I know that none of you are hockey fans...except, maybe, Michelle (if you're reading this). Please bear with me through this tribute to my team.
As bummed as I am about the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins getting their butts whipped playing for the Calder Cup, I have to be proud of them also. This team wasn't "supposed" to go anywhere this year. They had a dismal start to the season. They fought tooth and nail through the season just to make the playoffs and, in the end, won the division. It really was amazing.
Then the playoffs started.
They weren't supposed to win the 1st round. They did.
They weren't supposed to win the 2nd round. They did.
They weren't supposed to win the 3rd round. They did.
They are the Conference Champions. That is amazing considering the what they went through to get there. I'm proud of them for that.
They are now playing for the Calder Cup (the Stanley Cup equivalent in the AHL).
They lost the first two away games and came home to play last night. The coach put in Bonvie to play for the first time in for-freakin'-ever. Bonvie is retiring after this year. He is a beloved player. His role is as an enforcer...AKA: the tough guy on the team who'll whip yo' ass if you take a cheap shot at one of his teammates. He's fought many fights and has won most of them. The other team tends to think twice about taking cheap shots when he's on the ice. Off the ice, he's sweet and kind.
When they announced the scratches last night (the players that would be sitting out), they didn't announce Bonvie's name. You could hear the ripple through the crowd. "Dennis is playing!" It was awesome. It would be the last time I'd get to see him play in person because I can't be at Friday's game. When his line skated out, the crowd went nuts for him.
Unfortunately, although the team came out strong and took the early lead, they wound up getting their butts kicked and they looked shell-shocked.
Friday is the next game. They are down 3 games to none in a 7 game series. One more loss and the season is over. Coming back from being down by 3 games and winning the Calder Cup has never been done. Ever. It's not impossible, per se, but highly improbable. I'd imagine the wind is out of their sails.
I'll root for them until the end. I'll be back rooting for them next year.
They should hold their heads up high. They have nothing to be ashamed of.
The Penguins still ROCK in my book.
Farewell Dennis. You'll be missed....