Though it was hardly sweltering in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, it is worth noting that the 2007-08 NHL season came to an end during the first week of June: the beginning of summer! That thought aside, the Detroit Red Wings seized chance 2 to close out the Stanley Cup Final and did so by edging the host Penguins in Game 6. The Wings sealed up their 11th Cup and 4th in the last 11 years. Some are calling Detroit a dynasty. Well 4 by 11 is only 36.3% so let us just call them good. For dynasty you should refer to the 1960s Montreal Canadiens, late 1980s Edmonton Oilers and of course the greatest dynasty of all time - the early 1980s New York Islanders. But I digress, for the second time. Here is a look at the deciding game of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final:
* Henrik Zetterberg "scored" 7:36 in to the 3rd Period to notch the game winner for Detroit. Marian Hossa cut the Wings' lead back to 1 with 87 seconds left in play, then almost tied it up in the waning seconds. Zetterberg, tied for the playoffs goal and points lead (13 goals, 27 points), was "assisted" on the play by Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury who accidentally put the puck in the net.
The travesty is that Zetterberg was crowned the MVP of the Playoffs which comes with the second most beautiful prize in all of sports: the Conn Smythe Trophy. Why is this a travesty you may ask? Because Detroit goalie and FI Chris Osgood played one of the most brilliant runs by a tender in the history of the NHL playoffs. Ozzie was 14-4 in 18 starts and surrendered only 30 goals in 19 appearances! Osgood did it again in Game 6 stopping 20 of 22 shots. He had an unbelievable 1.55 goals against average and an insanely good .930 save percentage with 3 shutouts. He single handedly stole games for Detroit as they recovered against Nashville, trounced Colorado and survived both Dallas and Pittsburgh comeback attempts. That award was his and the NHL screwed it up big time. But, congratulations still for the first FI Stanley Cup winner since defenseman Vladimir Malakhov (!) won it with the New Jersey Devils in the 2000 Final. (FIW does not recognize ex-coach Peter Laviolette who won it in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricanes seeing as he was never a player for the Isles, the whole crux of our bloggy existence.)
Congratulations Detroit for making such a strong run to the championships. Congrats also to the young Penguins (average age = 27.5) who will find their pot of gold in the future, that is if the Isles do not knock them out of contention in some more David Volek-like stunning Game 7s.
Keep posted to FIW occasionally throughout the summer as we keep our eyes firmly on NHL news including the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and of course Free Agency season! Thank you for a great 2007-08 season. All the best.