My pregame speech

Boys, everyone says you’re supposed to lose this game.

We’re the visiting team, playing in a place we haven’t won at this whole series.  We’ve been outscored 11-2 here.  They’ve got more experience in this type of situation and they know they can beat you.  They’ve only lost once at home the entire playoffs.

It’s your choice.

You can buy into all of their hype or believe that what got us here can bring us home.

Now I was here three years ago, as many of you were.  Think of where you’ve come as a group.

This team wasn’t supposed to be here.  Hell, you guys were supposed to be in Kansas City.

You ended the 2005-06 season with 58 points en route to being one point away from the worst team in hockey.

Flash forward to now and you’ve won six of nine playoff series.  You’ve made it to two straight Stanley Cup Finals.  You’re a step away from becoming the most vaunted force in all of hockey.

You wouldn’t have made it this far it you weren’t the most resilient group of hockey players in the league.  We were in 10th place in February.  Now we’re a step away from 1st place.

Take that next step.  It’s yours and only you deserve it.

You watched these same players skate around your rink with the Stanley Cup last year, yet made the incredibly tough journey back to the finals again.

No one said you could do that.  No one has done so since Wayne Gretzky.

Those same people are saying that you won’t win tonight.

They’ve doubted us all along.  We won in the first round and critics said, “well they’ve broken the Stanley Cup Finals ‘losers curse.'”  Everyone figured that was enough.

Then we beat Washington — considered by many to be the favorite to come out of the East.  After we won they said we were too tired to win a third round after going seven games with the Capitals.

So we swept.

Now we’re in a series that we’ve been supposed to lose all along.  We were written off after falling behind 2-0.  What did we do?  Respond by winning three of the last four to force a Game 7 — what we’ve all dreamed of since we were little.

You deserve it more.

I have firmly believed all along that the team with the most desire will win this series.  And you players, I believe, have more to desire.

You have the desire to prevent a second straight loss to the hands of the same team.

You have the desire to prove that you deserve to be considered the best.

But more than anything, you have the desire to skate around this sheet of ice, tonight, with that trophy raised above your head.

We deserve to take this thing home to Pittsburgh and celebrate with our fans, the real Hockeytown.  The place that has fans driving from all over to just be near the Mellon Arena.  They sit outside watching our games on a glorified TV screen, cheering like they’re inside with us.

The 17,132 inside have been there for more than 100 straight games, doing all they can to help the team.

Tonight, in bars and homes across Western Pennsylvania, the country and the world, you’ve got millions of believers.  Let’s go out there, dominate and take this thing back home.

Play with all you have.  Play this game like it’s your last, because for the next three months or so — it is.

It’s up to you whether or not your name is engraved on that cup.  You’ve got 60 minutes to make it happen.

Use the desire in this locker room, and we’ll walk away champions.

For the last time, “Avenge 6-4-08.”

Chris | PPT


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