Saturday, June 13, 2009

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins

(Notable exception: Matt Cooke)

I'm one of those guys that hoped Detorit would win the Cup. I predicted them to win (and I like being right) so that was certainly part of it. I also like the fact that for Marian Hossa his main goal was to win the Stanley Cup. More than money, more than living in a nice city, more than being "the guy" he wanted a chance to win the Cup. Now he's not the only that isn't getting what he wants in this life, but I still feel badly for him. If Max Talbot actually looked him in the eye and said "You chose the wrong team" then he is one heartless Quebecor. If not, maybe Hossa goes back to Pittsburgh next year?

Anyway, some fond Oiler memories of the Cup winners:

Bill Guerin - May 4, 1998 - The Oilers come back from a 3-1 series deficit to take the series. Bill Guerin scores one of four goals in a 4-0 walk for the Oilers in Colorado. Guerin ended up with seven goals in two rounds that year, his first with the Oilers. I was in grade nine this year and it was this era (1997-2006) that shaped me as an Oiler fan. Thanks for the memories Bill. It was great to see you lift the Cup.

Miroslav Satan - March 18, 1997 - On this day the Oilers traded Satan to Buffalo for Craig Millar and Drew Bannister. The two defencemen (if you didn't know they were both defencemen you have a great idea about the value the Oilers got in this trade) played a combined 71 games for the Oilers over the next three seasons. As someone that was constantly bombarded with the image of Glen Sather as a hockey genius Miroslav Satan always stood out as the counter-example of all counter-examples. Miroslav, for taking your lumps and going to the minors without complaint, for blocking shots last night, and for helping me to learn critical thinking skills as a young man, I salute you. Keep on partying Miro.

Petr Sykora - October 5, 2006 - Two goals and an assist in a 3-1 win over Calgary on the first day of the 2006-07 season. Oiler fans had no idea the disaster that was to come and on this night we gathered to celebrate. Thanks for the good memories Petr, that season didn't have many. Apparently Sykora even considered staying in Edmonton after the gong show stretch run. Eventually he decided on a much better option. A bit player on the Pens this year but he felt the joy of lifting the Cup again.

Mathieu Garon - March 2, 2008 - This was the last of his shoot-out wins in the hilarious 2007-08 season. Garon stopped all three Columbus shots, which was pretty much par for the course. I know the idea of a "closer" hasn't really taken a foothold but I'd be tempted to try it with Garon. This year must have been awful. At the end of last year he looked like he was in line for a starting job with the Edmonton Oilers over the long term. That's gone now and that kind of sucks. But hey, at least he won himself a Stanley. Sorry the coaches here didn't trust you Mathieu. Maybe you're 100% save percentage in the playoffs will reestablish your value! Seriously though, I'm happy for him. A great end to a tough season.

Oh, and the reason the Red Wings lost this year was bad karma, or, conkma, as the case may be. Ohmygoodness. Oh. My. Goodness.


Bruce said...

Scott: Good post. I was and remain a fan of all of those guys, and it's nice to see them get the big prize. Second time around for Guerin and Sykora -- before and after their Oiler stint in each case.

For a guy who played 6 minutes in the series, I sure noticed Sykora a lot. Rather than sulk about lack of playing time, he played the role of good teammate to a T. His little pep talk to Fleury after he got yanked in Game 5 obviously didn't hurt. In Game 6 Petr was given his chance and was flying around and making all the contributions a good veteran should, laying on the body, backchecking hard, even diving to block a shot. That's the one that broke his foot. Later on the bench, the camera again caught him congratulating Rob Scuderi for his own shot-blocking heroics. Sykora had a huge beam for a guy whose foot must have been screaming at him at that point. His beam only got wider when he got his chance to skate with the Cup last night, an opportunity he was cheated of in 2000 when he was hospitalized with concussion early in the last game in Dallas. I still remember Patrik Elias bringing Sykora's sweater on to the ice for the celebrations -- this is one guy who is very popular with his mates, I can guarantee it.

One quibble: the Satan trade was for Craig Millar and Barrie Moore, who played a combined 40 GP for the Oilers (4-2-6), and a total of 153 NHL GP. Satan meanwhile has played 1012 regular season games, scoring 354 goals and 721 points. 35 of those goals came in under two seasons with the Oil before he was unceremoniously dumped in what was clearly a horrible trade, likely the worst of Glen Sather's tenure (the Messier trade was kind of forced on him).

PS: Agreed on Matt Cooke. What a dirtbag.

Scott said...

Thanks Bruce. I guess I should have looked up more than the date of that Satan trade!