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Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Final blog: Ian Cole

Penguins defenseman says players stepping up to replace injured teammates key to defending title

by Ian Cole / Special to NHL.com

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ian Cole kept his own blog throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators, checking in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.

Cole, 28, is in his second full season with the Penguins. He was acquired by Pittsburgh in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on March 2, 2015. Cole won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins last season and had 26 points (five goals, 21 assists) in 81 games this season.

Here is Cole's seventh and final entry, after the Penguins won the Stanley Cup again with a 2-0 win in Game 6 on Sunday.

NASHVILLE -- This is pretty crazy.

You dream about winning the first one and that's a dream come true. You blink and you win another one. It's just crazy.

They say time flies when you're having fun, and this season was over in a blink of an eye. What a time. What an accomplishment. What a feeling.

 

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It's tough to put this all into words for this blog. It was just such a special year. You think about everything we overcame as a team. All the injuries. So many injuries. We lost huge parts of our team for extended periods of time and we all stepped up.

It felt like everyone wrote us off and said we couldn't do it with the personnel we have, and it's a great feeling to show everybody we could, to prove people wrong.

Look, we knew we lost a huge part of our team when defenseman Kris Letang went down with his injury, the surgery. We knew he was lost for the season and we knew critics, like I said, were writing us off.

Well, all the defensemen stepped up in [Letang's] absence. We all stepped up and played unbelievable games, unbelievable stretches.

But it wasn't just us defensemen.

We lost forwards and everybody stepped up. We lost Matt Murray for an extended period of time and Marc-Andre Fleury stepped up and single-handily won us hockey games.

There is just a resiliency on this team, in this locker room that is tough to put into words. Everyone steps up and gets the job done. It's something special.

It's weird now, though. It's like, I can imagine this because I just lived it this year, but describing this, as I'm sure you can tell by reading this, it's just so tough to do. 

Man, it's just crazy. You're tired. You're drained. Two really long years and you still find a way to pull it out. It feels so good.

Might as well go for a third. Why not, right?

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