|Rematch! This year's Final marks the first time in 25 years that clubs have met in the Stanley Cup Final in consecutive years. The New York Islanders swept the Edmonton Oilers to claim their fourth consecutive Stanley Cup in 1982-83. The Oilers turned the tables and ended the Isles' 'Drive For Five' with a 4-1 series win in 1983-84, their first of five Stanley Cups in a seven-year stretch (1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990). |
Stanley Cup Final rematches are rare; there have been just two since 1970 (Oilers-Islanders in 1983/1984 and Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins in 1977/1978) and five in the past 50 years.
Championship Round Rematches, Past Half Century (since 1959)
NHL - 5
Oilers-Islanders in 82-83 and 83-84
Canadiens-Bruins in 76-77 and 77-78
Canadiens-Blues in 67-68 and 68-69
Maple Leafs-Red Wings in 62-63 and 63-64
Maple Leafs-Canadiens in 58-59 and 59-60
NBA - 9
Bulls-Jazz in 96-97 and 97-98
Lakers-Celtics in 83-84 and 84-85
Lakers-76ers in 81-82 and 82-83
Sonics-Bullets in 77-78 and 78-79
Knicks-Lakers in 71-72 and 72-73
Celtics-Lakers in 67-68 and 68-69
Celtics-Lakers in 64-65 and 65-66
Celtics-Lakers in 61-62 and 62-63
Celtics-St. Louis Hawks in 59-60 and 60-61
NFL - 3
Bills-Cowboys in 1993 and 1994
Giants-Packers in 1961 and 1962
Colts-Giants in 1958 and 1959
MLB - 1
Yankees-Dodgers in 1977 and 1978
Who's Missing From Last Year? Nine Penguins who faced the Red Wings in 2008 are no longer with the club, including forward Marian Hossa and reserve goaltender Ty Conklin, who signed with the Red Wings as unrestricted free agents last summer. The others are forwards Adam Hall, Gary Roberts, Ryan Malone, Georges Laraque and Jarkko Ruutu and defensemen Darryl Sydor and Ryan Whitney.
In contrast, 18 of the 20 Red Wings who dressed against the Penguins last year remain with the club. The exceptions are forward Dallas Drake and goaltender Dominik Hasek, each of whom retired following the season.
Who's New To The Party? Since meeting the Red Wings in last year's Final, the Penguins signed unrestricted free agent forwards Ruslan Fedotenko, Miroslav Satan, Matt Cooke and Eric Godard over the summer; acquired defenseman Philippe Boucher from Dallas in November, reserve goaltender Mathieu Garon from Edmonton in December and forwards Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz from the New York Islanders and Anaheim, respectively, at the March 4 trade deadline. The club also claimed forward Craig Adams on waivers from Chicago at the deadline and promoted rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski from AHL Wilkes-Barre Scranton.
The Red Wings' only major roster acquisitions since winning the Stanley Cup a year ago have been the free agent signings of the two former Penguins, forward Marian Hossa and goaltender Ty Conklin. The other newcomers are rookies from the Red Wings' successful developmental pipeline: forwards Justin Abdelkader and Ville Leino and defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.
Hossa In The Spotlight: Red Wings forward Marian Hossa is the first player to switch sides in a Stanley cup Final rematch since 1964 and just the second player ever to do so. Forward John MacMillan, who appeared in one game of the 1963 Final with Toronto against Detroit, was claimed on waivers by the Red Wings in December, 1963 and played four games against the Maple Leafs in the 1964 Final.
The Penguins had obtained Hossa, a four-time 80-point scorer and five-time All-Star, from the Atlanta Thrashers at the 2007-08 trade deadline, and the move paid off: Hossa ranked third among playoff scorers with 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists) in 20 games and led the Penguins in scoring during the Stanley Cup Final against the Red Wings. He became an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2008 and signed with Detroit the following day. He is in quest of his first Stanley Cup championship.
“It’s attractive hockey, it’s a lot of offense and a lot of great players. I want to play that way. I liked playing like that in Pittsburgh, and when I look at Detroit, it’s a similar style. But it’s all about winning and that’s what I’m looking for.”
- Marian Hossa, July 2, 2008, after signing with the Red Wings
Head Coaching Ties: Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma played under current Red Wings bench boss Mike Babcock in 2002-03, when Babcock, as a rookie head coach in the NHL, guided the Anaheim Ducks to the Stanley Cup Final. "To me, he's always been a student of the game," Babcock told ESPN.com. "I think it was his destiny to be a coach. I think he'll be a coach as long as he wants."