Crazy looking back. So many people had picked this team to win the cup.
"No way anyone's going to beat the Capitals".
I think we all underestimated Penguins. They really had been the best team in the league post all-star break. All it took was for Crosby to find his groove and for Kessel to mesh with the new team I guess.
This team now has Crosby, Malkin and Kessel. Two top players in the world and one of the best goal scorers in the league.
After the way they finished the last few months of the regular season, I doubt anyone was underestimating them. Its not even Crosby really, he did very little in this last series. It's not Malkin either, it's that second line of Kessel, Bonino, Hagelin and the goaltending of Murray. That second line gave them the depth they needed to compliment the stars and Murray is like the anti-Fleury. Murray has every reason in the world to meltdown and does not, while Fleury has a meltdown several times in a playoff season.
Interesting little fact. The Stanley Cup champion in 1976 had a rookie goalie. The Stanley Cup champion in 1986 had a rookie goalie. The Stanley Cup champion in 2006 had a rookie goalie. Now it's 2016 and there's a rookie goalie that's on a huge hot streak. We need to start a rookie goalie in 2026.
Note: Schmeling was married to a czech actress, had a jewish manager and refused the Nazi order to split. They exploited him for their s*** like many other sports- and show stars, but he was never one of them. Just a good guy, he partially paid for Joe Louis funeral too, if I recall correctly.
The goal Hasek gave away to Selanne in OT in Game 5 in the 2007 Conference Final to put the Wings on the ropes going back to Anaheim was another s*** moment. Last second lazy pad stack he just roofed it over. As good as Hasek was, usually when he let in a bad goal, it was REALLY bad.
For me, that ridiculously stupid Niedermeyer shot that deflected up off of Nick's stick in the final seconds hurts a lot worse. I mean....that puck just FLEW up on Hasek.
What made the 2009 loss so bad was the Wings were up 2-0 in the series. 2 damn wins away from another back to back championship. It never should have gone 7, nevermind the Wings being on the losing end. Should have been skate to the throat heading into Game 3, but they gave the Pens life instead. Horrible collapse capped off with the NHL's new golden boy skating the cup around the Joe. s*** still stings.
2009 was the most disappointing of all the losses and the one I remember the most. I wouldn't say it was as embarrassing as those other losses, though.
After Crosby snubbing Lidstrom, my #2 painful memory from that game 7 are two awful plays by Brad Stuart - turnover to a goal, penalty to a goal. We were out coached the entire series with Pitt being more adaptable, but it really was ours to win or lose. Had Stuart not played like a ditz in that game, we might have our second 2 cup streak. You will not convince me - Stuart should have committed seppuku after that one.