For some reason I can't log in with my username from my parents' basement so thanks to MLB for lending me his (dormant) account.
The long hockey season is finally over. More than 1200 games later and the Penguins' tank jobs and threats of relocation have been vindicated, their fans can believe that they are not bandwagoners (obviously they are for the most part), and we should be prepared to read that the Leafs should trade every NHL-calibre player that they have on their roster to ensure at least a half decade of propping up the league just like Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Model will be ubiquitous in the Toronto media and the Detroit Model will go by the wayside. Maybe they'll look at the fact that the Wings are headed towards some salary cap problems or that going cheap in goaltending will eventually cost you (nice work on that second goal Ozzie. Talbot will never score on the three feet of wide open net). Mostly, they'll all laugh at Maid Marian Hossa. As my dad said, it's fitting that as a former senator he was completely invisible during the series and especially so during game seven. At least he didn't score the Cup-winner into his own net. Amirite Chris Phillips?
Anyway, it was a tough game to watch mostly because you're watching another team and fanbase celebrate knowing that the Leafs are so far away from winning it themselves. That's a sickening feeling. Penguins fans just had to wait 17 years and one massive leap off of the bandwagon to see another Cup. Meanwhile, we've actually stuck around during tough times and are still waiting patiently...Not that the Leafs didn't impact this series.
At last year's trade deadline the Leafs moved Hal Gill to the Penguins for a
third round pick second and fifth rounder. Gill helped the Pens make it to game six of the final before bowing out. This year at the deadline Ray Shero brought Gill some more support.
In the final Gill was a + 2 on a team that was outscored 17-14 throughout the series to go along with a +8 rating for the playoffs which was good enough for 10th best. He didn't get any shots or points but he provided what he always has provided: a solid, dependable defensive effort. Personally, I was happiest to see him raise the Cup.
But the Leafs' influence didn't end there. On February 14th the Leafs handed the Penguins a second spanking that saw Malkin and Tyler Kennedy manhandled by Luke Schenn while Max Talbot watched on in fear. The next day the Penguins' transformation began as Michel Therrien was canned (not the last coach to get his walking papers courtesy of the Leafs) to be replaced by Disco Dan Bylsma. Max Talbot learned what being a man was all about which undoubtedly led to him scoring two goals last night in game seven. Perhaps most importantly, as Chemmy pointed out to Ray Shero, the Penguins realized that they needed depth in order to win the big prize and that's just what Shero picked up at the trade deadline.
So along with a hearty congratulations on a long, morally bankrupt trip back to the mountain top to Frank D and Hooks Orpik at Pensburgh and Derek, Adam, and Charlie at The Pensblog I offer a big You're Welcome from the Maple Leafs. You couldn't have done it without us.