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Friday, August 25, 2017

Friday Flashback: Stanley Cup #2

Summer gives us time to look back and reflect on the hockey season.  It gives us time to remember years gone by.  It's time to go back and remember some of the most memorable moments in team history.  This week it's time for Sir Stanley's second trip to Pittsburgh.


The Penguins learned how hard it would be to win the Cup in 1991.  They knew, based on the year before, that changes would be made to the team to get them there.  The moves that would do it seemed bold and surprising at the time, but would prove to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

Starting with trade Paul Coffey to the Los Angeles Kings, they would then trade young gun Mark Recchi to hated rival Philadelphia for Rick Tocchet, Kjell Samuelsson, and Ken Wregget.  These moves helped shake up and form a team that came in to the playoffs in third place but would look to repeat as champions.

First came the Washington Capitals.  Six games is all it took to break them.  Next up?  The Rangers and The Slash.  A slash to the hand of Mario Lemieux by Adam Graves broke 66's hand and left him sidelined for five games as the Penguins went on to close the Rangers out in five games with Graves missing the remaining three of the series with a suspension from his slash.

The Penguins played with a new poise and purpose after seeing Mario go down.  From that point on they would not lose a game.  Three in a row against the Rangers led to a four game sweep of the Boston Bruins in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Their next opponent in the Cup?  The Chicago Blackhawks.  Only four wins stood between the Penguins and their second second straight up and it would take them just four games to reach that mark.



11 straight wins to close out the playoffs, a total domination of the NHL's best from the second round on.  It was the hallmark of the second Cup for the Pittsburgh Penguins.  The perfect way to close out two in a row, the second of what seemed like many more to come.  Unfortunately the league chose another option.

The trap, injuries, and an escalating salary structure would harm the Penguins best chances at any more Cups in the Lemieux/Jagr era.  As a result we're all left with a sense of "what if" and "what could have been" that will never truly be resolved.

Join us next week for Friday Flashback.

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