Do you remember the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals? I do. If you don't, then let me remind you...
Game 7. 1-1 tie in the 3rd. Pens and Panthers. Barasso vs. Vanbiesbrouck. The Pens were in the middle of that "Doo be, doo be doo" pr campaign (Bud Ice...Beware the Penguins), and everyone wanted the Pens to "Stick it to the Beezer." I remember this because my sister and I had to sell those Children's Miracle Network Balloons at a local Movie Theater, and Doo Be Doo Be Do, Beware the Penguins and Stick it to the Beezer were playing on a continuous loop on the scrolling LCD advertising screen.
Anyway, Gord Murphy fired a pass to Tom Fitzgerald, who took a shot from just inside the blue line, in hopes of putting it on net and going to the bench for a breather. Somehow, that shot went past Barasso, and the upstart Panthers went to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Dave Molinari, of the Post-Gazette, puts it perfectly by saying that the goal:
...ranks among the most devastating the Penguins have allowed during four decades in the NHL.
Well guess what, Penguins fans? That very same Tom Fitzgerald, who retired before the 2006-07 season after playing in 1,907 games, will be joining the Pens staff as director of player personnel.
"Pretty ironic, isn't it?" he said. "I had pretty much all my success in the playoffs against Pittsburgh. Getting a chance now to work with the organization -- to help it get back to those good old days of the early to mid-90s -- is overwhelming."
Yes, Tom. Its very ironic to us fans who still cringe at that loss.
This is like Larry Brown of the Cowboys coming to the Steelers as the new DB Coach (I don't like to bring up Larry Brown, but I needed to make a point).
As long as the Pens prospects develop well under Fitz, I'll have no problem. Its just gonna take a while for the sting to wear off.