All Hail the Pittsburgh Penguins, the 2016 winners of the Stanley Cup! Like most Pittsburgh area sports fans, I was riveted to the clinching Game Six last night, and never relaxed, not for a moment, until Patric Hornqvist's empty-netter in the final minute that sealed the 3-1 win and 4-2 series triumph for the Penguins. It was the Pens' fourth Stanley Cup win in their history.
It was an incredible game that capped an incredible series and playoff run for the Penguins. I will leave it to the serious puck heads out there to provide detailed analysis of the X's and O's, the How's and the Why's of the Pens Championship run, but I will make this observation.
There were a total of three penalties in that game last night (not counting that one against the Pens with :09 remaining in the game), and a similar low number in Game Five. Both this series and the semi-final series against Tampa Bay were played with a minimal, if any, amount of fighting and gooney. When the stakes are at the highest level, the NHL players can play WITHOUT that sort of garbage, and when they do, it is a fun, exciting, skillful, and beautiful game to watch. If they did that all of the time, then perhaps the Playoffs bandwagon jumpers, like me, would become more dedicated, season-long fans of the game. Something for the NHL to think about.
And I once again want to salute NBC announcer Doc Emerick. He is absolutely the best out there, any network, any sport. As the third period was winding down last night, Marilyn said to me, "Who is that announcer? I can't believe how he can do what he is doing in describing this game." Yep.
And speaking of TV announcers, did you catch Alby Oxenreiter covering the post-game for Channel 11? A lot of people did as he sort of blew up my Facebook news feed last night. What a complete and total putz he was following the players and asking totally inane, downer, and downright stupid questions.
A final salute to the Conn Smythe winner, The Captain:
And I just have to share a meme (yes, I can now create memes, thanks to my friend, Donny Copper) that I put out on Facebook last night:
Well played, Penguins, well played.