Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Pens VS Redwings Pre-Game Review (or Stanley Cup Final Preview?)

This game has mostly been referred to as the "Stanley Cup Final Rematch," but alot of articles have also called it a SCF Preview. There's alot of us who believe that these two teams could very well meet each other again at this season's Stanley Cup Final.

I'm not going to sugar-coat it, this game tonight will be a tough one, but it'll make for an exciting 60 minutes (if the Pens come to play the entire game and not give up in the 3rd!)!

The Pens must to be in top form tonight and they'll need each player to give no less than his very best play for the full 60 minutes or else our team doesn't stand a chance against Detroit, but I believe our boys know this and will perform accordingly.

Former Penguin (and organization traitor) Marian Hossa has been on fire for Detroit chalking up an amazing   8 goals and 9 assists for a total of 17 points in 13 games so far this season (with two of those goals being scored in their previous game against the New Jersey Devils). That is impressive and I will be the first to admit it appears that Hossa made the right decision and that Detroit is a better fit for him than Pittsburgh was / would have been. 

However, I am like most other fans and still hold onto the resentment I have for him; but unlike alot of them, I do not resent him for the simple fact that he chose Detroit over Pittsburgh. No - that's totally his "personal choice," as he put it. What I am and will forever be upset about is the precious time that he cost the Penguins organization by taking so much time to make his decision.  He played a large part in placing Penguin's GM Ray Shero's back against the wall by being unable to offer deals to a number of valuable UFA that were a vital part of the team that led us to two games away from the Stanley Cup who ultimately had no other choice but to find deals elsewhere -- players like Ryan Malone, Jarkko Ruutu among a number of others. Who knows how else this would've ended if Hossa wouldn't have drug his feet on the whole thing - it was just a bad situation altogether. We may have had a chance at keeping more of the same team although at this point, it appears that it ended up better for everyone since the Penguins are also off to their best season start since the 1995-1996 season which is also quite impressive.

So, when I read about Max Talbot being upset about Hossa's choice to bail on the Penguins, I can relate with him to a point.  And quite honestly, he may not be the only Penguin player to feel this way, but he is the only player forward enough to voice it - and that's Max, after all (I wouldn't have him any other way - good ol' Max!).
"Oh, yeah," Talbot said.  "There's [anger].  You can't forget about something like that because everybody in the organization and [the player], we expected him to come back.  We thought he was comfortable here, and he was really good with [Sidney Crosby as his center], and stuff.

"The way he left was kind of, [a blow] to the heart, but
 you have to live with that ... You have to respect his decision, but, for us, it's not the best thing that could have happened."
I give Max credit.  His statement is not so much negative as it is heartfelt and it illustrates the loyalty he has for the team which is echoed throughout the locker room and to the media by all the players.

And you can't fault him [the players, or me] for that!!

Let's hope this picture is part of their bulletin board material for tonight's game.  It makes my skin crawl, so I can't imagine what it must feel like to them!

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