Archive for the ‘Stanly Cup Champion’ Category

Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup Champions

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This was one of the best Stanley Cup Finals I’ve seen in a while. Throughout all 7 games, it was a see-saw battle that swung my emotions from one end of the spectrum to the other. What better way to cap off such a dramatic series than with a winner-takes-all game seven. As far as game 7’s go, this one had pretty much everything a hockey fan could hope for. And if you’re a Pittsburgh Penguins fan, it had everything you can hope for… and more.

After all was said and done, Sidney Crosby became the youngest Captain in NHL history to raise the Stanley Cup. He lead the Penguins to their 3rd Stanley Cup in franchise history at the age of 21 years, 10 months, and 5 days. Despite tweaking his left knee in the 2nd period and sitting on the bench for most the the remainder of the game, he still came out and accepted the Stanley Cup for his team.

While the majority of the focus seemed to be on “Sidney’s first Cup”, there were lots of other notable players who also raised the Stanley Cup for the first time.
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Conn Smythe winner, Evgeni Malkin contributed a lot to his team’s championship run, as did goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. This season’s Cup-winning team also featured 20-year old Jordan Staal, who joins his brother Eric in the Stanley Cup champions club. Sergei Gonchar raised the cup for the first time, after 14 seasons in the NHL, as did Phillippe Boucher in his 17th NHL season.

Maxim Talbot became the unlikely hero of game 7, scoring 2 goals to pave the way to the Pittsburgh Penguins victory. His first goal was set up by Evgeni Malkin after Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart gave the puck away in his own end. The game was so tight at that point that many believed that this may be the only goal of the game. Talbot’s second goal – the Stanley Cup winner – put the Penguins ahead 2-0 midway through the 2nd period and they never looked back.

While the Red Wings pressed, especially late in the game, they could not beat Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

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Fleury aka “Flower” stopped barrage after barrage of shots from the Red Wings and kept his team out front. He had some help from the crossbar in the 3rd period, but played like he was determined to win for the entire game. He was a wall that the Wings could not penetrate, except for one point shot from Jonathan Ericsson with just over 6 minutes remaining in the game. Fleury’s most dramatic stop came with 1 second remaining in the 3rd period, when he dove across the net to stop Niklas Lidstrom from tying the game.

20 Years Ago

Posted 25 May 2009 — by admin
Category Calgary Flames, Game 6, Stanly Cup Champion

I still remember it like it was yesterday. It’s amazing what a Stanley Cup Championship can do to a hockey fan.

Exactly 20 years ago today, the Calgary Flames beat the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals to clinch a 4-2 series win and become the first (and only) team to win the Stanley Cup on the road in Montreal. I’ve never cheered so hard and so loud and for so long as we did that day.

There’s a great article from SLAM! Sports about it today. For posterity, I’ve pasted the text here:

Hockey fans love to blame the mid-90s’ New Jersey Devils for inventing the trap.

But as the seconds ticked off the clock in Game 6 of the 1989 Stanley Cup final series at the historic Montreal Forum, Calgary Flames centre Doug Gilmour thinks he caught a glimpse of the widely despised defensive system.

“There wasn’t much of a trap system in those days, but I think if you watched that last 30 or 40 seconds, it was pretty much the trap,” Gilmour said.

“Just try to stop them and get it out.”

Nobody in Calgary was complaining.

Not with their beloved Flames, protecting a two-goal lead after Gilmour scored his second of the game into an empty net, on the verge of beating the Montreal Canadiens to capture the Stanley Cup.

Gritty winger Colin Patterson and co-captain Lanny McDonald had also lit the lamp for the Flames.

Now, they just needed to keep the hometown Habs from mounting an improbable comeback.

“It was like, I don’t care if we never touch the puck –we just can’t let them ever get close,” McDonald said. “But when that buzzer went to end it, oh my God, what a great feeling.

“When you’re beat up from a long season but you know you’ve accomplished something that has taken a tremendous amount of hard work and sacrifice along the way, it’s pretty cool.”

It was 20 years ago today, on May 25, 1989, the Flames celebrated that 4-2 victory over the Canadiens, capping what remains the only championship season in franchise history.

It was the culmination of an exhausting journey — a quest to catch up with the powerhouse Edmonton Oilers, to silence the doubters, to deliver a Stanley Cup to Calgary.

Towering defenceman Al MacInnis claimed the Conn Smythe Trophy after becoming the first blueliner to win the playoff scoring race, earning the nickname Big Mac.

Gilmour, soft-spoken sniper Joe Mullen and super sophomore Joe Nieuwendyk, who suffered a broken wrist in the second period of the deciding game, scored big goals.

Joel Otto won big faceoffs. Mike Vernon made big stops. McDonald and fellow co-captains Tim Hunter and Jim Peplinksi brought big, booming voices to the locker-room.

That night in Montreal, they celebrated the biggest on-ice achievement of their lives.

First-year assistant coach Doug Risebrough won four rings during his playing days with the Canadiens, but he’d never seen anything like this.

“I remember it distinctly, that it was one nobody would ever forget,” Risebrough said. “It was the whole experience — for the fans, the city, the team … It was all firsts. It was a first for everybody.”

The 1989 Stanley Cup final was a rematch of the ‘86 championship and a showdown between the NHL’s top two regular-season squads.

