14 out of 16 games. A number that if you would have told someone in mid November they would not believe. A number that made some of the best teams look like they belonged in the AHL. A number that threw a head coach into the Jack Adams talk and ignited a city that had been thrown out of hibernation.
14 out of 16. Something that you almost would not believe if you were not watching.
Something I almost could not believe while watching.
This team is special. You have heard it described in 12 different ways a week, but it all remains that it is something we may never see again in today’s NHL and the answer to how is almost as impressive as their statistics.
They believe in each other. It is a concept so basic that you teach it in kindergarten, but something rarely actually believed by teams and their players. They don’t lose, simply because they don’t believe they can lose.
It is also something widely missing from previous Penguins teams. Get a few goals on them? Fall apart. Get them to take a dumb penalty? Fall apart. Losses didn’t come by one goal, they came by 5. The team looked beaten before they even stepped on the ice. The reality is, they likely were beaten before they stepped on the ice.
Then Mike Sullivan happened. Numbers rarely lie. You can read them and see what he has done and it is beyond impressive. What has been more impressive, though, is how they win. They are scoring five goals in an NHL that does not allow easy scoring. Simply because they have the firm belief that if they work together and believe in their game plan they can’t lose.
You hear these players preach the right way and their game plan. They aren’t robotic in these responses. It has become a religion to them with the God in Mike Sullivan. He is their leader and he has proven to be correct.
They have made it fun again in this belief and action. They did more than say it. They live it.
So, thank you Penguins for waking up a city. Thank you Mike Sullivan for giving hope to a roster that was far too talented to not have these results.
And just think, it takes 16 games to drink from Lord Stanley.
Let’s go Pens.