Tuesday, July 22, 2008

It's The Cup For Goodness' Sakes!

Pittsburgh really seems to have a soft spot for franchise players. Lemieux played his entire career in Pittsburgh. The rumor of having Jagr back to play this upcoming season stirred up many emotions among Pens fans.

You can mention all the football greats that have enjoyed calling Pittsburgh home too - Jerome Bettis, Heinz Ward come to mind first. Maybe it's our blue collar nature and the work hard/win big attitude, but many players seem to have a strong desire to call Pittsburgh home for a good chunk of their careers.

Our young superstars are no exception to this trend. Last summer Crosby signed a multi year deal for less than he's worth. This summer Malkin followed in Sid's footsteps. Fleury also signed on for several more seasons, along with Ryan Whitney (signed last summer) and Brooks Orpik. The goal seems to be "keep the kids together here in Pittsburgh" and the kids seem to be responding. Even Coach Therrien was offered a 3 year deal which he gladly accepted.

But you can't say that for everyone. "Every party has a pooper - that's why we invited you George Banks" er Marian Hossa...I know some of you are saying "geeze you guys can't have all the big names! Share the wealth goddammit!" But Hossa going to Detroit stung a bit none the less.

It also seemed to signify a bit of a trend in the League. A trend of guys who are about midway or near the end of their careers. They know what kind of dollars they can fetch. And they (or at least their agents) seem have a feeling of who is going to be good Cup material. And off the go despite the promises they made to "stay and bring The Cup to XYZ!"

Can we blame them for wanting the trophy? No - it's The Cup for goodness sakes! But does it sting to watch them leave - very much so. We invest a good deal of time and energy into following these guys, cheering them on. Breaking up is hard to do...

Which makes me wonder what will become of our superstars one day? Will they finish their careers in Pittsburgh, several Cups under their belts, solid friendships formed, hometown heroes til the end? Or will they stick out their contracts and then wave us goodbye as they depart on a quest for another Lord Stanley victory?

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