The Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins hadn't even gathered for the above photo at Joe Louis Arena when different members of the media began talking of a Penguin's dynasty. The comparisons to the Edmonton Oilers that won 4 Stanley Cups in the eighty's can't be avoided. After all the Penguins are the first team since those same Oilers to go back and win the Cup after losing in the final series the year before. And yes, they do have Sidney Crosby and Evgini Malkin two all-stars that may be the current equivalent of Wayne Gretzky and Mark Messier that led the Oilers to those Cup wins.
These Pens have some quality role players that will be back next year as well. The whole world now knows Max Talbot, who scored the Penguins two goals in the game seven victory. Although earlier in the year Max was grinding it out on a third or fourth line. On defense, Fleury is signed to a long term contract and defensive centerman Jordan Staal and hard checking Brooks Orpik are signed to multi-year deals. So why not go back and win two or three more Cups? The next hockey dynasty must be in Pittsburgh, right?
No. Its just not that easy. I think in all the excitement of the moment after the win people's endorphins just get the best of them. They are so excited they want more of the fun. With the talent on this Pittsburgh team it must be hard to resist talking about a repeat. Don't get me wrong this team is going to probably score more goals next year, and be a very competitive team that will finish in the top three of the Eastern Conference. But making the playoffs is so far from winning the Cup.
The playoffs are the start of a whole new season in which anything can happen. The games are generally a lot more physical and don't resemble the ones played in the regular season. Talent can be neutralized at times by teams that hustle on defense and play the body hard. Goals can be hard to come by even by players that score forty in the regular season. Ask Marian Hossa.
On top of that you have injuries and a salary cap to deal with. Malkin's new contract will start next year so that is the equivalent of two forwards that the Penguins won't resign. Also, don't forget the other teams are getting better too. Look how far the Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils came this year. Oh, there is this other guy that is pretty good leading the Washington Capitals in scoring. His name is Alexander Ovechkin.
Many more great NHL teams have had super seasons and not won the cup than have won it. Only one team a year gets that honor. Many of the players that were on the 92-93 Penguins team after winning the Cup the two previous years say the 92-93 team was better than the first two that won cups. And that "better" team got eliminated by the New York Islanders.
So as I sit typing this in my Western PA home, a happy fan whose teams have won the Lombardi Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same year, lets just enjoy what these teams have done this year. And when the next NHL season comes around lets be thankful that the Penguins are going to be in a position to be very competitive and fun to watch. Even if they don't win the Cup it is bound to be a very entertaining season.
To keep it in perspective I just glanced at the television, guess what the Pirates are doing?
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