It's a tough pill to swallow but the season is over for the Detroit Red Wings. Even tougher pill to swallow is that the Cup is in Pittsburgh. I'm not going to try and offer any type of analysis really because what's the point? The season's over, there are no more games to play. I will however try to just offer up some basic thought on the series.
- Brad Stuart will likely be the scapegoat, but he shouldn't be. Yeah, I know Stuart had two big mistakes in this game (three if you can't the first penalty of the game) and the mistakes eventually led to Pittsburgh goals. However, Stuart's not to be blamed completely. He played a heck of a postseason and really only had one or two bad games. It's not like he lost games 3,4, or 6 either.
- Marian Hossa has the Penguins nation laughing at him, and they should be. Hossa decided to flop teams after last years Finals and he offered up the excuse of the Red Wings being the better chance to win the Cup and at the beginning of the offseason they probably were more likely to win it. But, when you slap your former teammates in the face like that you better be able to put some points on the board to fend them off from taking the Cup from you.
- Poor Chris Osgood. The guy put all the naysayers in their place with his playoff effort (2.01 GAA, .926 SV%) and leaves empty handed. Oz was incredible in the series with a 1.87 GAA and stopping 93% of the shots he faced while earning a shutout. Osgood didn't give up but maybe 2 or 3 soft goals in the whole series and played great, his offense just let him down at times.
- Marian Hossa saga continues. He'll big a part of the offseason dealings. He'll either take up the salary for Hudler and Samuelsson or he'll move on to another team. Part of me says "good riddance" because of the way he more or less attempted to piggyback his way to holding the Cup. When you and I have as many goals as Hossa did in the series, you've gotta wonder if he was earning his keep. The other part of me feels a little bad for him. I can't really figure out why I feel bad for him, maybe it's just that he's been to the Finals two years in a row and still doesn't have a ring.
- Marc-Andre Fleury stood tall. Not much to this point except that Fleury was big when he needed to be and because of it, he's celebrating right now. This guy has tremendous upside and was not rattled on the big stage. His voice is also a little higher pitched than I expected.
- The Penguins role players stepped up when it was needed. Max Talbot, as we all know by now, was huge in Game 7 and the Staal, Cooke, Kennedy line was big in Game 6 and previous games. I didn't expect their depth to outshine ours. Not a knock on the Pens right there but I just didn't expect it.
- Tomas Holmstrom will be sore. Never before have I seen a guy so abused in a series and not get but maybe one penalty in his favor. I'm not trying to blame the refs for the loss but the amount of abuse Holmstrom took was flat out ridiculous. I know it's hockey and it's a rough sport but you still have to call the penalties when they occur. I counted numerous, and I mean numerous, times in each game in which Homer was slashed, crosschecked, elbowed, tripped, or some other form of roughed and still the calls didn't come. I'm not trying to make excuses here at all, just a little upset with the inconsistency of the officiating--but who isn't?
- Babcock outcoached? It's hard for me to think that as even being a possibility but Dan Bylsma certainly proved his worth in this series and the effort to turn the Pens season around. Pittsburgh played exceptional defensive hockey last night and pretty much limited Detroit to only shots from the point or boards. The forwards filled up the middle slot and the D-men occupied the low slot; forcing the only option to be shots from the point, which usually has a high percentage of working in the defense's favor. Babcock didn't adjust as Bylsma adjusted and our offense was feeble the last two games. Not faulting Babcock, but crediting Bylsma.
- Congratulations to the Penguins. I'm a die hard Red Wings fan at heart but can still admit defeat and accept that we were beaten by the better team. The Wings played incredible in the series but were beaten and that's the end of it.