Book Review: Striking Gold, The Penguins’ Amazing Run to the 2016 Stanley Cup

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

(Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

The Pittsburgh Penguins certainly caught gold this season in many different ways. After making the switch to “Pittsburgh Gold” uniforms for each home playoff game this past season, the team went on to lift its fourth Stanley Cup in franchise history. There are plenty of books available to read already about Pittsburgh’s amazing journey to the top of the hockey world, but Striking Gold: The Penguins’ Amazing Run to the 2016 Stanley Cup is a must-have for Penguins fans.

The book was produced by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette along with Triumph Books, which is an incredible team. When you first open the book, you will find the game story of each game of the Stanley Cup Final written by various Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writers. They do a great job of capturing the moment as well as the emotions of Penguins land following each game.

Following all of the stories about the Stanley Cup victory, the book resets back to the beginning of the season when Mike Johnston was the team’s head coach. This section was one of the most fascinating to me because it really takes you back to that time of the season when it felt like the Penguins were in danger of missing the postseason. For example, there is a story about Pittsburgh’s closed door meeting after an ugly loss against New Jersey. Remember when Evgeni Malkin said that the team was frustrated with each other? Great times. It’s crazy to think that stuff like that was actually happening in a Stanley Cup season for the Penguins. While they were tough times, it makes winning the Stanley Cup much more sweeter knowing that the team overcame all of the adversity. The article about the firing of Johnston and hiring of Mike Sullivan is also included in the book. The quotes from Jim Rutherford following his decision to change coaches tells you all you need to know about how the Penguins were performing at that time. They needed a change badly and that decision along with several others made by Rutherford were instrumental in the team’s run to the Stanley Cup. Without the acquisitions of Phil Kessel, Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino, Eric Fehr, Trevor Daley and Matt Cullen, who knows where the team would have finished. In addition to that, who saw all of the young kids like Tom Kuhnhackl, Bryan Rust, Matt Murray and Conor Sheary making the contributions they did this year? It really was a team effort and everyone who will be listed on the Stanley Cup earned their spot on the trophy.

There are several personal profiles mixed in throughout the book as well. These profiles highlight some key Penguins figures such as Kessel, Sullivan, Murray, Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury and Pascal Dupuis. Each profile goes into depth about each person, which is very cool. You will learn more about each person by reading them. The Dupuis story in particular is very emotional because of how well he is liked inside that Pittsburgh dressing room.

If you thought that was all that was included in the book, there is much more to read. This book also includes a game story from every playoff game the Penguins played this season, going from Jeff Zatkoff’s win in Game 1 against the Rangers all the way to the Stanley Cup in Game 6 against San Jose. After reading through each story of the playoffs, you really do see how special of a season it was. In the beginning of the playoffs, Pittsburgh had to get past the team that eliminated them the past two years (New York Rangers), the Presidents’ Trophy winners (Washington Capitals) and the defending Eastern Conference champions (Tampa Bay Lightning) just to make an appearance to in the Stanley Cup Final against the Sharks.

Last but not least, the photos included in this book are outstanding. You won’t find many pages without an incredible picture in it. The photos really capture the emotions of coaches, players and fans, which makes the book very special.

We do not want to spoil the book for everyone, but we highly recommend buying this book. It will take you back down memory lane each time you read it and you’ll be able to re-live this incredible journey. There are plenty of great Stanley Cup souvenirs out there, but this one has to be near the top of the list. To order your copy, skate over to www.post-gazette.com/pgstore.