Resistance Is Not Futile…Pens Beat Big Red Borg

The Pittsburgh Penguins - 2009 Stanley Cup Champs

The Pittsburgh Penguins - 2009 Stanley Cup Champs (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Yes folks it’s true…the Pittsburgh Penguins have defeated The Big Red Borg. Resistance is NOT, after all it seems, futile!

Congrats to the Penguins…they earned this!

Max Talbot scored a pair of second period goals for the Pens and Marc-Andre Fleury turned away 23 of 24 Wings’ shots, and Pittsburgh skated off with Lord Stanley’s Cup with a 2-1 game-seven win. I wonder how much antacid has been sold in Detroit and Pittsburgh this past week?

Evgeni Malkin earned the Conn Smythe trophy, scoring 14 goals and a playoff-high 22 assists. He was nothing short of magnificent throughout the entire playoffs and the award was well deserved.

Sidney Crosby led the way with 15 post-seasons goals and chipped in with helpers on 16 others. The Penguins captain was limited to just 9:59 TOI due to an injury to his leg caused by a hit along the boards during the second period.

Now, I have to say that I found the Penguins’ victory over the Red Wings to be quite impressive. Here are a couple of things to consider as we remember the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals…

Pittsburgh had lost only once at home during the entire playoffs, going 11-1 prior to last night. That one loss took Anaheim two full overtimes and part of a third to accomplish the feat.

The Penguins had been outscored 11-2 at The Joe in games one, two and five.

Last Saturday the Wings whacked the Pens 5-0 in game five…chasing Marc-Andre Fleury from the goal during the second period after giving up all five goals. Fleury responded by allowing only two goals over the course of the next 120 minutes of hockey.

After that game-five beat down, Pittsburgh never trailed Detroit again in the series, getting off to 2-0 leads then holding on for dear life to win 2-1 in games six and seven.

Pittsburgh never held a series lead…except of course for the only time it matter. They trailed 2 games to none and three games to two. They just wouldn’t let Detroit close the deal.

And of course, there was the picture that was worth a thousand words… that of Marian Hossa sitting dejected on the Red Wing’s bench as he watched the team he played for last year lift the Cup that he’s been chasing. I wonder if he’ll now try to re-sign with Pittsburgh this summer?

Red Wings wondering what went wrong, (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Red Wings wondering what went wrong and why (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Anyway, one of the sights that did indeed put a big smile on my face last night was when Mario Lemieux lift the Cup again for the first time since he and the Penguins last won it in 1992. Just a few short years ago the city of Pittsburgh was in danger of losing there Penguin franchise and Super Mario played a big role in saving them. I know the entire western Pennsylvania region must have enjoyed seeing that man hold the beloved trophy high once again.

And so, the 2008-09 NHL seasons comes to a close…and the Pittsburgh Penguins are the one’s standing atop the heap. Again, congratulations to them and their fans!

Now, we look forward to a very busy offseason…looking ahead to the NHL entry draft that will be held in Montreal less than two weeks from now. And with that comes the question of whether or not Evander Kane is indeed going to be selected by the Thrashers with the fourth overall pick.

Then UFA signing season begins less than a week after that…what are the chances of Don Waddell actually landing that top-six forward and/or top-four defender that so many are looking for.

And of course, once July 1 rolls around, we’ll also be watching intently to see if the team will be successful in re-signing Kaptain Kovalchuk.

Then finally, the fall will bring with it a brand new Thrashers season…and it just can’t get here soon enough, can it?

43 comments Add your comment

Cindy Crotchby

June 13th, 2009
2:08 am

Boris’s cup is bigger than Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Brendan

June 13th, 2009
2:32 am

Whenever I hear the name “Borg,” I think of Geri Ryan, who played “7 of 9,” on Star Trek Voyager. Of course, say “7 of 9″ to a Thrasher fan, and they’ll quickly point out it’s the team propensity for finishing in the bottom third of the Eastern Conference. At least, thus far.

