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Steigerwald: Curse Smashville; Pens Championship Window Wide Open



Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup Sidney Crosby
Sidney Crosby with the Stanley Cup by Joey Gannon | CC BY-SA 2.0

If there’s not a curse for booing the Stanley Cup, somebody needs to start one. Fans booing the Cup presentation in Nashville Sunday night should be right up there with the curse of the billy goat.

Back in 1945 a bar owner put a curse on the Cubs because they kicked his smelly billy goat out of Wrigley Field. The curse apparently worked until last year when the Cubs finally won the World Series.

Predators fans deserve to wait 60 or 70 years before the Stanley Cup shows up in their building again.

Staying to watch the team you rooted against skate around your building holding the Stanley Cup is not a lot of fun. That’s what makes it such a great tradition unique to hockey.

You know, kind of like the handshake line. How much fun do you think the Predators had to wait for the Penguins to stop celebrating on their ice before lining up?

It’s a great tradition. It’s also an old-fashioned display of sportsmanship.

Remember sportsmanship?

Maybe somebody can write a country song about it.

Predators fans had a lot to be upset about, not the least of which was the goal that was waived off in the second period because of a premature whistle.

They’ll remember that and wonder if it cost them the Stanley Cup the same way that Buffalo Bills fans remember the Music City Miracle in January of 2000.

The Bills went head of the Titans 16-15 on a field goal with 16 seconds left in a wild card game. The Titans threw an across-the-field lateral on the kickoff and it went for a touchdown and the Titans ended up going to the Super Bowl.

You could probably find a few hundred thousand people in Western New York who will go to their graves believing that it was an illegal forward pass and not a lateral.

Most of them probably loved the quick whistle.

I guarantee you that, as you’re reading this, there are a few hundred songwriters in Nashville writing a song about it.

I have a suggestion for a title. A Quistle (quick whistle-get it?) Broke My Heart.

If you know more about hockey than the average Predators fan or, by some accounts, too many in the Tennessee media, you know that the Predators had lots of opportunities to overcome the call.

They had four power plays. The Penguins had none.

And that included 32 seconds of a five-on-three.

Do you think the Predators played 60 minutes of intense, frenzied Stanley Cup Final hockey without committing an infraction?

Especially against a team and a spoiled player who Predators fans were told gets all the calls?

If the Penguins had lost the game, people in Western Pa. would be talking about the swallowed whistle.

Swhistle? Sorry. Never mind.

So, while hungover songwriters in Nashville are working on songs to soothe their bleeding hearts, whoever plans parades in Pittsburgh is working on another one.

That’s three parades for Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Chris Kunitz and Marc-Andre Fleury, which is one more than Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, Kevin Stevens, Jaromir Jagr and Tom Barrasso got as players.

We know there won’t be any more parades for Lemieux and his buddies as players but is there any reason to believe that this will be the last one for Crosby and Malkin?

Who will be the favorite to win the Stanley Cup next year?

How can it not be the Penguins?

Fleury will be gone so they’ll no longer have one of the best goaltending tandems in NHL history, but the Penguins have shown the last two years that they have NHL-ready players in their farm system.

Daniel Sprong may or may not be ready for prime time but he’s apparently too good for the QMHL. He had 32 goals in 31 games playing for the Charlottetown Islanders.

You’ll be hearing about how the Penguins have played too many games in their back-to-back runs to the Cup and how they’ll be too tired next May to do it again.

There are lots of reasons for believing that they can’t make it three in a row but I’m not buying that one.

They were supposed to be too tired to win this one.

And has any Cup winner had a tougher road than the Penguins had this year – opening up with two 100- point teams including the President’s Trophy winner, with two seven-game series including a Game 7 double overtime?

The Crosby-Malkin window that looked like it was closing a couple of years ago is still wide open.

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John has over 40 years experience doing just about everything you can do in Pittsburgh sports, including work at KDKA (TV and Radio), WTAE, the Tribune-Review and many more. Author of Just Watch The Game. Columnist and opinion writer here and at Pittsburgh Sports Now. You can regularly find John on Twitter and Facebook.

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5 years ago

I was fortunate enough to be in Chicago Stadium in 1992 when the Pens won Game 4 in a very exciting game. The Chicago fans were 100% class after the game and during the Cup ceremony. The idiots in Nashville were the total opposite.

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