Written by The Burgh Blog writer: Austin Tocco
The Pittsburgh Penguins have won the 2016 Stanley Cup. Looking back on this roller coaster season full of adversity, it’s hard to believe they were still able to put themselves in this position. Without the moves and trades that Jim Rutherford made throughout the season, we could have very well found ourselves at the bottom of the pack. So many memories were made through the year, whether it was celebrating the career of Pascal Dupuis or actually beating the Flyers more than once. The Penguins find themselves on top of the hockey world again for the 4th time in franchise history.
Through all of the disappointment over the years with the Penguins getting embarrassed in the playoffs, it was all well worth it. The Penguins experienced a bit of a drought from 2009 till now, right in the peak years of the core players career. That is really what worried me most, the fact that Letang, Crosby, Malkin, and Fleury are not kids anymore like they were in 2009. They had to win it soon together or there could have been arrangements to break up the big 4. The Penguins are the true definition of a resilient bunch, they stuck together through it all and never looked down when times were tough. Their road to the Stanley Cup was in my opinion, the toughest road to travel on. First having to deal with the New York Rangers who typically breeze right by in and win in the first round, then they had to move onto the Washington Capitals the President’s Trophy winners, then on to the Tampa Bay Lightning who were the reigning Eastern Conference Champions. What an experience to watch these men come out strong each and every shift and put on a show for Penguins nation. It was weird waking up this morning, you look in the mirror and say to yourself, “We, are Stanley Cup Champions.”
As nervous as every Penguins fan was during game 6 last night in San Jose, the Penguins really dominated the play once again. Getting on the board 8 minutes in on a power-play goal by Brain Dumoulin sparked the lineup to control the game. 6 minutes into the second period, Sharks forward Logan Couture added another goal to his point tally, just a minute later, Kris Letang scored what proved to be the game winning goal. Patric Hornqvist scored on the empty net to secure a Penguins victory in game 6. Every player played controlled and you could tell they had a different mindset going into game 6 compared to game 5. In game 5, they knew that there were 20,000+ people just outside waiting to celebrate, they knew that they had a chance to make Pittsburgh history with a victory in game 5. Completely different attitude going into game 6, the Penguins went into San Jose with a purpose, to get revenge for the Sharks stealing their thunder on home ice. The San Jose crowd was almost dead silent when Hornqvist put that puck in the net, they knew that they were done, and they knew that they would have to watch the Penguins hoist the Stanley Cup.
You really have to give credit when its due, and the San Jose Sharks really deserve it. What a great all around team that they have from top to bottom. One of the most loyal fan bases in all of the NHL, and easily the loudest arena for opposing teams to play in. Their journey was remarkable, having to beat the LA Kings, the Nashville Predators, and the St. Louis Blues. Expect them to be true contenders for years to come.
The Penguins season is finally complete. We are all wishing it was September already so we can watch some more of this fantastic hockey. Each player will get their day with the Stanley Cup, enjoying every moment of it. Come the home opener, the Penguins will be proud to raise the 4th banner that states, Stanley Cup Champions.
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