“Are they going to blow it?” was a blog title. Who would have thought the answer would be, “Yes.” The playoff rule is, either (1) you win or (2) you don’t. Up 2-0, it doesn’t mean anything. The NHL dispenses nothing for 15 wins. Pittsburgh won four of the last five (4/5) games of the Finals, to hoist the big silver trophy. It was great to see Lemieux hold it again. But I’m happy for guys like Matt Cook, Miro Satan, Rob Scudderi, Mark Eaton, and especially, Maxine Talbot. What must they be saying in Toronto, now that Hal Gill has held Lord Stanley’s Cup?

Don’t forget, the Capitals also held a 2-0 series lead on the Penguins. And Game Three went into overtime. A Capitals goal, and the Pens would have been through. For Pittsburgh, eliminating the Flyers, Ovechkin and the Capitals, and the Red Wings, plus Carolina, reflects about as perfect of a “dream season” as the team could hope to ever have. It’ll be fun to watch their Championship video, when it comes out.

Columbus Blue Jackets fans rejoice!!! Their 1st round series with Detroit won’t be part of the NHL’s permant collection! Way to dodge that, CBJ!

When do the “qualifying offers” get tendered? That’s got to be coming up soon, too. There’s still time to enter a vote for the “Guess Kovalchuk’s re-signing date, along with the correct team that signs him.” Voting does end on June 30th. Voting began in April.

Are we going to a do a “Guess the ‘Opening Night’ budget contest this year? If so, what’s the deadline for voting, September 1st? That sounds like a decent enough cutoff date for guesses. That is, if we do it this year. Waddell has basically “admitted” that the budget will be $45-$46 million. The contest is over, right? Well, only if you take Waddell at his word.

I think they know they have a Captain to appease, in Kovalchuk. A budget under $50 million could raise the ire of the Russian sniper. Waddell is allegedly, supposedly in the final year of his contract, per Forbes Magazine. But I don’t trust Forbes. I think Waddell is under contract through 2011. And if he hasn’t been re-signed to a new deal yet, I’d bet he will be soon. It’s the ‘tell-tale’ sign that ownership doesn’t CARE. And is primarily to blame.

Waddell’s just the EMT who gets boxes full of band aids to treat gunshot wounds. And when the patient dies, everyone acts ’surprised,’ and blames Waddell for not saving him. What? With gauze? And adhesives? It’s a gunshot wound. Band aids won’t help much.

PensFan

June 13th, 2009
2:40 am

One side of me gloats when I see Hossa sitting there. But another side of me feels sorry for him too. He did leave for less security(compared to Pittsburgh’s 5 yr offer) and less money(compared to Edmonton’s ridiculous 81M over 9 yr offer). So you gotta feel a little sympathetic to this guy who doesn’t know what to think. I think the mistake in his mental makeup which made me dislike his deciusion was he thought he could just go and get a free ride to the Cup on a ready made champ instead of leading a top team he was already with past the next hurdle. I think Hossa’s poor play was the difference in such a close series. As a Pens fan, I am grateful(in retrospect) that he gave us his best ever playoff performance last year.

Good luck hossa because I can only see the Red Wings or another top team with less cap space offering him not much more than 6M a year for 5 years. Even a team with a lot of cap space will probably not offer him anything more than 7M a year after his mediocre playoff run.

Sharon

June 13th, 2009
3:35 am

PensFan – Your team just won the Cup and you’re still obsessed with Hossa? And for the record, the ‘free ride’ was sucking your way to the top draft picks :)

Tom

June 13th, 2009
5:54 am

Hossa is the storyline of this series. He is the high priced talent that disappeared when it mattered most. He was so tight his shots had nothing on them, were all from the outside, and he forgot how to stop in front of the net, he was the drive-by king.

I will not say the Hossa cost the Red Wings the series, but he did not help them win it by any means. And that was he was paid to do.

Now the big question is, what will teams pay for his services next year? Is he a 7 million dollar man? Or has he diminished in value? My guess is the latter.

