Thursday, June 5, 2008 wins!

The Detroit Red Wings are the Stanley Cup Champions. There will be celebrations, a great deal of back slapping and the conversations which always start with “I told you in November…..”

In Pittsburgh the conversations will be about what happened. How the fairy tale could have ended without kissing the cup. There will be questions about coaching and the choice to not use Crosby on the penalty kill which led to reduced ice time for the kid when compared to the ice time of Detroit’s star forwards. There will be conversations about Malkin and his pressure/illness based collapse. There will also be conversations about puck luck, timing, one save here, one momentum swing there.

You can look for all the tiny indicators but the simple truth is Detroit was the better team and Pittsburgh is just not ready to win yet. Not yet mature enough, not yet experienced enough, not yet Stanley Cup ready.

Detroit had a marvelous season and capped it with a Cup victory. As I have said before, the only question I still have is (and will always be) unanswerable. Dallas in my estimation did all the heavy lifting for the Wings. Detroit never had to face the physical challenge of playing either Anaheim or San Jose. When they did play Dallas the Stars didn’t have much left in the tank. We will all just have to wonder if they could have met that physical challenge. The reality is Detroit played and beat every team put in front of them so second guessing the “what ifs” is a fools game left to us fools with Blogs and radio shows to chew on over and over again.

In only a few weeks we will all be forced by the inevitable hockey clock to ease up on our Cup reminiscences and start looking at what these 2 teams will look like next year. The RFA’s, the UFA’s, the draft picks and the surprise finds. The coaching vacancies, the GM vacancies and the health of the NHL.

Our league is now a 24/7/12 talking point. It is a discussion topic 365 days a year. Tedious to some, but I think a great sign that this league is now at the stage where there is rarely a time when fans don’t talk about it. That tells you it’s a part of their every day emotions. It has been that way through most of Canada for the better part of 100 years, but now it’s the same in many American markets too.

Congratulations Detroit!

Have a great summer….talking about hockey every day.

See you at the rink.

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