Navigating the Stanley Cup playoffs requires intensity in each moment and respect for the big picture, quick bursts of energy and a well of endurance, scaling emotional highs and displaying restraint. “The schedule is brutal and it’s demanding,” Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel said. The playoffs have become such a war of attrition that no team has repeated as champion since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998. “You take your knowledge from the year before, of knowing that you can lose games, you can have ups and downs, but as long as you can string together four out of seven you can win any series, and we always go in with the belief we can win any series,” said Pittsburgh left wing Chris Kunitz, whose double-overtime goal in Game 7 against Ottawa propelled the Penguins back to the Final.
The Detroit Red Wings saw their playoff streak come to an end earlier this spring, but their farm team in Grand Rapids continues its postseason run, qualifying for the Calder Cup final. The Griffins clinched a spot in the championship series with a 4-2 win against the San Jose Barracuda on Saturday. It has been during this playoff run that a trio of prospect forwards seem to have left quite an impression on Detroit’s coaching staff, led by Jeff Blashill.
I suppose the simple answer to this would be because I was born into it, however, that is only a mere piece of the puzzle. Since a young age, hockey, and more importantly, FLYERS hockey was the Philadelphia sport of choice in my household. Although I was born after the Cup glory years, I still had the privilege of watching the hometown team compete for hockey's grandest prize year after year. The loss in 1987 was heartbreaking, as was the sweep at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings following the 1996-97 campaign. The orange and black came close again in 2010, but alas, still no parade down Broad Street in my lifetime. I am a self-proclaimed 'mega fan'; I can go toe-to-toe with the best. However,