Jun 152009
 

I think Penguins’ victory over the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals is one of the most underrated upsets in recent memory. For all the skills of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Marc-Andre Fleury (and apparently Max Talbot as well), the Red Wings were so much deeper and more experienced than the Penguins.

Let’s compare the players by position for Detroit to those of Pittsburgh.

Red Wings Penguins
Centers
Pavel Datsyuk Sidney Crosby
Henrik Zetterberg Evgeni Malkin
Valtteri Filppula Jordan Staal
Darren Helm Tyler Kennedy
Kris Draper Max Talbot
Left Wingers
Johan Franzen Ruslan Fedotenko
Jiri Hudler Chris Kunitz
Tomas Kopecky Matt Cooke
Ville Leino Pascal Dupuis
Right Wingers
Dan Cleary Bill Guerin
Marian Hossa Miroslav Satan
Mikael Samuelsson Petr Sykora
Tomas Holmstrom Craig Adams
Kirk Maltby Eric Godard
Defensemen
Nicklas Lidstrom Sergei Gonchar
Niklas Kronwall Kris Letang
Brian Rafalaski Brook Orpik
Brad Stuart Rob Scuderi
Jonathan Ericcson Mark Eaton
Brett Lebda Hall Gill
Andreas Lilja Philippe Boucher
Goalies
Chris Osgood Marc-Andre Fleury

To me, it’s evident that the Red Wings are deeper and have greater overall skill than the Penguins. I don’t believe for a second that Pittsburgh wanted it more than Detroit. Perhaps age had to do with something to do with it but Detroit surely didn’t look old in winning 3 games at home.

I’m searching for some type of comparison to fully highly the magnitude of this upset. It’s not quite Giants over Patriots in the Superbowl but it’s not far off. While the Red Wings weren’t as dominant as that Patriots team, they have been the class of the NHL for the better part of the past decade. They have won in all aspects of the game – execution, timing, skill, talent, depth, money, coaching and scouting. And unlike New England – class as well.

pens_celebration

The Penguins chipped the puck in behind the goal continuously. They played possession as much as possible. They threw the puck at Chris Osgood at every chance. They stood toe-to-toe with one of the top 2-3 finest organizations in sports and didn’t back down.

Bottomline: The Penguins outworked a team with superior depth of talent.

Red Wings Penguins
Pavel Datsyuk Sidney Crosby
Henrik Zetterberg Evgeni Malkin
Valtteri Filppula Jordan Staal
Darren Helm Tyler Kennedy
Kris Draper Max Talbot
Johan Franzen Ruslan Fedotenko
Jiri Hudler Chris Kunitz
Tomas Kopecky Matt Cooke
Ville Leino Pascal Dupuis
Dan Cleary Bill Guerin
Marian Hossa Miroslav Satan
Mikael Samuelsson Petr Sykora
Tomas Holmstrom Craig Adams
Kirk Maltby Eric Godard
Nicklas Lidstrom Sergei Gonchar
Niklas Kronwall Kris Letang
Brian Rafalaski Brook Orpik
Brad Stuart Rob Scuderi
Jonathan Ericcson Mark Eaton
Brett Lebda Hall Gill
Andreas Lilja Philippe Boucher
Chris Osgood Marc-Andre Fleury
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