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Penguins-Red Wings: Destined for a Stanley Cup Rematch

Sixty Feet, Six Inches Correspondent IMay 29, 2009

RALEIGH, NC - MAY 26:  Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates against the Carolina Hurricanes during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at RBC Center on May 26, 2009 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Pittsburgh won the game 4-1 to complete a four game sweep.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been involved in a number of big stories this season.

First, there was their long, slow start to the season that had talking heads asking questions like "what's wrong with Sidney Crosby?" and "how did this team make it to the Stanley Cup Finals last year?"

Then there was the firing of Michel Therrien, who was replaced with Dan Bylsma as the interim coach. This was seen as a mistake by everyone outside of Pittsburgh.

Then came the turnaround that saw Bylsma drop the interim tag, the Penguins make the playoffs again, and the same talking heads saying things like "these are the Pittsburgh Penguins we're used to seeing," finally noticing Evgeni Malkin's superb play.

The entire Stanley Cup Playoffs were all about the Penguins—first they drew a matchup with their hated (by everyone, not just Penguins fans) rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. Then there was the Pens vs. Caps series, which had the same drama surrounding it that a matchup between Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin always has.

Before the puck even dropped against the Hurricanes, sports writers were already pencilling in a Penguins vs. Red Wings Stanley Cup Final, a rematch of last year's final, which saw the Penguins exit in six games. The series was never really that close.

On Wednesday, May 27, the Detroit Red Wings made that vision a reality by sending home the Chicago Blackhawks. The Penguins had already sealed their place in the finals by sweeping the Hurricanes. Plus one for the sports writers.

Since the Penguins clinched their place in the final, it's been all about them, especially Crosby and Malkin, the dynamic duo that reminds everyone of Wayne Gretzky and Charles Messier. This is the beginning of a new dynasty. Did you see the Penguins touch the Prince of Wales trophy?

It's been the best story of the year for anyone that covers NHL news. A story that can hearken back—and with actual, notable parallels—to the beginning of the most famous dynasty in NHL history.

But wait just a minute.

What about the Red Wings?

Indeed, the team that was thought by just about everyone to be the best in hockey—not to mention the defending Stanley Cup Champs—hasn't seen much in the way of headlines this year. All they've done is play effectively. The only time they made news was when they played poorly down the stretch, and as it turned out, that didn't matter so much.

Yet this is the same team that beat the Penguins last year, with one notable exception: they've added Marian Hossa, one of Pittsburgh's key players from last year. In all the talk about the Penguins becoming the new Edmonton Oilers, everyone has seemingly forgotten about the Red Wings. The only time they're mentioned these days is as the equivalent to New York Islanders.

I think the Pens will take this series, but then again, I'm a Pens fan. I don't know how much of it is my fandom versus how much of it is my actual feeling that they can take four from the best team in hockey. This is going to be an interesting series, folks.

I predict the Pens take the series in 6.


Sixty Feet, Six Inches is an Indianapolis based sports blog covering a wide range of sports. If you like what you read here, check out our home page for more. Sixty Feet, Six Inches

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