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Up-to-the minute updates and insights from the Red Wings locker room at home and on the road. By Chuck Pleiness of The Macomb Daily.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wings win Stanley Cup

PITTSBURGH -- There is no future. There is no past.
No games to be played tomorrow. No reason to rehash what happened last week.
What there is in Hockeytown is the present, only today. For today, the Detroit Red Wings are champions of the NHL, owners of the Stanley Cup after a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wednesday, in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final.
It wasn't over, however, until a last-second shot by Pittsburgh sniper Marian Hossa danced along the goal line behind goalie Chris Osgood and out of harm's way as the buzzer sounded.
"I don't know how many seconds were left, but when I saw the puck behind the net and I looked up and it was 0:00 on the game clock, I was a pretty happy man," said Henrik Zetterberg, who was named the playoff MVP.
For the Red Wings franchise, it was the 11th Stanley Cup, the fourth in the past 11 seasons.
For 16-year NHL veteran Dallas Drake, this was a first. The same for the entire province of Newfoundland -- one of 10 in Canada -- whose native son Dan Cleary became the first Newfoundlander to win a Stanley Cup. And it was a first for Europe, which has never seen a native like Nicklas Lidstrom captain a Cup winner before. And it was a first for Darren Helm, who had all of seven regular-season games to his credit before becoming a playoff regular.
For other Red Wings, this was the fourth taste from the Cup -- Lidstrom, Kris Draper, Tomas Holmstrom, Kirk Maltby and Darren McCarty. For Osgood, Brian Rafalski and Chris Chelios, this was a third championship. For McCarty, who was out of hockey in October and in bankruptcy court last summer, this was redemption.
"Just like everyone says … when you're a little boy, you play on the driveway and you play for the Stanley Cup," said Brett Lebda. "I did it when I was young. To be able to lift it now and have it as a real experience is unbelievable."
All the Red Wings are champions right now. The Penguins, flightless birds, lost this battle with the Wings.
Detroit took a 2-0 lead just before this game was half over. Rafalski scored on the power play 5:03 into the contest. Valtteri Filppula doubled the Red Wings' advantage 8:07 into the second period when he reached around defenseman Brooks Orpik to tuck a rebound through goalie Marc-Andre Fleury's legs.
The Red Wings wound up needing both of those goals and another to secure the championship.
"It's such a long haul, you don't realize how hard it is to get here, let alone lift (the Stanley Cup) over your head," said Drake.
Evgeni Malkin started the Penguins' rally with a power-play goal seven minutes after Filppula's tally.
Zetterberg put the Red Wings ahead, 3-1, with 12:24 left in the third period. His shot went through Fleury's legs and sat behind the netminder. Before anyone noticed it, Fleury reached back and pushed the puck over the goal line.
With 1:27 on the clock, the Penguins drew to within a goal when Hossa redirected a power-play shot past goalie Osgood.
"It's tough," said Osgood. "It's never easy. Toughest trophy in sports to win. It lives for that name every year, that nickname. It was difficult again. Pittsburgh is a great young team, gave us all we could handle. Probably one of the most difficult series I've played in a while."
After Hossa's goal came a late flurry of Pittsburgh chances that only ended when the buzzer sounded.
"I just couldn't believe it was over and I was a Stanley Cup champion," said Cleary. "I was so focused. I turned around and Ozzie (Osgood) was jumping and I knew it was over."
That led to Lidstrom lifting the Stanley Cup. As captain, he handed it first to Drake, the veteran who had never been to a Cup final before.
"I started thinking about it actually in the first round," said Lidstrom. "I didn't tell anyone about it. But I started thinking about if we went the whole way, who should be the guy I gave it to first. And looking at all the players on our team, Dallas is one of the first ones I played with. … He had a long, good career."
Thus, Detroit avoided hosting the first Stanley Cup final Game 7 since 1955. That, however, is about the past and the future. In the present, the Red Wings are champions.


Anonymous Mike said...

Thanks Bruce, for your updates all season long. I come to your blog everyday looking for Wings info. My friends and family thought I was a genius when I "predicted" line combos game after game. All that credit goes to you.

Have a good offseason, ENJOY IT, You've earned it.

June 5, 2008 at 5:21 PM 
Anonymous Thomas said...

I definitely second what Mike said.


June 6, 2008 at 7:34 AM 
Anonymous CapsFan said...

Congrats to the Detroit Red Wings on their Stanley Cup. The wings were very imprressive and showed how a team can with few top draft picks can play a system so effectively and shut down a star-studed roster. Kudos! Though I am a Capitals fan, I heav always respected the Wings. One thing though. Can the fans in the front couple of rows at the Joe please sit down and stop waving to the camera constantly?!?!?! It is very distracting and quite annoying. O.K. we get it, you're on TV whoopie-doo! Now sit down, watch the game and stop acting like third graders! Whew, glad to finally get that out...Sorry for the rant. Again, Congrats to a classy, well managed organiztion!

June 6, 2008 at 1:12 PM 
Anonymous Jdunc said...

Agreed Bruce, I don't know if this is your last post, but please keep us updated in the Rumor mill this summer, and please come back next year!

June 6, 2008 at 4:25 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bruce-

any chance you could do a follow up post at some point detailing all the bumps and bruises the Wings accumulated and played through? Especially curious as to what really happened with Franzen...

June 6, 2008 at 11:40 PM 
Anonymous mike canada said...

I've got to echo everyone else's sentiments in here....thanks for everything Bruce, and please keep it up!!

June 7, 2008 at 5:38 PM 

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