Suddenly, Stanley Cup champion Pens look a lot like ... Red Wings
The Pittsburgh Penguins proved their mettle in prevailing in Game 7 in Detroit over the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings. They played better. Goaltender
Against that backdrop, the term that keeps coming to mind is "having it all come together" -- both in the short term and overall. The shorter view is the series in which the Penguins won four of the last five contests, and the narrowest view is their performance in Detroit in Game 7. Stretched out a bit further, GM
You can extend the sequence events back over the past six years to include the drafting of Fleury, Crosby,
Honestly, the Penguins' ascent to the top is an amazing amalgam of good fortune, good decisions, good people and good timing. To see twenty-one year old captain Crosby holding the Cup aloft was an almost surreal culmination of so many forces and factors. Yes, they are Stanley Cup champions and yes they earned it, but what does this mean moving forward? Well, now that the Penguins have won it all, it means the Eastern Conference has a dominant team to contend with for the foreseeable future.
This renaissance also means owner
I'll say. With an obviously special group of core young players in place, a GM who is realistic, astute and not afraid of making the tough decision, and an owner who has evolved from the teenage face of a franchise to the patron saint of hockey in Pittsburgh, the Penguins have the look and feel of a model franchise. In fact, from top to bottom they compare favorably to everyone's example of organizational excellence, the Red Wings.
With Cup in hand, the Penguins' journey to redefine themselves is complete. What remains is defining how great can this group be and for how long. Like the team they just beat, the Penguins now are striving for sustainability -- the ever elusive drive to achieve year after year. Even in defeat, the Red Wings continue to master that model and I'm sure Lemieux and company have taken notes.
It sure seems that way.