Like the great Ric Flair has said a time or two, “none of ya can be first, but you can be next”. So a belated congrats to the Tampa Bay Lightning for joining the Penguins in being back-to-back champions in the salary cap era.
Anyways, the Penguins still have a lot to look back on with pride in this era, something I’ve been thinking about lately Pension Plan Puppets drove the point home with a fun article worth a laugh for “How much is your NHL fanbase allowed to complain” where they go over such questions as “What do they complain about?” and What should they complain about?”. Accurately, here’s the brief passage about what the Pens and their fans have to be bitter about:
hahaha are you kidding
Perspectives like that put into focus some recent playoff struggles and point out just how great of a run the team has been on in the Sidney Crosby era, and present another reminder that winning is really hard in the NHL.
There’s this fun visual, which really high points the mid-career surge for Crosby and Evgeni Malkin:
It's been quite a run for the @TBLightning over the last two seasons.— NHL (@NHL) July 8, 2021
Where do they rank among the best teams of the past 15 years? #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/32gaS5raoK
Which is another outlook of this:
This graph is always fun to look at. pic.twitter.com/Uc65NMk5iV— Andrew Zadarnowski (@AZadarski) July 9, 2021
And going back 30 years, no city has seen Lord Stanley more than Pittsburgh!
Saimme uuden tuplamestarin! #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/THgPpSrM2B— NHL Suomi (@NHL_fi) July 9, 2021
The Pens are the only franchise in the league to win a Stanley Cup in the decade of the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. All this recent success in leagues with a lot of teams and parity makes them really one of the most impressive franchises around, trailing only a couple of teams around for 50+ years longer.
Here are the number of Stanley Cups each team has won, adjusted for the number of teams that were in the league when they won it.— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) July 8, 2021
This stat is designed to account for degree of difficulty and also make people mad at me. pic.twitter.com/rsGPmoBfS1
It kind of brings back that quote from Ed Helms at the end of the show The Office — “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” Well, folks, we’re in ‘em. That’s a line I’ve written before and will probably write again but isn’t a perspective that should be lost.
Now that’s a great way to go into a summer weekend, with an off-season looming where the Pens will look to build a squad to hopefully add some glory in the 2020’s to their longstanding run of excellence.