Dwayne

June 13th, 2009
6:20 am

Hossa goes back to Pens….one year deal for 18 dollars.

Kevin

June 13th, 2009
6:22 am

I bet waddell wish was fired way go pens u deserve it Hossa well u have become the first player in NHL to lose 2 straight stanley cups….U took a gamble n lost should had got Gieco n stayed in Pittsburgh maybe waddell can hire u as oh wait half the Pittsburgh team came from atlanta hey all you pittsburgh fans give waddell a hand he gave u are team to win it all!

Pascal Dupuis

June 13th, 2009
7:55 am

My name will be on the Cup because I stayed in Pittsburgh. Hossa should have listened to me.

B. Thenet

June 13th, 2009
8:29 am

It is interesting that one of the few teams that was in worse shape than the Thrashers during the last decade has gone and won the cup.

Granted, they got some good bounces at the draft lottery, but they also made some very astute draft picks later on. You cannot say this Pens team was bought, it was drafted and developed from the top line to the 4th line, from their D to their goaltending.

I hope one day the Thrashers have the ownership, management, and overall hockey organization to build a winning hockey team. They don’t now, and it will probably be a while before they do.

Ask yourself this: Can you really see one of the Atlanta Spirit guys holding the Cup? Even as a Thrashers fan it makes me kind of vomit in my mouth thinking about one of those guys touching it. It doesn’t seem right.

LAC

June 13th, 2009
9:12 am

B. Thenet, I agree with you 100%, NONE of these so called sprit or NO sprit jerks as well as waddell should never never never touch that wonderful piece of Silver!!! Because Winning and asg/waddell are something that will NEVER happen in our lifetime !

Only a new owner and new GM will lead us to the Holy Land of Hockey !

The current ones are taking us to HELL !

Get The Puck Out

June 13th, 2009
9:20 am

With the owners we have now we won’t make it to the finals- EVER. I just hope they try to appease Kovy with some help and he stays until someone takes over that will put their heart and soul into this team. Atlanta has suffered enough with teams that play good enough to get in the playoffs, but can’t do much more. You think Boston had a curse!

Wings fan in Ga.

June 13th, 2009
9:43 am

If Tampa Bay can win a Stanley Cup, Atlanta can too. But like B. Thenet said, not with the current ownership group.

Although, the Thrashers should try and get Khabibulin from Chicago because he seems to have good luck on his side. He was a huge reason Tampa turned it around and eventually won the Cup. Since he left, they have sucked. Now, he is a part of a turnaround in Chicago. Coincidence? I think not.

Brendan

June 13th, 2009
9:53 am

I also nominate B.Thenet’s 8:29 post for enshrinement in the AJC Hall of Blog Posts. Everyone should re-read it a couple of times.

Brendan

June 13th, 2009
9:58 am

I wouldn’t mind Cristobal Huet, either, WingsfaninGa. Chicago has a decision to make in net. As do the Washington Capitals. Simeon Varlamov had a spectacular playoffs. How much are they paying Jose Theodore to WATCH the playoffs, from the pine?

Dwayne

June 13th, 2009
10:18 am

Kari is the answer in goal for now and the future. Dont you agree Stendec? Here is why he should be resigned to a 3 year deal. Zach B. T Enstrom, and Anssi S. and add one top D-man. Dont forget Boris, he still needs some work, maybe Atl. signs a D-man that can coach him.

Frosty the snowman

June 13th, 2009
11:12 am

Kari is not the answer in goal. What is so great about Annsi S?

Darkhorse

June 13th, 2009
11:40 am

I wonder what NBC’s ratings were like for the game last night? It seemed fairly well hyped around the entire sports world.

Tony C.

June 13th, 2009
12:07 pm

Is it wrong that every time I hear “Marian Hossa” my mind plays Nelson from The Simpson’s infamous “HA-HAA!” ????

Tony C.

