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2009 - 09 Stanley Cup Final Series Penguins Highs and Lows

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Stanley Cup Final Series
What an incredible series it has been, appropriately capping off a tremendous playoff season for the NHL. Ratings records, new fans exposed to the game, and great story lines help make this culmination special.

I wondered after the Chicago/Detroit series if Detroit was running on fumes entering the final. They proved that to be at least questionable by winning the first to games of the series at home. Pittsburgh closed out every series on the road this post season. That is something that defies the odds and defines the character of this Penguins team.

Series High - During game 4 Jordan Staal got a breakaway and scored a shorthanded goal halfway through the 2nd period. At this time I thought "This could be the definitive momentum shifting play of the series if the Pens win." This was nearly the half way point through a 7 game series. Now that they have won, I still think that play was huge.

Series Low - Stinking up the Joe in game 5 with the Pens undisciplined play was the all time low of the series for me.

What plays where your highs and lows of the series?

Some comments on the rich storyline for this final series-

Detroit Red Wings- Congratulations to the Red Wings on another incredible season and for playing their hearts out in this final series. The Red Wings set the example for the rest of the league from drafting to organization to execution. They are a "Best in Class" organization with a real classy coach in Mike Babcock. You may have heard what Babcock said to Sidney Crosby in the handshake line - "Great leadership by you".

Sidney Crosby - If your a Crosby hater, you have your reasons, but as a hockey fan you have to respect his play this playoff season and his leadership regardless of the numbers he was or was not able to put up this series. He faces adversity every game with the opposing teams keying on him, fans on the road chanting "Crosby sucks!", and with a camera or microphone in his face every day he has handled himself well. As a young player and a young man he may not always appeal to all as the NHL continues to limelight him. Perhaps he has a few gaffs along the way (when complaining about Ovechkin's hat trick raining a plethora of hats on the ice and asking the refs to restart the game comes to mind), but he will grow and mature, and no one can honestly question his character and his love for the game. He's 21. The youngest captain to hoist the cup and you can't take that away. Crosby always always gives credit to the team and organization. As a leader in my own professional and military life I know this is attribute to be among the best tools of effective leadership.

Marion Hossa- Deserved of the boo's in Pittsburgh? I think so. But truly sweet as a Pens fan to see him not get the cup. He made a self centered decision leaving Pittsburgh. Some will say it was former Coach Therrien that was the reason he would not stay and that may be true but as these teams have shown in recent years, and in these playoffs, it takes an entire team effort to achieve the goal of a Stanley Cup Champion team. Perhaps he returns to Slovakia, contemplates his next move, and either plays in Europe or in the NHL. I dont think there are any short cuts in the quest for the cup. Humbly, Marion Hossa may be a living example of this.

Bill Guerin - What a great story he is. One of my all time favorites and a well respected player in the league. At the trade deadline he was probably not thinking he would be hoisting the cup in a few months but rather where to vacation this spring. Guerin has a lot to give and Pittsburgh will do well to sign him for next year.

I can't wait for the Stanley Cup Parade in downtown Pittsburgh. It will be awesome. My kid's and I will remember this forever.

-Kevin
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