Blindness & Cancer Awareness Campeigns: Why They’re Equally Important

Last year I wrote a blog post on Blind Americans Equality Day & Wear White Initiative (more like a talking points post) for the month of October.

On October 6, 1964 a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress passed HR 753: White Cane Safety Day. The proclamation was then signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson within hours of the passage of the joint resolution. In 2011, “White Cane Safety Day” was renamed “Blind Americans Equality Day” by President Barack Obama.

This resolution authorizes the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day” (now Blind Americans Equality Day). This proclamation recognizes the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired.
It also recognizes important symbols of the blindness community such as long white cane, guide dogs, braille etc.

This day gives advocacies and organizations one day to reach out to the public to bring awareness and education about every aspect of #blindness as well as prevention and fighting different forms of blindness while looking for treatments and cures. This is also a time where organizations can recruit new members and volunteers as well as fundraise. For my campaign I ask friends, family and anyone interested in wearing white to support the blindness community.I chose the color white to coordinate with the of the long white cane.

I also agree with the name change because there are so many moving parts to the blindness community.Some want to talk blindness but others want to talk about braille, white cans or guide dogs. So instead of having multiple awareness campaigns throughout the year, everything is celebrated on october 15.

What angers me?

How is it fair that the blindness community gets 1 day a year to promote their cause, but breast cancer gets the entire month of October (and pediatric cancer gets the entire month of September)? And before the breast and pediatric cancer communities kill me hear me out. Just like blindness there are multiple forms of cancer in different parts of the body that rarely get attention. See the graphic below.What bothers me is that Blind Americans Equality Day is largely unknown because the only attention it gets is annual proclamation by the sitting president of the United States (and now a days it’s announced via the White House official website). It goes unrecognized by the media and the public. Yet cancer gets 2 months back to back of media and public attention and coverage. Organizations profit off the disease yet the blind get mostly no support.

What should be done?

It’s simple. Get rid of the individual cancer awareness campaigns and designate one month (not october) to advocates and educate on all forms of cancer. Let the public choose which form of cancer to support and celebrate and support one another as a community as a whole. It would be wise to add an extra feature to HR 753 by allowing the month of October to be considered blind awareness and sight conservation month with October 15 Blind Americans Equality Day. Throughout The month, organizations will have the chance to educate and advocate as well as fundraise. While the actual day be designated to celebrate achievements made by blind Americans.

I don’t think cancer awareness campaigns has a proclamation resolution passed by congress. However my fear is that even if cancer got their own month what’s to say blindness will still be left alone by itself? That no one would care? What the public and media don’t understand, that blindness is just as serious and is just as deserving to be given equal attention. There are many ways someone can become blind. You can go blind by medical illness (i.e diabetes), age, family history, poor access to care etc. You can die from cancer but there are cancers that are considered silent killers that don’t get the attention that only breast cancer does.

I hope this didn’t anger anyone. I only want all awareness campaigns to be given equal attention and hope that congress will do something about it.


Blind Americans Equality Day & Wear White Initiative

graphics: White ribbon graphics with text. Graphic 1 reads: Blind Americans Equality Day October 15 with 3d braille font. Graphic 2 reads: wear white initiative to support the blind and visually impaired October 15.

October 15 is Blind Americans Equality Day (Formerly White Cane Safety Day.). Below are some quick facts:

  • White Cane Safety Day is an unofficial holiday in the United States and certain parts of the world. In the United States it is now called Blind Americans Equality Day.

  • Celebrated on October 15 of each year since 1964.

  • Set aside to recognize the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired.

  • The important symbol of blindness and tool of independence: The Long White Cane was the main focal point. Today all aspects of blindness (white cane, guide dog, braille, technology, education and advocacy) is celebrated.

  • It is used as a way to educate advocate and bring awareness to the public on the topic of blindness.

  • Signed into law on October 6, 1964: a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress-HR 753.

  • This resolution authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day.”. (Now Blind Americans Equality Day.)

  • President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first White Cane Safety Day proclamation within hours of the passage of the joint resolution.

  • In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was renamed Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.

  • Remains largely unknown to the general public.

