Most of the hockey world went to bed last Wednesday convinced Calgary captain Jarome Iginla was headed to Boston. When they woke up to discover he’d wound up in Pittsburgh instead, many were left wondering the same thing: Should we just go ahead and start engraving the Stanley Cup now?
The Penguins were already riding a massive win streak (now up to 15 and counting). Adding the best player available at the deadline, along with the earlier acquisitions of Brenden Morrow and Douglas Murray, to a lineup that already featured Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and James Neal just didn’t seem fair.
Of course, there are no sure things, and the Penguins roster isn’t perfect. They may have the best cast of forwards in the league, but we all know that the goaltending and blue line are shaky, and … [Checks the Penguins’ goals against during the last three games.] … oh man. I think we’re all screwed.
But let’s not panic quite yet. After all, while the Penguins might be the consensus favorites right now, they have a long way to go before they’re crowned champions. And if they falter, they’ll have good company, because the recent history of NHL sure-things isn’t all that impressive.
So before we start planning the Penguins’ coronation, let’s take a look back at five other big moves that had everyone ready to just hand over the Stanley Cup. As you’ll see, the hockey gods have a habit of throwing a surprise our way.