Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins and the referees for the second straight Stanley Cup, and to Sidney Crosby and a ridiculously biased short list of 17 newscasters who chose him as the Conn Smythe winner when he was at best the fourth-best choice for the second-straight year, this time behind playoff points leader Evgeni Malkin, rookie points record holder and leading goal scorer Jake Guentzel, as well as Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. Pens goalies Marc-André Fleury and Matt Murray were arguably the best players on the ice in each game, but having split the playoffs, neither of them were legitimate choices.
But I want to take a moment to acknowledge a player whose luck turned when the Pens sent him to the Anaheim Ducks and missed out on both runs, Simon Després.
Després was a first-round pick, 30th overall, in 2009. His development had been slow and steady, and he appeared in two postseason run with the Pens and two lengthy ones with their AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He scored his first playoff goal with the Ducks - a game-winner against the Chicago Blackhawks in 2014-15, then was limited to 32 regular-season games and 5 more in the playoffs the following year, but 2016-17 really takes the cake, as he suited up in just one game after signing a five-year extension, then was put on long-term injury leave.
And I was told there were chances he'd even be bought out prior to the expansion draft this summer. (edit, June 16th: it is confirmed). Essentially, chances are he'll be making a million dollars per year for the next eight years regardless if he plays hockey or not.
Just a reminder that one's luck can change quickly in Life, often with little having to do with the person on the receiving end of the hardships.
Here he is sportin the Pens' post-lockout white (away) uniform, on card #GJ-SD from Upper Deck's 2014-15 Series 1 set and UD Game Jerseys sub-set: