This month, the great Puck Daddy blog over at Yahoo is running a series called Essentials. They list a bunch of categories and a blogger for each team answers it and explains why. The categories range from the obvious (Player) to the obscure (Arena Food).
I thought it would be fun for followers of this blog to make their own nominations and see how closely they agree with whoever does the one for the Pens. I’ll start.
Player: Duh! I’m sure I could list 66 reasons why it’s Mario, but only one matters. There would be no NHL in Pittsburgh if it wasn’t for him.
Season: It has to be 1990-91, the year of the first Cup. You had the two big trades that put the finishing touches on, a Game 7 win in Round 1, the series comeback over the Bruins, and the exhilarating Final series.
Game: Now it gets a little tougher. There are many. The four overtime game against the Caps in 96. Mario’s comeback game. But for me, it has to be the comeback win against Chicago in Game 1 in 1992. Jagr’s tying goal and Mario’s winner make this one the most special to me.
Goal: Now, it gets really tough. Either of the above might qualify. How about Nedved’s winner against the Caps? Kasper’s winner past Hasek? Mario’s breakaway to beat Snow in his (first) retirement game? The Jagr goal set up by Mario in his comeback game? Geno’s backhander past Ward? Staal’s shorty in Game 6 in 2009? I could go on. But for my money, I’ll take the Jagr goal against the Hawks. Incredible skill at the most clutch of times.
Trade: (Sidenote: I find it funny that in the blog I linked to, the best Stars trade is the Hatcher for Zubov deal.) On the good side for the Pens, how can it be anything but the steal that brough Francis and Ulfie (not to mention Grant Jennings) from the Whalers? Thank you, E.J.
Unsung Hero: How about two? Rob Scuderi and Hal Gill. Without their shutdown abilities (which didn’t garner much attention at the time), they don’t win it all in 2009. And they have been sorely missed ever since.
Franchise Villain: Oh, there are many. Most of them wear black and orange. Bobby Clarke. Chris Pronger. Scott Fartsmell. You could go Islanders and david Volek. You could go back to the old days for Barclay Plager. But I think one guy gets more boos than anyone, so I choose Jaromir Jagr. His petulance got him run out of town, they got nothing in return, then his signed with the hated Flyers after leading everyone to believe he’d come back to Pittsburgh.
Fight: Boy, this is one I’m not good at. I just don’t tend to recall this type of thing.
Coach: How can it be anyone other than Badger Bob? He changed the culture of the franchise.
Broadcaster: Another easy one. Great balls of fire, who else could it be but Mike Lange?
Arena Behavior/Tradition/Trend: This is tough, since I don’t get to very many games. Cotton candy guy? The Hulkster? I need help.
Arena Food: See above.
Swag (jersey, hat, shirt, gear, etc.): Again, no idea.
What say you folks?