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Bonino Embodies the 2016 Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins had a disappointing start to their season but after a coaching change and an opportunity to fill-in for an injured Evgeni Malkin, center Nick Bonino has been a key performer during this playoff run.

Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

On March 1, this idiot was pretty confident in his tweet.

June 8, this same idiot thinks this guy could have a great game five and win the Conn Smythe.

Over three months time, Penguins center Nick Bonino went from bouncing around on the third and fourth lines to centering the best line in hockey with wingers Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel.

We shouldn't be surprised by Bonino's success in these playoffs.

He's won championships in high school in Connecticut, NCAA title with Boston University in 2009, and put up eight goals and seven assists in 30 playoff games with Anaheim and Vancouver.

Now, Bonino has a chance to lift Lord Stanley's Cup.

During these playoffs, Bonino has scored four goals and assisted on 13 others, pretty good numbers for a guy who was drawing the ire of idiots like myself.

Things have been so good for Bonino, even his name is generating goal calls like "Bonino, Bonino, Bonino"

But that's gravy as his most important role has been the yeomen like effort killing penalties, winning faceoffs, and playing sound defensive hockey with two guys who love to fly out of the defensive zone.

Everything about Bonino embodies what has been great about this run for the Penguins. He's sacrificed his body blocking shots at every opportunity, slammed his body into an opponent to doggedly win loose puck battles, and moved the puck up the ice quickly to generate a quick strike offense.

While his knees could be going numb from blocking so many shots and playing in 85 games, he's just one win away from the ultimate experience, a numb feeling for the kid from Farmington who dreamed of winning the Stanley Cup.