It would be easy to assume a motivating factor for Sidney Crosby
at this year's Stanley Cup Final is revenge. After all, it's not too often in sports that you get to face the team that beat you in a championship game or series the following year.
In a commercial Crosby did for the NHL at the start of the season that showed him on the ice after losing Game 6 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final to the Red Wings, he had this to say.
"This is a tough one, getting this close and not winning the Cup. But I know it'll make our team even stronger. I never want to be in this photograph again."
Despite all that, don't expect to hear about Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg
finding a horse's head in his bed anytime soon.
"It's a new year. I don't really think about last year," the Penguins' captain said Saturday morning following practice at Joe Louis Arena. "That's the way things worked out (facing the Red Wings in the Final for the second-straight year). Whether we were playing anyone else, the feeling would be the same. I don't think there's any extra motivation needed."
One thing that's different this year for Crosby and the Penguins is there won't be any surprises when Game 1 gets under way Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS, NHL Radio). In last year's series opener, the Pens hung with the Red Wings in a scoreless first period, but were overwhelmed over the final two periods. Detroit outshot Pittsburgh 25-7 during the final 40 minutes en route to a 4-0 victory.
"Last year, we started out well and kind of got away from our game," Crosby said. "Whether we got frustrated or they turned it up and we didn't, then that's something that maybe won't happen and we know what to expect this year.
"We took a couple games to get our feet under us last year and I don't think that's the case this year. We know what to expect."
One thing Crosby and the Pens can expect this year is not to see Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk
in Game 1. The Hart and Selke Trophy nominee won't be in the lineup, but Crosby doesn't see the Pens gaining an edge with one of the game's best two-way players watching from the press box.
"They've got a good team," Crosby said. "Even with him out of the lineup, there're a lot of dangerous guys out there, so that's not going to change anything for us."
Contact Dave Lozo at firstname.lastname@example.org