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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Remember Last Year?

The Penguins are in the Stanley Cup Finals for the fifth time in franchise history.  We know this is no longer a dream because Game 1 is tomorrow night, on Consol ice no less.  A year ago, though?  This seemed too far fetched to be true.  Oh how far we've come.



Last year feels far more than a year ago.  Last year feels like a lifetime ago.  It certainly doesn't feel like this team in this city.

Last year we were told the window had shut.

Last year we were told it was time to rebuild.

Last year we were told that summer would be the year everything would change, that Crosby and Malkin would no longer be, that we might as well forget ever seeing the Cup again.

And as much hyperbole and BS as this was then, and now, none of it felt too far fetched.  This was a team that was on a different coach and seemed stale, stagnant, indifferent.  Luck never seemed to go their way.  They could never stay healthy.  The seemed to be rotten from the core and peddlers of questionable wares were telling all who would hear that change was coming, to prepare.

Last year was a defining year, one that would change the history of his core and mark it down as a failure.  That's what the ominous figures foretold as much, and as loud, as possible.

Last year it was easy to shake a Magic 8 Ball and get the answers you were looking for.  "Is this franchise done?"  It is certain.  "Will one of Malkin or Crosby be traded?"  Without a doubt.  "Has this core failed?  Will they never be successful again?"  As I see it, yes.

Last year no one believed in this team.  More injuries, more tepid play, more apathy.

Last year the pressure seemed too much for core players, and those who spout poison seemed to feed their chosen narrative to make all who observe sold on their garbage.

Last year was a lifetime ago.

Last year was a changing time for this franchise.  They were right.  About everything else they were wrong.

Here we are, none of the core changed.  In place are still Crosby, Malkin, Letang, and Fleury.  Added was Phil Kessel at the cost of little-to-nothing.  Added was Carl Hagelin, for a player who never really found his footing.  Added was the depth long been asked for by those who observe from below the ivory towers of those who soothsay doomsday and deliver nothing.

Last year was a lifetime ago.  Renewed are Crosby, Malkin, Letang.  Renewed are the spirits of the fan base.  Renewed are the hopes and future of this franchise.  Wide open is the window they deemed closed.

Four wins to glory.  Glory that seemed so unlikely last year.
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