Posted by Haywood Morales
Even though I am surrounded by Pittsburgh Penguins fans, I never really followed professional hockey. This all changed a couple of years ago because of how poorly the team was playing. I am the type of person who roots for the underdog. When the Penguins released their head coach mid season and brought in the coach of their affiliate AHL’s team to replace him, I was hooked. Dan Bylsma was blessed with athletic ability. Though he played in the NHL, he received a couple of injuries that forced him to retire early. He went on to coach in some smaller leagues when he was called up to be the interim coach for the Penguins. The team had already played nearly 60 games of the season and were struggling to even reach the playoffs.
I was instantly hooked because of Bylsma’s story. He was facing an uphill battle and not many gave him much thought. Instead, they just mentally removed the Penguins from a playoff spot. I started watching the games with my dad and brothers on satalite TV HD DVR. They were very patient explaining the rules and explaining why Bylsma was such an underdog. This incredible man coached the team into a winning record. They were off to the playoffs! This team who was written off not only won playoff games, they were one of the two teams in the Stanley Cup Finals. This Cinderella coach took a team that was defeated and took them to the top spot in the game. When they won the Stanley Cup, he was made the permanent head coach. I don’t miss any games now!
What was even more incredible was that Pittsburgh was able to win game seven in Detroit, who were the defending Stanley Cup champions! Last year, didn’t fair so well for the Penguins, losing in 7 games to Montreal.
It should be very interesting this season with more teams vying to drink from Lord Stanley’s cup!