Pittsburgh Penguins: the Narrative SLAYERS by @DXTraeger



Folks, the Pittsburgh Penguins are this close to claiming the coveted "One for the Thumb" Stanley Cup Championship.  The men in Black & Gold can punch their ticket to the Finals with a win tonight in Ottawa.

Senators' fans are climbing all over each other in order to see their hometown squad stave off elimination...HAHAHA just kidding, the good folks in C-eh-N-eh-D-eh couldn't possibly care less:
GREAT DEALS in virtually every section of the arena tonight.

Much has been made about Ottawa's utter apathy toward what the Canadian sports media is desperately trying to make "Canada's Team," but as the great Michel Therrien once ranted, "Nobody cares."
"They say they do, but I know they don't."
Maybe that's because Ottawa lacks the charismatic star power of the Penguins (SPOILER ALERT: they do), or maybe that's because nobody outside of defiant & clueless New Jersey Devils fans want to watch an NHL team sit around in a boring 1-3-1 trap (SPOILER ALERT: they don't).

Regardless of the reason, the notion of the Ottawa Senators representing the fate of a nation that hasn't seen one of its own teams win the Stanley Cup since 1993 is but one of the many narratives shredded by a Pittsburgh Penguins team that appears hellbent on forging their own place in history.

Marc-Andre Fleury largely erased the long-held belief that he couldn't thrive in the post-season (back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals trips and a championship notwithstanding) by thoroughly outplaying two Vezina Trophy-winning goalies in Columbus's Sergei Bobrovsky and Washington Braden Holtby.

That Fleury was "benched" in lieu of last year's Stanley Cup-winning netminder Matt Murray is but an anomaly, as Fleury the "backup" was at the top of a very short list of Conny Smythe contenders at the time of his demotion prior to Game 4 of this Ottawa series.

The Penguins' front office has also dealt with the lingering notion that they had mismanaged the roster during Crosby's tenure and had "wasted" Pittsburgh's window of opportunity with Crosby, Malkin, Fleury et al. prior to last year's Cup run.

Now, of course, with a potential fourth trip to the NHL Finals and the chance for a third championship, the Penguins' suit ensemble of David Morehouse, Jim Rutherford, and the team's fourth coach in eight years seem competent beyond repute.

Finally, there's the narrative of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Despite winning MVP's, scoring titles, and leading the Penguins to the league's current longest consecutive stretch of playoff berths, 87 and 71's ability to return Pittsburgh to prominence was constantly questioned by hockey pundits.  Heck, Evgeni Malkin has been the subject of trade rumors for nearly half of his career in the Steel City.

And yet, here they are: leading the NHL playoffs in scoring while piloting a team that's but one one win away from the Finals, and five wins away from claiming their fifth Stanley Cup.
Pictured: Kevin Bieksa.  Also pictured: elaborate hockey metaphor.  Photo from Disney.

Should Crosby and Malkin "Old Yeller" that narrative...why, I suppose fans and critics will just have to simmer down and concede, "You know, they've done a hell of a job."

And what a wonderful world that would be.



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