Monday, July 14, 2008

Rewriting History: The '93 Playoffs

The 1993 NHL playoffs stand out in the memory of every longtime Penguins fan. The Pittsburgh Penguins went into the playoffs that season as two-time defending Stanley Cup champions and had arguably their strongest team yet. The Penguins closed out the regular season with an NHL-record 17 game winning streak and looked all but unstoppable heading into the post-season.

The Pens easily handled the New Jersey Devils in round 1, beating them soundly in five games. In round 2 the Penguins would face an upstart New York Islanders team that had upset the Washington Capitals in the first round, but were without leading scorer Pierre Turgeon, thanks to Dale Hunter. The Islanders gave the Penguins all they could handle (Mario Lemieux missing a couple games with back trouble did not help either) and forced a Game 7 in Pittsburgh. Game 7 was simply epic, and despite being outplayed by the Penguins the Islanders lead for most of the game and then shocked the hockey world by eliminating the Penguins on a David Volek overtime goal.

That Volek goal was easily the most painful moment of my life from a sports fan point of view, and I have always wondered what would have been if the Penguins had scored in overtime to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against Montreal. Well now thanks to my new friends Paul and Paul over at WhatIfSports.com I have a pretty good idea. They have used their technology to sim the '93 Eastern Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Finals on the assumption that the Penguins won Game 7 and not the Islanders, and the results were pretty much what I expected.

The results of each game are listed below. Be sure to click on the links to see the full breakdown of each game.

Eastern Conference Finals - Penguins v Canadiens:

Stanley Cup Finals - Penguins v Kings
Obviously this is not an exact method, but it does help reenforce the theory that the only thing standing between the Penguins and their third straight Stanley Cup was David Volek. And all this time I thought I could not hate him any more. I guess I was wrong.

1 comment:

Bradley said...

there's a considerable fallacy at work here... Kevin Stevens scores the first goal of the Habs series?

the better scenario would be to replay game 7 against the Islanders without Stevens getting hurt in the first period. considering his performance that season, i don't think the game would've made it to overtime.

Stevens doing that faceplant my second most painful sports memory. the first involves sid bream.