June 13th, 2009
12:14 pm

goose

June 13th, 2009
12:16 pm

Is everybody forgetting about Clay Wilson. He looked very promising to me. One of the things I saw him doing that Anssi S. wasn’t was standing guys up a the blue line and not backing up. Also Wilson’s intuition seemed better than Anissi S. as well.

Tony C.

June 13th, 2009
12:46 pm

Honestly, I haven’t seen enough of Wilson to form an opinion one way or the other, but everybody seems really high on the kid (including other teams’ scouts-whom I have more faith in than ours).

World Be Free

June 13th, 2009
3:19 pm

If Kari is not the answer in net, who is? Pavlec? I think not.
Kari just needs to stay in shape and stay healthy for a full season.

Brendan

June 13th, 2009
8:54 pm

I think Kari is getting re-signed. Whether that’s a 1-year deal or a 3-year deal, I don’t know. I suspect a 3-year deal is appropriate. I don’t want Pavelec traded, however. All the guy needs is more time. And until the Atlanta blueline gets better and its system is more defensively sound, no goaltender is going to shine here. Kari really isn’t a bad goalie. His mental problems could be diminished with a better corps of defenders. Slowly, the blueline is improving. Bogosian was a major step. Will Atlanta draft a defenseman at #4? I don’t know. But there’s a good one to be had, even after Viktor Hedman.

If a goaltender must be traded, I hope it’s Moose. Moose could be nice “sweetener” for a deal.

Alan

June 13th, 2009
9:05 pm

I don’t want Pavelec traded, however. All the guy needs is more time.

If he and his agent are going to be petulant again this year, he can leave. He in no uncertain terms proved to us that he doesn’t have what it takes to be a number one right now.

Alan

June 13th, 2009
9:20 pm

Red Wings injury report, for anyone who is curious.

Fun fact: Hossa isn’t listed.

Bob

June 13th, 2009
9:32 pm

Alan, sorry about your boys, but Hoss losing is just perfect irony. The Pens stepped up, every man. The Wings? Fold

Alan

June 13th, 2009
9:35 pm

I let loose my feelings on the loss last night in the last blog, Bob. In short, I believe Hossa failed the team. You can read the rest, if you so choose, back there. :)

Congrats to the Pens. They earned it.

Kaat

June 14th, 2009
3:41 am

I am so sick of all the Hossa bashing. It’s ridiculous.

What would you have done? Would you have stayed in Atlanta? Be honest with yourself. Something is wrong with this organization. We know it. He knew it. He played hard while he was here, but he didn’t choose this organization.

He didn’t pick the Senators, they picked him. He didn’t pick the Thrashers, he was traded to them. He was a rent-a-player for the Penguins for three months — why does he owe them anything? He didn’t choose them either. When given the chance to go where he wanted — a right he earned — he did just that. Who here wouldn’t have done the same? Especially after being burned by the Senators when he agreed to a contract extension with them (minus the no-trade clause he asked for) only to be traded the same day the contract was signed.

I find it odd that Hossa has been so vilified for signing for less money and no long-term security in order to go somewhere that he thought he could win the Cup. Isn’t that something we should praise, not censure?

I think it’s ridiculous, also, to say that Hossa would have had the Cup had he stayed in Pittsburgh. We don’t know that. Nobody knows that. The team would have been completely different. Might never have hired Dan Bylsma. Might not have had the same chemistry. Probably wouldn’t have had Kunitz or Guerin. There are so many variables that to argue that if he’d “made the right choice” and stayed in Pittsburgh he’d have won is simply absurd.

goose

June 14th, 2009
9:35 am

If we trade moose Pavalec doesn’t have that little more time to get better. Moose is what is allowing to stay in the minors so he can get better. If Waddell trades a goalie it will be Pavelec or Kari and at this point in Pavelec’s career he is just not good enough yet to be your starting goaltender every night. So I say trade Pavelec and keep Kari if we do that there is not as big a question left about how are goaltending will be