Where Can I Go For Information?
Where to go for events or Information on blindness or Blind Americans Equality Day? See the list below:

American Council of the Blind
American Foundation for the Blind
National Federation of the Blind
Blinded Veterans Association
Foundation Fighting Blindness
Lions Club International

While there are organizations out there that assist blind and visually impaired persons that welcome support such as donations, volunteering and membership. The above is only a short list. Be warned in advance these organizations use Blind AmericansEquality Day as a day for fundraising and membership recruitment. It is best to call in advance (or if lucky) even browse the website before attending events. If you go without researching the organization first, make sure you alert the chairperson hosting the event that you only are to participate in the event. If you would like to donate time or money—even become a member you can make that decision on site or at a later date. Always be polite and take some form of information with you (flyer, form or business card) so that if you do have questions or feedback someone can reach you. Most importantly have fun. The biggest complaint I always have (or hear) is lack of feedback. Feedback at these events are critical to organizations. They use this as a tool to see what people liked or disliked. What could be added or improved. Unless you the participant peak up no one will hear you. Remember these organizations rely on public interest to host these kinds of events so definitely check them out.
What to Expect
When I started out lions club handed out little white cane pins and all white candy canes with red tips. When I moved to the east coast organizations just did flyers, post cards and stickers. I even did a trifold on the white cane. Most Lions Clubs I assisted would hand out their white cane stickers and flyers in advance. When I joined American Council of the Blind my chapter did cane demonstrations. With the name changed from White Cane Safety Day to Blind Americans Equality Day organizations do different things. For me I simply do promotional graphics that are eye catching and easy to understand (instead of a flyer with text and no graphics). When I did Wear White Initiative graphic I wasn’t sure how people would react. I got compliments on my design. This year I updated the graphic as I moved the website to my personal server. I also was able to reuse the white ribbon to do up a second graphic (with the text: Blind Americans Equality Day) but with braille underneath. There are quite a few braille fonts but I can’t get enough of the 3D braille font. I do these graphics because I can’t get out to events often and most of my social media followers just share what media I have on my timeline.
Wear White Initiative
Wear White Initiative is strictly an awareness campaign to compliment Blind AmericansEquality Day. Simply either photograph yourself or a group of people wearing white. Or use the above graphics on social media, blogs or websites and use the hashtag #WearWhiteInitiative. The graphics at the top of the page and can be saved to computer or mobile device/tablet. For more info click/tap on the link in the links of interest.
Links of Interest:
Jessica’s Personal Website
Wear White Initiative

31 Problems Only Dog Owners Understand

I got this from a friend’s Facebook page. While this is a comedy themed dog list, some of these really brought back memories of my beloved Newfoundland dog Omega (1997-2009).

