-- The Red Wings and Penguins are indeed staging what figures to be a tremendous rematch in the 2009 Stanley Cup Final.
But the teams’ respective rosters have changed since last June, meaning there are a number of players for whom this go-round isn’t technically a rematch. The Penguins, in particular, have a lot of new faces for the 2009 Final -- including coach Dan Bylsma
, who may well be the most important addition to the Penguins’ roster.
After last season’s Final, the Penguins underwent a major roster turnover. Marian Hossa
left as an unrestricted free agent, signing with the Red Wings, so he is very much a focal point in the 2009 Final. Also heading to Detroit from Pittsburgh was backup Ty Conklin
, who fortune seems to favor. Conklin has played in three of the last four Stanley Cup Finals with three different teams, Edmonton in 2006, Pittsburgh in 2008 and now the Wings in 2009.
Also leaving the Penguins after last season were several veterans. Adam Hall
, Gary Roberts
and Ryan Malone
all signed on in Tampa Bay. Georges Laraque
signed in Montreal and Jarkko Ruutu
moved on to Ottawa. A couple of in-season trades changed some faces on defense: Darryl Sydor
was dealt to Dallas and Ryan Whitney
was traded to Anaheim.
In the other dressing room, the Wings have been the models of stability. After winning the Stanley Cup, forward Dallas Drake
and goalie Dominik Hasek
retired, opening the door for the surprise one-year signing of Hossa and the addition of Conklin.
The Wings took care of business among their own players, most notably signing defenseman Brad Stuart
So who has taken over to find successful roles, most notably for the Penguins? General Manager Ray Shero
also worked the unrestricted free agency market, signing veteran forwards Ruslan Fedotenko
, Miroslav Satan
and Matt Cooke
, as well as tough guy Eric Godard
On defense, veteran Philippe Boucher
came in the trade with Dallas for Sydor and backup goalie Mathieu Garon
joined the Penguins in a deal with the Oilers.
Just before the March 4 trade deadline, Shero swapped Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks
for forward Chris Kunitz
. On Deadline Day, he sent a draft pick to the New York Islanders
for veteran forward Bill Guerin
. Another vet, forward Craig Adams
, was claimed off waivers from Chicago, and Pittsburgh also promoted defenseman Alex Goligoski
from the AHL.
The Red Wings have successfully used their farm system to import some impressive depth players. Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson
carved out a place on the deep Detroit backline, while forwards Justin Abdelkader
and Ville Leino
also have earned valuable minutes -- especially in the Western Conference Finals, when the injury bug struck the Wings.