DETROIT -- From childhood dreams to reality.
It isn't a stretch to say the Pittsburgh Penguins and Detroit Red Wings are living the dream of every young hockey player who ever mimicked raising the Stanley Cup aloft as a kid.
"It's an unbelievable opportunity," said Sidney Crosby, who raised his imaginary Stanley Cup growing up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. "Now it's anyone's game and it's going to be a great challenge. They play great at home, but we've got to battle and find a way to pull it off."
So how many times did you lift the Cup as a kid, Sid?
"Probably hundreds of times," Crosby said. "Like every kid growing up, you play street hockey, you play in the outdoor rinks, you always dream of that opportunity. I've watched Game 7 on TV, and you dream of making it to the NHL, but that's always something that sticks out is playing for the Cup in Game 7. So like I said, we've got an amazing opportunity here."
Teammate Marc-Andre Fleury agreed.
"It's a great opportunity," the goalie said. "Since I'm young I've been dreaming about making a save on a breakaway for the Cup. So to have a chance like this to get that thing, it's awesome."
The same sentiments are present in the Red Wings' room.
"As a kid, you certainly played that game over and over in your mind for sure," Kris Draper said.
"And what an opportunity. That's something that we're just going to embrace this opportunity that we have coming up in a Game 7. Fatigue's not going to be a factor. It can't be. It's one game. So you know that laying it out on the line is so worthwhile.
"Knowing that there is no tomorrow that any bumps, bruises, whatever you have, you have all summer to heal up. So now it's a matter of just getting to that level and just laying it all on the line for yourself, for your team, for everything. Because you know when, if you can win that game, everything that you've done is so worthwhile. All the sacrifices, everything that's been involved in this season, and that's exactly what we're going to do."
"Kenny Holland says this, and you've probably heard it many times in the media," Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "This is his big theory is you knock on the door, you knock on the door, you knock on the door every year and eventually they open the door. That's what we're doing again.
"We're right there, and both of us have our foot in the door and someone's going to knock it open."