31 Problems Only Dog Owners Understand

  1. Early-morning walks in freezing weather. You have to put on so many layers just to go around the block, and he’ll be sure to stop and sniff every single
    tree, fire hydrant, and trash can as you shiver.
  2. The cost of walks, grooming, boarding, and vet visits. You’re not going to be stingy about taking care of him, and the people who run these businesses
    totally know that.
  3. The smell of wet food. Opening a can every day doesn’t mean you still don’t want to gag,especially if you accidentally touch it with your hand.
  4. Weekend mornings when you want to sleep in and he has other ideas. “Wake up, sleepyhead! It’s time to pee and play!”
  5. Drool in the spot on the sofa where you were about to sit. Or, oops, you did sit.
  6. Fur all over the house. And the car. And everything you own. You didn’t think he was supposed to shed that much, but your black dress now had a thin
    layer of white over it.
  7. Stolen food. It was just on the table — or in your hand — but now it is not. Guess you weren’t the only one who wanted a bagel.
  8. That moment when you think you didn’t bring a bag on your walk. What are you going to do if he has to go? Just leave it on the street? Come back with
    a bag later? Just kidding! You have a bag. THANK GOD.
  9. His refusal to go out in the rain. As if you were psyched about it.
  10. Wet dog smell after he comes in from the rain. Also, paw prints on your floor and the potential of being sprayed when he shakes himself off.
  11. Those sad eyes when you leave. Sure, go ahead without him. No worries. He’s just your best friend.
  12. His alpha-dog reaction when the doorbell rings. The guy just wants to deliver your crispy noodles and dumplings, but first, you have to apologize for
    all the barking.
  13. The need to plan your activities around getting home to take him out. “What time does the movie start? And how long is it again? And which theater
    is it? And will we be getting dinner before that?”
  14. Tracking mode. If you have a hound and he picks up a scent, hang on tight.
  15. His decision to sit down on the sidewalk five blocks from your apartment. That’s enough walking for right now. Thanks.
  16. His decision to poop right in the middle of the street. When the light’s about to change, of course.
  17. Puppy teeth marks on your shoes. He’s got good taste, but you just bought those.
  18. Missing socks. What? His bed just needs a little more cushioning.
  19. The need to put the cover down on the toilet. If he can reach it, he will drink out of it.
  20. Embarrassment when he licks himself in public. “Stop that. Be a gentleman,” you tell him, laughing awkwardly.
  21. Tangled leashes with other dogs. It’s cute in the movies because then the two owners fall in love. It’s less so when you’re running late to meet a
    friend and just trying to squeeze in a quick walk.
  22. The struggle to put his booties on him when it snows. “Gimme this paw!” “OK, now gimme this paw!”
  23. His confusion about his size. Oh, you thought there was a weight limit to being a lapdog? He strongly disagrees.
  24. His initial rejection of his brand-new bone. It was so kind of you to think of him, but he much prefers the old, disgusting, slobbered-on one.
  25. Constant monitoring of what may or may not be in his mouth. Was he just sniffing in that spot, or did he leave with a dead squirrel souvenir?
  26. No space to spread out in your bed. If you let him sleep with you, he will undoubtedly pick a prime spot and leave you huddled on the side. And you
    will go along with it.
  27. The realization that you are talking to him out loud in public. “Are you kidding me? We’re going to stop again? Didn’t you just go?”
  28. Low coffee tables, long tails. That glass is neither half full nor half empty. It’s just empty. Because the water is all over your floor and your magazines.
  29. An inability to vacuum without him freaking out. He doesn’t know what that machine in your hand is, but he does not like it.
  30. Anxiety when another dog approaches. Will it be nice? Will they just sniff each other? Should you call out, “He’s friendly!” to the owner in advance?
    Or should you just smile and keep moving?
  31. The Internet’s obsession with cats. Why can’t everyone just admit that dogs are better?

Johna Lynn Gravitt & Mike Gravitt

What item on this list reminds you of your beloved dog?

Share and keep the conversation going.

Hershey’s Chocolate Pudding vs Hershey’s Chocolate Caramel Pudding

I love chocolate. And I love chocolate caramel. But I’ve never had chocolate caramel pudding. I had no clue I had picked up a chocolate caramel pudding until I tasted it in my first spoonful. The packaging is well marked but didn’t pay attention. Both chocolate and chocolate caramel cups look alike. 

Hershey’s chocolate pudding cup (left). Hershey’s chocolate caramel pudding cup (right).

Which one did I like best?p
I love chocolate caramel in candy but not in pudding. It reminds me of caramel filled M&Ms or better yet melted Hershey’s kisses. I liked the concept but didn’t care for it. It had a not so pleasent taste. Like I was eating melted Werthers caramel candies.  However plain chocolate pudding was much better. 

Would I buy again?
Chocolate yes, chocolate caramel no. Like I said before I prefer one flavor in liquid deserts like pudding. Hershey’s did a chocolate vanilla swirl once and I hated it. But thought I’d like chocolate caramel but could never enjoy it. 

Would I reccommend this?
Chocolate yes, chocolate caramel no. But I’d have a fan of chocolate caramel candy try this. Just to see their reaction. If you like the taste of melted caramel filled Hershey’s kisses (that’s what this reminds me of) then you’ll love this product. But if you prefer straight chocolate then you won’t like this product. I liked the texture of both. And how ful I felt after. But one flavor mixed with another didn’t work for me. So I’m recommending Hershey’s Chocolade.  

