Thursday, May 29, 2008

Don't plan the parade just yet, Detroit.

I admit, I was a little depressed after watching the first two games of the Stanley Cup Finals. The Pittsburgh team that I had seen all playoffs - all year - had magically disappeared and left a scared group of young hockey players in its wake.

True, I had predicted that Detroit would win the Cup in six games, but I started to question whether it would be sooner than that. Perhaps...a sweep.

I support my team to no end (prediction aside), but I was becoming more and more convinced that Pittsburgh's lack of experience had squashed their confidence, leaving them to run around the ice like chickens with their heads cut off. I know that I am not alone on that front.

With the series shifting to Pittsburgh, we all knew that it was a must-win game. Cliché, yes, but an accurate assessment. Sure, a team needs to win 4 games to win the Stanley Cup, but history is not exactly on the side of those teams who find themselves in a 0-3 crater-sized hole.

Add to that the fact that a couple of streaks were on the line. First, the Pens have not lost a home game since they lost to San Jose in late February - over 3 months ago. Second, MAF hasn't lost a home game since No-freakin'-vember. A loss in game 3, at home, would be catastrophic.

Coming into this game, I knew that the Pens had to score early to prove to themselves that Osgood is not a wall - that the Red Wings' defence is not impenetrable. I figured if they could just get a forecheck going...score their first goal of the Finals...then maybe they'd have a chance after all. A little confidence can go a long way.

I was understandably nervous as 9PM approached. As foolish as this seems, I gave in to my superstition and left my 'Crosby' jersey where it was. I figured if I didn't wear it, as I did for the first two games, then maybe - just maybe - Crosby would score and the Pens would win.

My applause goes out to the thousands of fans at Mellon Arena, who stood and chanted "Let's Go Pens" for minutes on end before the game began. The CBC broadcasters were wisely silent as the cameras panned the crowd, and it was a truly amazing sight. I wish I could have been there to take part.

For anyone who witnessed the first period of the game, you could see that this was a different Pittsburgh team than the one that played in Detroit. Sure, most of the players were the same, but it was as if they lost their jitters and figured out how to play against the Red Wings - and it made all the difference in the world. When Crosby scored his first goal of the game, I actually had tears in my eyes because I knew that the team I love was back.

So now the series score is 2-1 and the immediate future looks promising. I know that the Pens are still in a hole, but at least they know that Detroit is beatable.

If Crosby and the Pens show up and play the rest of the Finals like they did in game 3, who knows what could happen.

Fifteen hundred people showed up to watch the game at Cole Harbour Place - maybe they'll gather again later this summer to see their favourite son bring back the Stanley Cup.

You just never know what could happen with this Pittsburgh team.

You just never know.

1 comment:

DaBich said...

You brought tears to MY eyes with that write up, girl. I was thrilled to see out guy playing so well again. There are still some things to address, but hey, they done good!