Penguins not yet ready for the top

Kevin Adshade
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If things go as expected, the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins will be the Stanley Cup final matchup, a contrast between the Red Wings' tremendous defence and the young, but gifted, Penguins. If Dallas or Philadelphia fail to rally from 3-0 series deficits, it's talented youth versus experience.
The Red Wings are six years on from their most recent Stanley Cup championship and missing their cornerstone - the retired Steve Yzerman. But they have a dressing room full of players used to a winning tradition, who expect to succeed (and it should be noted, the Wings have probably the best defenceman in the game in Niklaus Lidstrom). They also have a stifling 'D' they carry out to near-perfection and we all know a good defence beats a good offence... most of the time.
It's often been said the Penguins are strikingly similar to the early 1980s Edmonton Oilers: loaded with talent - led of course by Wayne Gretzky - but lacking the education of hard knocks that many Stanley Cup champions need before the are to reach the summit. The veteran New York Islanders' team of 1980-'83 weren't about to relinquish their dynasty without a bloody war, and were all too familiar with how much blood needs to be spent to win those wars.
In the end, the Oilers' talent - and experience - took them to the top, and they would capture five Stanley Cups in seven seasons.
The Penguins, rich with young talent like Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, rolled through the Eastern Conference this spring without a lot of difficulty. Maybe it was too easy: that school of hard knocks offers some valuable lessons and like a line from an old Aerosmith song, "you've got to lose to know how to win."
Nothing is for certain in sports and in life, so we'll see. On paper, the Penguins are getting primed for some Stanley Cups wins in the next few years, it just isn't their time yet.

Kevin Adshade is not a big fan of the Red Wings or Penguins so saying nice things was tough.

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