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01-20-2013, 11:26 AM
Big Phil
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
There was that non-icing call that really messed things up; and the too-many-men noncall for over a minute, iirc.

On a serious note, I don't believe that the Pens could have beaten a healthier Detroit team. Detroit was better in 2009 on paper than 2008. There was that scheduling gaffe where the NHL had said the playoffs would start a week after the last Conference final ended, and then changed their minds. Detroit had about 36 hrs, iirc, between ending with Chicago and starting up the next series. Of course, we always hear about injuries and that both sides play through them, but look at who was injured on the Wings. Lidstrom almost lost a testicle in the previous round and continued to play. Datsyuk missed the first 4 games maybe 5 games (someone can correct me). Hossa was playing with shoulder injury. Rafalski had chronic back pain, which ultimately had him retiring before his contract expired. Cleary had two ripped groin muscles on either side. Those are the ones I remember, but the I think as the series wore on and got tougher, they just ran out of gas. Looking back on it, I'm amazed they got to a game seven. I know Crosby got hurt towards the end, but the loss of Datsyuk would be comparable to the Pens playing at least half the series without Sid, for example.
Not sure I ever saw Datsyuk take over a game or a series the way Crosby did, but oh well. That being said this is what happens when you get into a series of "what ifs" in a scenario. A truly great team still wins. On the flip side what if Malkin doesn't wait until Game 5 of the 2008 final to get a point? Do the Penguins win then? Possibly. But the Wings were better in 2008 which is what a 7 game series is all about. Pittsburgh was a hungry, hungry team in 2009. Fleury was better, Staal was better, Malkin and Crosby were both better and the addition of Kunitz and Guerin helped out a lot. Gonchar was still there and Letang was just breaking out. Let's not forget, this was a stellar Pens team. We can "what if" until the cows come home and it all leads to the same conclusion - "what if" means "didn't"

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