Last night the Penguins held a 10-year reunion for their first Stanley Cup in the Sidney Crosby / Evgeni Malkin era when they welcomed back most all of the 2009 team. The Pens always do a tremendous job with items like this, and right from the beginning with the opening video, this was no different.
The players below from left to right:Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Ruslan Fedotenko, Tyler Kennedy, Bill Guerin, Mark Eaton, Sergei Gonchar, Rob Scuderi, Craig Adams, Mathieu Garon, Philippe Boucher and Eric Godard.
When you win together, you're family for life.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 6, 2019
Welcome home, boys. pic.twitter.com/HiEfuOlaVF
Hal Gill isn’t in the above picture but he was on-hand as well. Also not pictured above as he prepped for the game (from the other side) was Chris Kunitz, who was given a special welcome back by the Pens and the crowd. This was prior to Kunitz scoring a goal, his first one of the season and with the Blackhawks.
Some of the champs couldn’t make it: Pascal Dupuis was conspicuous with his absence after a recent verbal battle with current coach Mike Sullivan, but it was said that Dupuis was invited and confirmed to come, but had to scrap a trip to Pittsburgh last minute due to a family medical issue (hopefully all is well there).
Marc-Andre Fleury, of course is the starting goalie for the Vegas Golden Knights. He sent in a video that was met to the predictable rapturous response from the Pittsburgh faithful:
Always here in our hearts, Flower.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 7, 2019
Thanks for everything - especially that epic save back in 2009. pic.twitter.com/54LW4CuD8u
Along with Fleury, the other hero of the fateful Game 7 versus the Red Wings, Max Talbot, is also still playing in Russia’s KHL but he was also able to send in a video to the Pittsburgh fans and his old teammates.
The videos kept on coming, there was former general manager Ray Shero.
Ray Shero sending his regards! pic.twitter.com/3AMyYiD9aO— Brian Metzer (@Brian_Metzer) January 7, 2019
As well as current players on other teams like Alex Goligoski and Brooks Orpik. The team’s coach, Dan Bylsma, also sent one in. Not many were counting on hearing from guys like Shero, Bylsma and Orpik so it certainly was a pleasant surprise to see them check in and also contribute. About the only MIA members from this celebration would be Petr Sykora, Miroslav Satan, Matt Cooke and Jordan Staal. Hopefully they’ll be able to be involved the next time around.
It was pretty disappointing that this game, of all games, wasn’t broadcast on AT&T Sportsnet. The Pittsburgh broadcast does an excellent job at linking in the pre-game ceremonies and following closely along with special events like this. They would have done a wonderful job covering it. Instead, since it was a national broadcast, the announcers barely glossed over what was going on, and understandably so since it’s a national focus being broadcast to a majority of the audience that is not Penguin fans. Still, for this one, the television product would have been much better for Penguins’ fans to have been able to watch the hometown crew on this one.
In the end, as Ray Shero’s dad once said- when you win the Cup you walk together forever. It’s difficult to believe it’s been ten years already, and great to see that so many of the 2009 Pens who are linked with a special bond whenever they make it back to Pittsburgh.