With the Stanley Cup Finals only a day away, I thought that I would focus on the Penguins past and present success. It’s been a tremendous season for the Pittsburgh Penguins, and I don’t want to take away from that, but I thought that it also would appropriate to reminisce about the last time the Penguins made it to the NHL Finals.
As every true Pittsburgher knows, the last time that the Penguins made it to the Stanley Cup Finals was in 1992 when they won their second Stanley Cup in as many years. I was only 3 years old at that point, but I remember wearing the classic Penguins Back-to-Back Stanley Cup t-shirt for a long time afterwards.
The Players, Then
In the 1991-92 seasons, Pittsburgh had some tremendous talent on their roster. The Penguins were led by the veteran play of Lemieux, Francis, Trottier, Coffey, and Barrasso and energized by the talent of rising star Jaromir Jagr. I am happy to say that I was still able so watch some of these players as I grew older.
The Penguins season this year has seen its high and low points. After a mediocre start, the Penguins began to play better as they approached the New Year and the Winter Classic, which was part of an 8 game winning streak. They also went through a period without their star, Sidney Crosby (due to injury,) when Evgeni Malkin led the team. Currently, they have been playing very well as a team, dominating each of their post-season opponents.
The Players, Now
Todaay’s Penguins are a bit different from those of 16 and 17 years ago. Then, led by skilled veteran play; now, led by fresh, raw talent. Crosby, Malkin, Stall, Malone, Gonchar, and Fleury are the current face of the blossoming Penguins.
Stanley Cup Finals: Penguins – Red Wings
This is one of the more highly anticipated matchups in recent NHL Finals history. It has been a while since two classic hockey towns have fought for the rights to raise Lord Stanley’s Cup. I am expecting tough, skilled play from both teams, starting tomorrow.
Experience vs. Exuberance
Much like the Penguins of 92, the Detroit Red Wings are a season team with a lot of experience. For example, Chris Chelios won his first Stanley Cup before 5 of the current Penguins, including Crosby and Malkin, were even born.
However, even though the Penguins are young, I like their chances against the Red Wings. Their energy and quickness have gotten them here, to the Finals, and I hope that it’s enough to enable them to overcome Detroit.
It’s tremendously exciting to have the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Stanley Cup Finals this year. I think that it’s also neat to look back on the Penguin’s past success, even though the characteristics of the team have changed since the early 90′s. So, what are your memories of the Penguins? Have a prediction for this years Stanley Cup Finals?