The heat was oppressive. There was less space in Point State Park than in the slot protecting a two-goal lead. And yet a few hundred thousand Pittsburgh Penguins fans had a day they will never forget, created memes which will never die and Ron Hainsey had a pair of jeans that would never again be worn like jeans.
This is the story as told by my cell phone and presence in the small roped off media area at the park and by wandering the streets. The Penguins earned a moment in the sun. They had accomplished something reserved for only the most special teams: A back-to-back championship. And they did it with mostly the same team.
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The nuns were present, we thought we were seeing the last of Matt Cullen and we were treated to one cringe-worthy moment, which when you see the photo will still make you cringe in Steve Carrell as Michael Scott awkwardness.
No, this photo isn’t of the average Tuesday morning. Even the City Works crew couldn’t wait.
Sorry boys, I couldn’t resist a little chirp.
Patric Hornqvist and Justin Schultz were enjoying their day, too.
Silly me, I focused on Schultz drinking the beer rather than a wider shot. This moment has spawned only a million, perhaps Billion memes. It remains my favorite moment. On that second run, they were wrapped tighter than a CD at Walmart. The entire run had a certain feeling of inevitability but also of 25 guys just trying to stay on their feet. The Pittsburgh Penguins were beaten, battered, hammered, pounded and punched, but they kept playing. When they finally won, there was no energy left to be inhibited. They let it all out.
And when they let it go, it was a sight.
These guys had the right idea. The Penguins certainly disagreed in the spring of 2018, but in the moment, no one cared.
And of course, the nuns. Where have the nuns gone?
The Penguins finally hit the stage. It was a bittersweet moment. Just a few days later, Marc-Andre Fleury was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the Exansion Draft. He badly wanted to close out the Cup in net, but was gracious throughout. Matt Murray’s look probably says it all.
Matt Cullen (retiring? nope) whose boys tortured Ron Hainsey for wearing jeans. No good photos or angles were available, but at the back of the stage, the boys hacked at Hainsey’s jeans. By the time they were done, Hainsey was sporting an expensive pair of Daisey Dukes.
It was that kind of day.