Friday, June 12, 2009

Penguins edge Wings, win Stanley Cup

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Maxime Talbot scored twice in the second period and Marc-Andre Fleury made two saves in the final moments Friday night, leading the Pittsburgh Penguins to the 2009 Stanley Cup championship with a 2-1 victory in game 7 over the defending champion Detroit Red Wings.

After a scoreless first, Talbot scored 73 seconds into the second period on a shot between the pads of Detroit goaltender Chris Osgood, then again on a wrister from the left circle that went in just under the cross bar at 10:07, putting Pittsburgh up 2-0 through 40 minutes. The Red Wings halved the deficit on a deflection goal with 6:07 remaining in regulation, then nearly tied the score when a shot from Niklas Kronwall bounced off the crossbar with 2:14 left. Then, with Osgood off the ice for an extra attacker, Fleury stopped a screen shot with less than five seconds remaining, then made a sprawling save on the rebound with one second left to preserve the victory.

Both goaltenders were solid. Fluery made 23 saves for the Penguins, Osgood had 16 for Detroit. Pittsburgh was 0-for-1 on the power play, while the Red Wings were 0-for-2.

Cup Notes:
Evengi Malkin, who amassed 36 points in the post season, won the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP. The Penguins became the first team to win the Cup after losing in the previous year's finals since Edmonton beat the Islanders 25 years ago, which was also the last rematch of the previous years' finalists. They are also the first team since the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning to win the Cup after trailing 3-2 in the finals and were also the first road team since 1971's Montreal Canadiens(vs Chicago) to win game 7 on the road. Dan Bylsma also became the second coach in league history to win the Cup as a mid-season replacement and is the 14th rookie coach to guide his team to the title.


It took me awhile to figure out why the fans were booing after the game. I don't agree with it(the booing, that is), but apparently, they don't much care for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Why do you think MLB commissioner Bud Selig doesn't present the trophy at the end of the World Series on the field? It may well be a toss-up who sports fans dislike more: Bettman, Selig, or NBA commissioner David Stern.

For those who don't know, I spent 20 years refereeing hockey(I've also umpired baseball for 37 years). I normally don't say stuff like this, because I know how tough of a job officiating is. But I think the NHL should be embarrassed by the way the 2009 playoffs(not just the finals) was officiated. WAY too much testosterone-laced manhood after the whistle, and WAY too much stuff that was a penalty at the start of the season, all of a sudden wasn't a penalty in the playoffs.

In no way did officiating cost Detroit the cup. I'm not saying that at all. You know, the play Sidney Crosby got hurt on in game 7(it limited him to just one shift after about the six-minute mark of the second period) had a lot of people calling for a penalty against Crosby. I actually have no problem with there not being a penalty called on that play, because I don't think he impeded his opponent's progress. But, on the breakaway near the end of game six, how does a guy get away with swinging his stick at a player on a breakaway, hitting him on the shoulder? Some say that should have been called a penalty shot. I'm not so sure about that, but it most certainly was a penalty. It was just frustrating to watch and I was getting real tired of it. In that respect, I'm glad the season is over.

Make no mistake about it. Pittsburgh is a fine team and deserve to be called champions. The finals were, for the most part, pretty exciting. Now, when I can forget about the officiating(and the fact my team lost), then I can start getting excited for next season.


Anonymous said...

At least the wings didnt win, thats something we all can and do agree on ;)


Portland, Ore.

John Meissner said...

Well now, let me get back to you on that after the mourning period is over.


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