The New York Islanders are one of the few true dynasties the NHL ever had with four back-to-back cups. Winning two back-to-back Stanley Cups is cute.
On Sunday the Pittsburgh Penguins became the Stanely Cup Champions in back-to-back seasons. While the New York Islanders had their lockers cleared out two months earlier.
Congrats to the Penguins for winning again. And congrats to Sidney Crosby for winning back-to-back Conn Smythe awards. Even though Jake Guentzel lead the playoffs in goals and game-winning goals, and Evgeny Malkin lead the playoffs in points, but you know, he probably drew up a play that lead to a goal so he clearly deserved it.
Maybe Pekka Rinne should have got some love for the Conn Smythe. He was the most valuable player on either side of the Stanley Cup finals. After the Preds dominated in game one, holding the Penguins to no shots over 37 minutes, he let a weak Guentzel goal for a Pens unlikely win.
And then again in game two, he let in another weak Guentzel goal on a simple play down by the post. Oh and that terrible rebound to none other than Jake Guentzel for a 2-1 lead for the Pens.
Crosby might have been the most important player for the Penguins, and even that’s debatable. But Pekka Rinne was the most important player for both sides.
Winning back-to-back cups hasn’t been done since the Red Wings did it last in 1998. So that’s worth something I suppose.
Back-to-back Stanley Cups in the salary cap era is an outstanding achievement. At least that’s what we’re constantly told. We’re told that dynasties are truly over, and to a degree that’s true. It’s hard to keep a core together when contracts start to swell.
But let’s keep in mind that over the last ten seasons only five teams have won the cup. Pittsburgh (2009, 2016, 2017), Chicago (2010, 2013, 2015), Los Angeles (2012, 2014), Boston (2011), and Detroit (2008).
It’s not like the 70’s and 80’s when the Montréal Canadiens and New York Islanders were the only teams to win the cup in an eight-year span. But don’t kid yourself there’s still a top tier and lower tier teams. The salary cap may have bridged the gap between the haves and have-nots. But the quest for the cup isn’t open for anyone.
And that’s fine. I don’t have a problem with dynasty eras. I don’t like artificial handicaps. So Pens, come see me when you’ve hit four in a row and we can talk. For now, congrats. You earned it. And don’t forget to send your boy Pekka some love. You owe him.