Pens' coach Bylsma admits to Cup dreams
Never one to betray his feelings since taking over behind the bench Feb. 15 for the Penguins, Dan Bylsma wasn't about to start doing so one day prior to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.
So, yes, Bylsma admitted Thursday he has thought about winning the Cup before the fact.
"This is my second time to the Final," Bylsma said. "You can't not think about what you're playing for and what it means and the fact that you've (imagined that you've) played for it since you were 5, 6 years old in the backyards and on the driveway and on the rinks and after practice. And now you have a chance to actually be one of the last two teams.
"So I think the thoughts go through everyone's brain. I think those thoughts are natural. I don't think they're to be dismissed and put away, I don't think it's possible. We talked about it a little bit to, again, get our thoughts focused on the right things."
For Bylsma, the "right things" include the Penguins understanding the importance of playing the game the way he wants them to play it and playing with the level of effort and determination he anticipates will be required to deal with the Red Wings in Detroit's Joe Louis Arena in a Game 7.
As for the Cup, Bylsma considers that more than just a trophy symbolic of NHL supremacy.
"There's something special about the Stanley Cup," he said. "If you're an athlete in another sport, you may feel differently about that.
"It's certainly about being the best. But the sacrifice, the difficulty, and then I think every kid, every player has an image of someone with the Stanley Cup. I remember Scotty Bowman when he went out with his skates on and grabbed the Cup (after coaching the Red Wings to the championship in 1997). I remember Ray Bourque grabbing the Cup (after finally winning a championship with Colorado at the conclusion of his 22nd NHL season in 2001). There are other ones to remember, certainly the one in '03 when (Bylsma and Anaheim) had to watch another team (New Jersey) do it is certainly a memory I'd like to but I won't forget.
"There's something about that handing the Cup, that picture with the Cup, that's special about our sport."
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