Wings win the Stanley Cup
The Detroit Red Wings won the 2008 Stanley Cup. Henrik Zetterberg took home the Conn Smythe Trophy, and Niklas Lidstrom is the first European to have his name etched on the Cup as team captain. Some thoughts:
- There's an argument that the Conn Smythe should have gone to Sidney Crosby, who led the playoffs in scoring. You have to show up in the finals, though, to get the votes and Detroit effectively shut him down. The Penguins' best player was Marc-Andre Fleury, who kept his team in it despite being outshot in 17 of 20 full periods of hockey played.
- Speaking of Fleury, the Cup winning goal, which he pushed into the net with his butt, was the second wonky GWG the young netminder has given up in a championship game. You may recall when Fleury shot the puck off Braydon Coburn and back into the net at the 2004 World Junior Championship, giving Team USA the gold.
- Scary how close Pittsburgh came to tying it up in the dying seconds. The Red Wings completely dominated the Penguins for the majority of the series. They were embarrassingly out shot. They couldn't stop Detroit from carrying it over the blue line. And their top guns couldn't generate much against the Wings' scoring line (which admittedly features two Selke nominees). Yet it almost all came down to a deciding game 7.
- Despite talk that paints the Penguins as the second coming of the 1980's Oilers, Pittsburgh will not become a dynasty. They'll never be able to keep that team together under the salary cap. The new CBA has redefined the definition of a dynasty. It's no longer a core group of players that string together a number of Cup victories. The new dynasty is a team which drafts and develops talent well, fills its roster with character players that fit the team's philosophy, perennially earns a playoff berth, and wins the Cup every few years. Sound familiar? Yep, the Red Wings are the closest thing the NHL will see to a dynasty for a long time.
- The novelty of the man-between-the-benches TV coverage has worn off. There's only so many ice condition report you can take. And I'm pretty sure Michel Thierren appreciated Pierre Maguire's coaching tips. Maybe Maguire is bucking to make a return to behind the bench like fellow TV analyst Barry Melrose? I was secretly hoping he'd take a deflected puck off the kisser so we wouldn't be subjected to his know-it-all commentary anymore.