Pittsburgh Penguins: The View from the Top
No one even knows how long it's been since they witnessed the Pittsburgh Penguins hoisting their first Stanley Cup in 17 years.
Not that it matters anyway.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are World Champions, and until the puck drops for the opening game of the 2009-10 season, that isn't going to change.
Even after a new (or the same) champion is crowned next June, 2009 will go down in history as the year of the Penguin.
The Cup has made its way back to Pittsburgh.
It has taken its dip in Mario Lemieux's pool.
It made its way to Las Vegas for the 2009 NHL Awards Show, where it was chauffeured down the aisle by Evgeni Malkin, Max Talbot, and head coach Dan Bylsma.
It sat idly by while the awards were handed out to the top performers of the 2009 season.
It watched Evgeni Malkin get the snub for the Lester B. Pearson and Hart Memorial trophies.
It also felt a little tingle in its' right side where Geno's name had recently been engraved.
It looked on at the crowd, full of players, coaches, and owners alike.
It saw Brian Burke scouting the room, contemplating how he can make the Toronto Maple Leafs even more irrelevant during the upcoming off-season.
It saw Nicklas Lidstrom, who actually was in the house, despite the general consensus.
When it was time to award the Norris Trophy, Lord Stanley's Mug once again scanned the room for Lidstrom, but he was nowhere to be found.
Rumor has it that he was in the lobby, waiting to shake Sidney Crosby's hand upon his arrival to the show.
Sid never showed.
Zdeno Chara did. Whooooooooooooooo.
The Stanley Cup looked on as Geno accepted the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL's leading scorer during the regular season.
It wondered if there was even room on Geno's mantle for the Art Ross, seeing as how the Conn Smythe had been there for a week already.
The offseason can be one of the most grueling times for any hockey fan.
Trade rumors, pending retirements, free agency, and contract extensions are fun to read about for a month or so.
The 2009-10 Pittsburgh Penguins may very well look a lot different than the 2008-09 Pens did.
Guys like Pascal Dupuis, Petr Sykora, Miroslav Satan, Mathieu Garon, Chris Kunitz, Bill Guerin, Rob Scuderi, and Hal Gill might be donning another team's colors come September.
Jeff Taffe might once again be centering the Pens' fourth line heading into training camp.
As the beginning of free agency rapidly approaches, the mystique of the reigning Stanley Cup Champions is already beginning to wear off in every city not named Pittsburgh.
The tears flowing out of Detroit will eventually come together to form another Great Lake.
But we've already been down that road.
So, as we approach the offseason, complete with pending free agency and trade talks, it is important to remember to not forget.
Cherish these moments at the top, because as we all know, you might not be here for another two decades.
Let's Go Pens.
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