittsburgh showed us that sometimes youth can beat the wisest veterans on thier own battlefeild.
Payback is a bitch, and so is Marian Hossa.
Raise it Up, Raise it High!