The Flames, fresh off their second consecutive Presidents’ Trophy-winning campaign, barely survived a first-round scare from the Vancouver Canucks before breezing past the Los Angeles Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Canadiens, backstopped by hot-shot netminder Patrick Roy, couldn’t stop them, either.

“The playoffs are a little bit like having a baby. Nine months seems like a long time, but when it’s over, you go ‘Oh boy, that was quick,’ ” Peplinski said. “A series goes by awfully quickly and so does two, and three seems to go by quicker than two, and four seems to go by quicker than three …

“It’s like life, it just goes so fast. You need to really, really enjoy it.”

Enjoy it, they did.

They celebrated with their wives, girlfriends and parents. They celebrated with the owners, scouts and support staff.

As the team boarded a charter back to Calgary, assistant trainer Al Murray snipped the locks on the Stanley Cup carrying case so they could continue to celebrate with the shiny trophy.

The party was on.

“I think (the party) is still going on, in some ways,” Nieuwendyk said. “It went on for the entire summer. We had a lot of good times — no question.”

Ex-Flame Nieuwendyk Announces His Retirement

Posted 07 Dec 2006 — by admin
Category Ex-Flame, Joe Nieuwendyk, Retirement, Stanly Cup Champion


For more than 40 minutes, Joe Nieuwendyk’s teammates sat crammed in a small meeting room enduring the most painful team meeting of a pretty challenging season.

Nieuwendyk, considered the heart and soul of the Panthers, was there to say goodbye. After 20 seasons in the NHL, Nieuwendyk announced his retirement.

“It’s ideally not the way I wanted it to happen,” he would say later. “It’s kind of being decided for me. I still love the game, love being part of the team. But when the body doesn’t do what the mind wants it to, it becomes difficult to play this game at a high level.”

Nieuwendyk’s aching back is the culprit. A three-time Stanley Cup champion, Nieuwendyk was told by a doctor he should cease playing, that his back injury not only wasn’t going to get any better, but it could get much worse.

News like that was enough to scare Nieuwendyk into retirement.

“I’ve gone against doctors’ decisions in the past, came back and played and felt good about the way I played,” said Nieuwendyk, who met with specialists at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio last Friday.

“But I think I’ve reached the stage that structurally my back isn’t going to get any better. So I’ve decided I’m going to adhere to the advice this time… . It’s not the way I intended it, but I have to be realistic as well. I’ve had a lot of fun, but I have other people I think about that are more important.”

HALL OF FAME

His final moment in an NHL uniform came on Nov. 28 in Montreal. Nieuwendyk took what would be the final shot of a shootout loss, getting blocked by Canadiens’ goalie Cristobal Huet. He ends with 564 goals to put him 19th all-time making him a prime candidate for induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2010.

“You don’t replace a guy like him,” Florida captain Olli Jokinen said. “He probably wasn’t 100 percent the two years he was here, but you never heard him complain about anything. He didn’t make a big deal about it. Guys knew he had back problems. You ask him how you’re doing? He said good. He never said anything that would be a distraction to the team. He never wanted to be that kind of a hero.”

Nieuwendyk played 15 games this season, scoring five goals and assisting on three others. He missed nine games because of his sore back.

According to Nieuwendyk, he has pronounced disc degenerations at L5-S1 in his spine where “there is bone bruising going on because of that,” he said.

“He can’t do it anymore because of his health,” said coach and general manager Jacques Martin. “He has three young children and a wife at home. You have to respect that. But in the time he was here, he really helped our organization. He helped me as a coach and he helped a lot of the players, and has been really positive.”

Martin and the Panthers praised Nieuwendyk for his commitment to the team – no matter where that team was located. Nieuwendyk played for five different organizations, and won the Cup in Calgary, Dallas and New Jersey.

Nieuwendyk played the past few seasons in pain, and briefly contemplated retirement after last season in which he missed a good portion because of back spasms. But, he finished strong and played in 65 games and recorded 56 points.

“He’s been awesome, he doesn’t even have to do much to have an influence,” said center Stephen Weiss. “It’s too bad to see. He’s a guy that everyone looks to on this team, and you can tell why he won during his career. What he did on the ice goes without saying, but I’ll remember him doing the little things off the ice. He’s such a good person. That’s what I’ll miss about him.”

`A GREAT FRIEND’

Gary Roberts grew up with Nieuwendyk in Ontario, Canada, the two becoming teammates for the first time when they were 5. Roberts, like Martin, knew of Nieuwendyk’s announcement beforehand, although it didn’t make things easier. Roberts came to Florida with Nieuwendyk moments after the free agency period opened on Aug. 1, 2005.

“We started together,” Roberts said then, “and we need to end together.”

Roberts says it’s a shame things didn’t work out the way either hoped they would.

“I’ve seen it over the last little while and knew it was becoming tougher and tougher for him to be able to play,” Roberts said. “But to see what Joe has been going through, and try and travel and play, has been tough. It was a very emotional day for him and for us… . We have a long history together and our families are very close. He’s a great friend and I feel very bad for him today.”

Nieuwendyk doesn’t know what his future will hold, although he has no plans to leave South Florida.

“We love it here,” he said of wife Tina and their three young children. “We have no interest in leaving.”

From Mercury News