Despite the best efforts of the Penguins last night the Stanley Cup Final is over. No more Pensblog, no more hockey, and no more Hockey Night in Canada theme song?!?!! I defend the CBC to a certain extent but it is criminal for them to think that they can toss Canada's most well-known song out the window because they don't want to pay for it. God, they really are some of the stupidest people on the planet.
Anyway, the Cup has gone to the Red Wings and not only did a European captain lead them there but a European player won the Conn Smythe. Can we leave this story alone now? There are just as many pansy North Americans (Derek Roy) as there are pansy Europeans (Aki Berg). I hope Zetterberg grows a massive ego and demands millions upon millions for being one of the top five players in the NHL but that doesn't happen with the Red Wings. Check out fellow SBN blogs Winging It In Motown and PensBurgh for reaction to the Final. Also, check out Abel to Yzerman and The Pensblog.
Ultimately, what lessons can the Leafs learn from the Red Wings? Everything. Seriously, I can't even begin to list them. From great scouting to the amazing player development that turns Henrik "4th line at best" Zetterberg into arguably the best player in the NHL to the loyalty shown to the organization by everyone the Red Wings are the blueprint for the entire NHL but especially so for the Leafs. Why? Because they are the 2020 Leafs. Once upon a time they were called the Dead Things. Even under Illitch's ownership they were still a joke but they got lucky and drafted a franchise player (Yzerman - whoever gets picked 7th) that changed the attitude of the team. They got a great hockey mind involved (Scotty Bowman - Brian Burke/Dave Nonis/Ron Wilson?) and they dedicated themselves to building a championship calibre infrastructure (are you reading MLSE?). There is hope for the Leafs and it wears a winged wheel. Greener says it best and it's something that a friend of mine has hammered away at:
I'm a very hopeful person. I think it can happen. But so much has to change for the Leafs to get to a place to really compete for the Cup. And when I say that, I mean win the Cup. Because as I watch yet another non Leaf team do it again, seriously, NOTHING else matters.
Every move the Leafs make has to be looked at through the prism of "does this move the Leafs closer to winning the Stanley Cup". Of course, bullshit like this is not the way to go about it. I'll choose to believe that MLSE didn't make an offensive offer despite not automatically making Wilson the highest paid coach in the NHL but then I am probably delusional because it's entirely within the realm of possibility.
So congratulations to the Wings and their fans. Thanks for giving us hope.