I love hockey. Seeing a game live is incredible. I love the playoff beards, the hats on the ice after a hat trick, and the octopus in Detroit. I like how every so often a team will make it to the Stanley Cup Finals that shocks everyone. That is the best feeling—to root for a team that was not supposed to be there so when they lose to the Red Wings, you can still say that it was a great season.
The worst feeling in the world, on the other hand, is getting close to the ultimate but losing before you even get there. The next worst feeling is getting to the championship round and losing. It hurts to lose out in the main event, but you can always take solace that you made it that far.
Of course, if you get to the show too many times and lose then you get stuck with some pretty heavy monkeys on your back.
I don't think anyone really cares that the Buffalo Bills won the AFC four straight years, since they only remember that they lost the Super Bowl after each of their AFC titles. The Atlanta Braves lost so many times in the post season that no one really seems to remember that they did win one in the '90s.
I remember it well, it was against the Cleveland Indians in the politically incorrect World Series of 1995.
The Penguins also have the problem of facing the same team two years in a row. The Bills played the Cowboys twice in a row with the same result. The Utah Jazz lost to the Chicago Bulls two times in a row.
So there it is, the Penguins, through their great play in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, are now faced with a win or be compared to dilemma. If they beat the Red Wings in the 2009 Stanley Cup, then all will be well as the Penguins will get their first title since 1992 when Super Mario was their stud player.
If they lose then things get murky for them. They will be a contender in the East for some years with their talent and youth. They might keep making it to the Stanley Cup Finals, and they might get closer and closer to becoming the Bills and the Braves.
If they lose to Detroit this year, then the first team they will be compared to are the Utah Jazz—a team that was championship material, but had to face the great Michael Jordan two years in a row.
Through a quirky schedule for this year's Stanley Cup, the youth of the Penguins is an advantage. They did lose Game One in Detroit, and Game Two is already being played, which is odd not to have a one day layoff between the two, but the NHL will take it as to not have their main event on Versus.
That raises another question:
If no one saw the NHL playoffs, did they really ever happen?
I really am worried about the Pittsburgh Penguins as they try to win the Stanley Cup versus Detroit this year. I am worried that they will lose again and slowly become compared to some of the other great sports teams that fell short on their sports biggest stage.
Over and over again.
Pittsburgh is up 1-0 at the end of the first period, which will only make a loss that much more bitter for Penguin fans.