As the Pittsburgh Penguins continue to celebrate their Stanley Cup success, it could well be the first of many to come for the Steel City. With the core of their team that defeated Detroit in their early 20s, the Penguins appear well positioned to take a run at many more championships. When Sidney Crosby, 21, who stills lives in team owner Mario Lemieux's guest house, skated forward to accept the treasured trophy from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman he became the youngest captain to hoist the Stanley Cup.
But the Canadian is not even the youngest player on a talent-laden roster that forms the nucleus of what many believe could develop into the next NHL dynasty. Jordan Staal is just 20 while resilient netminder Marc-Andre Fleury is a battle-hardened 24. Evgeni Malkin, who led both the regular season and play-offs in scoring is just 22 and next week could add the Hart trophy as the NHL's most valuable player to his haul.
"That's a great thought," said the Penguins coach Dan Bylsma when asked if Pittsburgh's cup win was just the start of something special. "That's a great thought and it's a dream. But there's a lot of hard work and building and laying a foundation every year that goes into every year. "It doesn't happen without building that foundation on day one and day two. They just don't hand you a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals again the second year.
Bylsma has proven to be a perfect fit for the Penguins since taking over in mid-February from sacked Michel Therrien, guiding them into the play-offs with an 18-3-4 run to close the regular season. He then steered Pittsburgh through to become just the 14th rookie coach to put his name on a Stanley Cup. "I hoped this would happen some day," said Bylsma. "But good coaches have coached a long time and never gotten an opportunity like this.
"A lot of times your first opportunity doesn't come with a team that's this talented." * Reuters