Stanley Cup Smush

by Ryan


For reasons I still don’t understand, I didn’t watch Game Six live. Instead of watching what might have been the last hockey game of the year, I watched the Bisons almost get no-hit at chilly Coca Cola Field. My rationale is very questionable at best, but facts are facts.

Either way, after postgame was over and my car was started, the third period had just began. WGR happened to have the Penguins feed on, and so for the next twenty minutes or so I took in a good eight minutes of the third period from the Penguins perspective.

What I learned was that 1) I’m not a fan of that broadcast team at all, and 2) what was bearable was that the number of “battles” won along the boards by the Penguins was noticeable, hometown bias aside. Now with this significant slant in mind, I caught the last 10 minutes of the third, and just now I re-watched the entire game.

The things I thought I heard on the radio broadcast were indeed there on the DVR, so I suppose that’s good. It didn’t surprise me that Pittsburgh showed more intensity than Detroit on home ice, but it was quite surprising just how similar this game felt to the first two games of this series.

With the stars of both teams neutralized, it was the third and fourth line play that was the difference last night. This time, instead of guys like Justin Abdelkader coming through it was Tyler Kennedy. Instead of Sidney Crosby playing a strong game and remaining pointless it was Pavel Datsyuk.

Now these comparisons don’t have any bearing on who has pressure on who come Friday, but I think it’s interesting that we’ve come to this point with games that have been very similar. The mood surrounding this series has gone from Detroit’s dominance to Pittsburgh’s spunk and all the way back again.

We came into the Finals hearing just how much more prepared Pittsburgh was this time around. They were ready this time, they belonged. After the first two games it sure didn’t seem that way, but two games later everyone was ready to see the Penguins finally solve Joe Lewis Arena.

Then Saturday happened, and the Penguins were left for dead once again. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Cup Finals with such huge swings in momentum after every game. In reality the games have been relatively close (save for Game Five, of course) but the feeling afterwards has been nowhere near the one-goal games we’ve seen.

Sometime over the next 24 hours we’ll have to figure these things out, but for now let’s try to savor the extra two days of the season. Once the Cup goes out, the summer only gets longer.