Thursday, June 05, 2008
The Detroit Red Wings, stunned to have lost Game 5 at home in triple overtime, played a perfect road game Wednesday night at Mellon Arena, defeating the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2, in Game 6 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final to go wire-to-wire as the best team in the National Hockey League this season. "It's never easy," Wings goalie Chris Osgood said. "Toughest trophy in sports to win; it lives for that name every year, that nickname. It was difficult, again. Pittsburgh is a great young team ... gave us all we could handle. Probably one of the most difficult series I've played in a while. They have a talented team. They held on right to the end again. They kept pushing us still." Henrik Zetterberg was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player of the postseason and defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom became the first European captain to lift the Stanley Cup aloft. "It felt great being the first guy to touch the Cup on our team," the classy Lidstrom said. "Otherwise it felt the same as winning the previous ones, where you're so happy with the end result. You start training camp with a goal, and that is to win the Stanley Cup. You talk about it throughout the season and the way you have to play to be able to be successful in the playoffs," Lidstrom said. "And we had a good regular season, and we were able to carry that into the playoffs, too, and so that's something I'm more proud the way the team played in the playoffs, too. It was a tough loss last year against Anaheim in the conference finals, but most of the guys were on that team last year. And this time around, I thought the team really responded well to some of the adversity we faced throughout the run." The Wings won the Presidents' Trophy for the best record in the regular season and proved to be the best team in the postseason as well, utilizing the smart, selfless brand of puck-possession hockey that has become the trademark of coach Mike Babcock. "I probably haven't come to grips with that," Babcock said when asked his emotions after winning his first Stanley Cup. "But to be able to share this journey with the guys and to be able to share it with the city of Detroit, and obviously my family, that's very emotional. And I'm sure I'm going to have some emotional moments in the next week just thinking about it. But to have your name on the Stanley Cup, pretty special. The interesting thing is when you're playing in the Stanley Cup Final like this and it's a closeout game, the emotion on your bench is so much more than you've had to deal with," he said. "Getting guys on and off the ice is more difficult, and yet we have a real committed group. Nicklas Lidstrom, in my opinion, is a phenomenal leader and captain with his poise and his skill. And then the support group in (Chris) Chelios and (Kris) Draper. And (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg, for their leadership. You know, we have a very special team, and we're thrilled to be in this situation, obviously." The Wings last won the Cup in 2002, and prior to that in 1997 and '98.
Again, much love and respect goes out to the Pittsburgh Penguins for giving us an amazingly thrilling NHL Finals ... they proved that they are a team to be reckoned with and really made the Wings work for their victory. All my love goes out to my Detroit boys for bringing the Stanley Cup back home to Hockey Town. I can't wait to get back to Detroit Rock City to celebrate with my peeps. Put your hands up for Detroit, y'all ... our lovely city deserves much props today! [Source]