The Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup Champions.
Yeah it sucks to see a franchise that habitually employed a who’s who of dirtbags win a title but at least it wasn’t the Habs.
The Pens were a classic example of a team that got hot at the right time, found a grove and rolled through the post season.
Like them or not you have to hand it to them and give them their due.
But when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the Conn Smythe winner, Sidney Crosby was handed the award because he was Sidney Crosby and not much else.
Crosby had a good post season point wise. 6 goals 13 assists in 24 games is very respectable. But it’s 4 goals and 3 total points short of the scoring line that Phil Kessel put up this post season.
Kessel’s HBK line was the Penguins constant offensive force this playoffs. Kessel’s 10 goals and 12 assists drove the Pittsburgh scoring while Crosby was held goaless during the Washington series and during the finals themselves. So how again was Crosby more valuable than Kessel? By being a decoy? Please. I have a feeling a lot of Canadian journalists would have preferred to pick up Kessel’s tab at Nathan’s Famous than vote for the doughy American over their Canadian wonder boy. There’s no media blow job sloppier than Nationalistic Felatio.
And lets not forget why the Penguins routinely exited the post season early for years before this season’s triumph.
Fleury’s April transformations into human Swiss Cheese were legendary. So when the Penguins got near elite caliber goaltending from Matt Murray, it singlehandedly solved the Penguins largest post season problem. No more ugly back breaking goals from the Flower. Murray was nails almost the entire post season and just when the Penguins took him for granted, they put MAF back in the cage for a game against the Lightning, and were rewarded with a putrid .840 save percentage. Murray was back in the net for the rest of the playoffs and they hoisted the cup because of it.
And then there is Kris Letang.
Nobody would mistake the Penguins D for the 2008 Red Wings, but Kris Letang carried what was a no-name defense for 24 playoff games. Letang logged 25 plus minutes in 23 of the Pens 24 games, putting up 30 or more minutes in 7 games, making sure a defense made thinner by the loss of Trevor Daley was never exposed. Letang also tallied 3 goals and 12 assists, only four points less than Crosby, and Letang had a point on every Penguins game winner in the finals, including scoring the game winner in the cup clinching game.
But yeah, lets give the award to Crosby, who was a minus player (-2) for the playoffs and scored one goal in their last 10 playoff games.
This is the kind of media incompetence that again makes you wonder if the press votes for superstars are not merit based as their job as impartial journalists would require. So is it the work of press row fanboys or calculated votes for a star in exchange for better access later, which in this case could be called Sid Pro Quo.
It’s bad enough to see the Penguins hoist the cup, but having to watch the NHL media give Sid a ill deserved happy ending somehow made it worse.