Brendan

June 14th, 2009
10:46 am

What if Pavelec gets 30 starts in relief of Lehtonen? Is he not still “developing?,” without the pressure of HAVING to be the #1 guy here? In a season … without playoff ultimatums hanging over the heads of the GM or Head Coach. This is still a “building” team, in yet another “build” year. (Year Three of Four, potentially.) If it’s clear that Pavelec cannot hack it in the NHL just yet, there’ll always be some goalie we can claim off waivers to be the backup for Lehtonen. Or we could trade for one. The market for goalies isn’t much. What would it cost DW, seriously, to trade for a backup goalie? A sixth round pick? The organization surrendered a lot (Top 10 overall draft position) to get Pavelec. To trade him, prematurely, seems irresponsible, in my view. The goal ought to be (1) to draft good players and (2) keep them.

And if the situation is one where Pavelec isn’t an NHL-ready goalie, what team would give us something WORTHWHILE to acquire him? Right. Might as well either let him be the backup, with 30 starts, and compete for the #1 position, or send him back to the minors. I think Pavelec is protected from a waiver claim this year.

Pens Fan in Atl

June 14th, 2009
1:47 pm

Kevin??? The only Penguin who has ever worn a Thrashers uniform is Dupuis. Half the team? I don’t think so. The Top 4 in Pittsburgh were drafted by Pittsburgh and the Stanley Cup hero Max Talbot was also a Pittsburgh draft pick. Do some research before you post…and some spell check!

Brendan

June 14th, 2009
1:55 pm

I’m trying to think of who Atlanta sent to Pittsburgh other than Dupuis and Hossa. And Hossa left for Detroit. Now, the other ’round, Atlanta has Chris Thorburn, Colby Armstrong, Angelo Esposito, Daultan Leveille (Pittsburgh’s draft pick #29, via trade for Hossa), Johan Hedberg, and Eric O’Dell, via Erik Christensen. O’Dell and Esposito have yet to crack the starting lineups.

Brendan

June 14th, 2009
2:00 pm

If Waddell ever “almost” gave another team a Stanley Cup, it’s Ottawa. Waddell took Damian Rhodes off their hands, and Shawn MacEachern, while taking in Dan Turple (minors goalie), while sending Brian Pothier to the Sens. Senators also got Heatley, for Hossa and deVries. The results were that Ottawa lost the 2007 Cup Finals to Anaheim, but was the #1 seed in 2006 and #4 seed in 2007. I think Waddell also took Shane Hnidy off Ottawa’s hands for them. Can’t remember, though. Bygones. How’d we get on this topic? Oh yes, Atlanta stocked Pittsburgh’s shelves, allegedly.

GaVaHokie

June 14th, 2009
8:53 pm

That’s because Ottawa and Pittsburgh spent the money to put good players around Heatley, Hossa, Pothier, Dupuis, etc… something our organization has never done.

They kinda did it once… 2005-06… and they kinda, almost made the playoffs.

LAC

June 15th, 2009
12:10 am

Brenden, Hossa & Dupuis were it from Atlanta.

Remember too that Hossa got hurt and missed 9 games right after getting there.

LAC

June 15th, 2009
12:12 am

WORNG Pens fan, Chris Kunitz did for two games, we claimed him off waivers from Anameim and when we tried to send him to Chicago, Anaheim reclaimed him, he won the CUP in Anaheim & Pittsburgh, bet he’s glad waddell is such a BADGM !

Mark

June 15th, 2009
2:21 am

As far as Hossa goes…..it could’nt have happened to a better cherry picker. His value has declined as well as his integrity. I hope this stays with him for all time!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sharon

June 15th, 2009
3:09 am

Kaat – I agree with your entire post. Finally, a voice of reason.

PensFan

June 15th, 2009
5:38 am

Sharon, speaking of the free ride the Pens got via draft picks, well, they earned every bit of it with 5 terrible years of hockey. Besides, Atlanta has had a long “free ride” of top draft picks and where did that get them?

