Time passes without ceasing. There is no greater proof of this than in the hockey world, where time gets away from us like sands sifting through the hourglass. Before we know it, it has gotten away from us.
In 1992, the Pittsburgh Penguins won their second consecutive Stanley Cup. Led by Mario Lemieux, Ron Francis, and Tom Barrasso, the Penguins won a record-tying eleven straight victories that year. They swept the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks to cap off the playoffs. The Bruins’ series in particular was anti-climactic, as the Pens outscored the Bruins 19-7. The Blackhawks jumped out to a 4-1 lead in Game 1 of the Cup finals, only to watch the Penguins rally to win 5-4. Pittsburgh never looked back.
Can you believe it’s been twenty years since that memorable run?
Granted, the Penguins have won a third Stanley Cup in those twenty years, but even that magical run doesn’t compare to the level of excitement the Penguins generated in 1991 and 1992. I was 13 when they won their first Cup, and they won their second Cup on my 15th birthday (June 1), the anniversary of which is only mere hours away.
Time marches on. I remember that night in Chicago like it was yesterday, seated in my living room and donning my Penguin jersey. I lived and died with each goal as the Penguins outlasted the Blackhawks 6-5 in Game 4. It was my first real look at Dominik Hasek, and I marveled at how seemingly easily he stopped the likes of Lemieux and Kevin Stevens. In the end, it was Tom Barrasso who walked away with the victory and the Cup.
Time marches on…we who were fortunate enough to watch the likes of Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr in their prime will look back with fondness at that era in Penguins’ history. Now we are blessed to watch the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in their prime, and this is indeed an exciting time for Pittsburgh fans. But the Cup runs of 1991 and 1992 will forever live on as a special time in Penguins’ history. It was this period of time that stopped the suffering for many fans in the Steel City and beyond, and ushered in a new era that ultimately led to the Penguins staying in Pittsburgh for the long term.
Time goes on. It has been twenty years since the Lemieux-led Penguins dominated the hockey world. But the effects of that era lives on in the new arena, the new staff, and the new attitude that permeates Pittsburgh.