Hockey Hall of Fame - Stanley Cup Journals: 2009, 26

Sergei Gonchar of the Penguins proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup during the team's pre-season golf tournament.
Sergei Gonchar of the Penguins proudly hoisting the Stanley Cup during the team's pre-season golf tournament. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Fresh off the prestigious White House visit on September 10, the boys returned to Pittsburgh the next day for a day of golfing. The veteran Penguins got the opportunity to relax and catch up on their respective summers, readily trading stories and quips, while newcomers to the team had the chance to meet their new teammates in a casual setting as they lugged their clubs for a day out on the links.

It was a day for the Penguins to play golf with some of their sponsors. And it was the last day for talking of the Stanley Cup before the beginning of training camp on Saturday, September 12. "It's time for us to get to work," stated coach Dan Bylsma.

While the Stanley Cup was transported by golf cart to each hole so that the foursomes could all get their picture with the Penguins' championship trophy, it was kept largely inconspicuous through the course of the day. While he had no concerns about having his picture taken with it, captain Sidney Crosby refused to touch the Stanley Cup, superstitiously fearing that he might jinx NEXT spring's chance of bringing the trophy back to Pittsburgh again.

Penguins GM Ray Shero showing off the Stanley Cup to members of his foursome during the team's golf tournament.
Penguins GM Ray Shero showing off the Stanley Cup to members of his foursome during the team's golf tournament. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
"Because you win, it doesn't mean your career is over. As a team, it doesn't mean you stop improving. You get better," Crosby told the Associated Press. "It's great to see the hard work pay off, but now you start from scratch and start again."

The golfers used dimpled golfballs that read: Stanley Cup champions, but for Bylsma, he wants the guys to stop focusing on last June's victory and concentrate on the season ahead. "We're going to try to get rid of those reminders and start focusing on putting our names back into the hat of the 30 teams that are vying for a Stanley Cup," he said. "We have to go to work."

Maxime Talbot poses for a photo with the Stanley Cup and members of his foursome during the Penguins golf tournament.
Maxime Talbot poses for a photo with the Stanley Cup and members of his foursome during the Penguins golf tournament. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Bill Guerin, a Stanley Cup champion with the New Jersey Devils in 1995, shared his experience with his Pittsburgh teammates. "You're proud of what you did and you enjoy it, but you realize none of the other teams care. They all want to come after you. There's not going to be one easy night this year," he said.

While several notable players have departed Pittsburgh since winning the championship, Jay McKee is a newcomer to the Penguins, arriving from St. Louis. He expected to be inundated with Stanley Cup this and Stanley Cup that, but that was not the case. "I thought the guys would come in and be talking a lot about it, but not a lot has been mentioned about what they accomplished," he mentioned to the Associated Press. "I think there's a humble confidence with this team. I think it's the toughest trophy in sports to defend and I think the players know that."

So the boys took their swings, talked with their corporate sponsors and enjoyed what is one of the final events of their Stanley Cup summer.

Matt Cooke of the Penguins showing of the Stanley Cup during the team's pre-season golf tournament.
Matt Cooke of the Penguins showing of the Stanley Cup during the team's pre-season golf tournament. (Mike Bolt/HHOF)
Training camp began September 12. The next time the Penguins see the Stanley Cup will be at their home opener, when the Stanley Cup banner is hoisted to the rafters and the boys will get their first opportunity to see their names engraved on hockey's magnificent trophy. It will be an emotional night, guaranteed.

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On Tuesday in the Stanley Cup Journal, you'll get the opportunity to meet the four gentlemen who accompanied the Stanley Cup all summer long. You'll recognize them by the white gloves and the big, big smiles!

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Kevin Shea is the Editor of Publications and Online Features for the Hockey Hall of Fame. www.kevinsheahockey.com



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