This was the first Cup celebration in a long time I could watch without wanting to puke. A lot of it, obviously, has to do with the Pens. Malkin is the best player in the league. Guys like Fleury and Staal came of age under the bright lights. Say what you will about Crosby, but he delivered. Warriors like Guerin and Talbot showed their worth.
But the Canuck diehard in me kept watching for #24, Matt f'ing Cooke. Perhaps you never liked him as a Canuck, the fact he always seemed to take an extra stride to level a borderline legal hit. Or the fact he never fought or took painful penalities (though he has a lot of company in that category).
But he was a Vancouver Canuck for nine seasons, including his best year to date (42 points in 02-03). He filled in when Bertuzzi went down, he did this and quietly ran the Cooke Foundation for years. Better still, he dropped out of favor with Vigneault (shocker), was moved to play a few steps away from Ovechkin and then, this summer, took the place of former Canuck Ruutu as the agitator for the Pens. Good stuff.
Also, if you read the Cooke Foundation's web site right now, you'll note he dedicated a year's worth of donations to Luc Bourdon's memory. And speaking of Luc, a big congrats goes out to Kris Letang, Bourdon's buddy who missed most of the SCF last year to mourn Bourdon's passing and, this time around, gets his name on the Cup.
Congrats all around, but from a Vancouver mind, especially to these two guys.
Now, going forward, I hope to hell Gillis and Vigneault watched these finals and saw just how those teams competed. They both have a lot of work to do this summer, Gillis especially.
And it starts now.