THough I gotta confess, Pens picked the perfect time to suck – right when they had a chance to draft can’t miss draft picks. They picked Jagr at #5 in 1990 and the next time they got high picks was the early part of this decade – Ryan Whitney at #5, Fleury at #1, Malkin at #2, Crosby #1, Staal #2. The thing is even if they did not select the players they did (except Malklin and Crosby being obvious selections), there were still other great alternatives in those years (like the bumper crop in Fleury’s year) or Kessler or Toews in Staal’s year.

Actually I would like to see Pens not keep the entire team. They need to keep their core and bringing in high character players from loser teams who are desperate for a cup. That reenergises the team and these players do not have the wear and tear of long playoff years.

World Be Free

June 15th, 2009
7:50 am

Kaat and Sharon-

Nobody is jumping on Hossa because of his decision to leave Pittsburgh for Detroit or not resign with Atlanta.

People pick on Hossa because he’s chasing the Cup. Hossa caved in when he had his opportunities. He had plenty of smaller teammates taking hits to make plays and crashing the net. He failed to make sacrefices for most of the final series.

If you are going to be a mercenary, you better step up when you get the opportunity to make good on your goal and that’s to win a Stanley Cup.

Adam

June 15th, 2009
8:47 am

To add to WBF’s comments. I don’t care that Hossa wanted out of Atlanta. What I care about is he didn’t earn his money the last 2/3 of the season he was here and was a locker room cancer. All he had to say was trade me in the summer of 06′. If not then play like you’re supposed to and earn your money. There is not way I’d like to see him back here and I bet he’s lost all respect of the Thrashers that were here at the time.

Brendan

June 15th, 2009
12:52 pm

I’ve often said that I don’t blame Hossa for pursuing his dreams. I assume those dreams are (1) playing in Detroit and (2) winning the Stanley Cup, preferably playing for Detroit.

The way it works … is like this. A player gets drafted. He tries to prove himself in the NHL. He’s signed to a 3-year, capped rookie contract. In the case of Hossa, pre-lock out, he’s signed to an RFA contract, or contracts, until he reaches the THENNNN age of 31, pre-lockout, before he can become unrestricted. It subsequently became 27 years old, post-lockout. Then, at LONG LAST, it would be HIS CHOICE of where he played. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, Hossa has ALWAYS wanted to play in Detroit. Still with me?

He can’t very well say that on draft day. He can’t say it while under contract with Ottawa. He can’t say it while negotiating an RFA contract with Ottawa. He can’t say it, after being traded to Atlanta. And he can’t say it while being traded to Pittsburgh. Hossa earned the right, through NHL longevity, to pick his next team. He put in his time. I hope, sincerely, that he is happy in Detroit and can be re-signed by the team which I presume is his intended destination.

It’s Detroit’s call if they want Hossa back. And if so, it’s Hossa’s call on how much salary reduction he’s willing to concede to make his dreams come true. If Hossa does manage to get re-signed by Detroit, longterm, I feel confident that he will get to win a Stanley Cup at some point during that lengthy contract. If Hossa’s salary reduction is $3 million, over 7 years, then Hossa’s “cost” of pursuing his dreams was $21 million. If someone offered me $21 million to concede my hopes and dreams, I think we’d have a sale. I’d have to draw up some paperwork. But there it is.

I harbor no ill will towards Hossa. Hossa TRIED TO EFFECT CHANGE here in Atlanta. Where I’d fault him … is his not dropping his shoulder and driving hard to the net, like he did in the 2007 season, when he sets his career high seasons, with 100-points. That was troubling. I don’t know if Hossa had an undisclosed injury, or if it was purely intentional. But the results were … decreased point production in his final season with Atlanta.

World Be Free

June 15th, 2009
7:37 pm

Friday night proved that you could win the Cup with a team other than Detroit. I’d have more respect for a guy who stayed with a team and built a winner, like Yzerman. It doesn’t have to be Atlanta, but it would be nice.

And not that we will ever confuse Hossa with Stevie Y.