Star Rating
Hershey’s Chocolate Pudding: 5 of 5 stars

Hershey’s Chocolate Caramel Pudding: 1 of 5 stars

Speak Scrren for Apple iOS: Not Just for the Blind

If you’re like me, you want to use both your eyes and your ears. Zoom and voiceover for Apple iOS devices are nice but you can’t really use both at the same time. I didn’t even know about the speak screen feature untiyyl a friend posted an audio tutorial (I placed the link at the end of this blog). Finally I can multi-task. When I posted that lengthy Pittsburgh Penguins SI article (featuring Sidney Crosby) I had no choice but to use voice over. That was an 8 page magazine article that took forever. Unfortunately VO users have to sit through the entire article without stopping. Otherwise they’d have to start over (I love Crosby dearly but after having to start over 10 times I got sick and tired of hearing his name and how he helped the Pens win their 5th Stanley Cup). Not with speak screen. I have better control over how fast I’m going. And if I need to take a break the feature picks up where I left off. I can even use it in lock screen and I can multitask on my device while it reads to me. I could never do that with voice over. 

How to activate:
1. Tap settings icon in home screen. Or simply hold down home screen button and say “settings”. Siri will then activate the settings app.
2. Locate and Tap general
3. Tap accessibility
4. Tap speech (it’s right below greyscale selector)
5. Scroll down and tap speak screen selector.

Before you go any further you should also select a voice to be assigned. Simply tap voices (below speak screen selector in speech) then your preferred language. Finally select your voice. Some like speak screen and voice over to have same voice others would rather it be separate (so not to be confusing). For me personally I’m ok with VO and speak screen share the same voice. But if o couldn’t see at all and use both I’d definitely use different voices.

How do I use it?
You can use speak screen virtually anywhere there’s a great deal of text. Perfect for iBooks, reader screen in webpages etc. Start at the top of the screen and swipe with 2 fingers. If you do this right the screen will speak. Plus a small pop up remote will show up to pause, fast forward etc. But say you have mobility issues and can’t get it to work (trust me I had issues getting it to work with the swipe method) you simply hold down home screen button and say “speak screen” and Siri will do it for you.

How do I stop or cancel speak screen (but keep feature active in settings)?
One of the nicest things with speak screen is you use it when you absolutely need it. Once it’s done reading the screen it stops talking. You can either play it back or tap the little x bubble to close speak screen. What if I gotta stop reading and do something else? If task is on your device you can still read and do what you gotta do. However some say it might get in the way if you use voice over. Since this looks to be a feature for the sighed and low vision I recommend you disable voice over until finished. But if it’s a task not on your device and you want to pause, simply tap the pause button. With ready to resume tap play and you pick up where you left off. If you want to control the speed tap the turtle icon (to slow speech by 5%) or the rabbit icon ( to speed speech by 5%).

What other Optimus are in speech feature?
Here’s what I found.

Speak Selection: A Speak button will appear when you select text.

Speaking Rate: Allows you control how fast or slow you want to read. (How fast or slow do you want text spoken to you)

Highlight Content: Highlight content as it is spoken. (I actually like this as you the sighted can follow along.)

Speak Auto-text: Automatically speak auto- corrections and auto capitalizations. (This could get annoying)

Is it worth it?
Actually yes. As I said before I can read long articles in iBooks or web reader. However I can necer get the 2 finger swipe to work. And if the website auto-refreshes I can’t use either the reader or speak screen. I also am seeing blind users compare it to voice over and feel VO is better than speak screen. If you prefer VO over speak screen continue using what you feel comfortable with. As a golden rule access tech will never be perfect. There will always be bugs or issues somewhere. My advice is to just give it a try. 

If you want an audio only tutorial on speak screen, check out the link below.
Speak Screen Tutorial

Once you get use to speak screen you totally get addicted. I love this feature and plan to use it more.

Ways to Make Breakfast Fast and Easy

It’s morning. You don’t have time (or the stomach) for a big breakfast. So what can you do for a quick breakfast?

To Go Cereal Cups
If you want cereal or oatmeal some stores carry cereal in small plastic cups. I LOVE these when I travel and its just me. All you need is milk and a spoon. The cup acts like a small bowl. And once done just throw out. Perfect for camping or business travel. The down suds is only a couple of brands (like Cheerios) carry these so you’re limited. For me I grab about 6 of these (I love Cheerios) in store and put away for later. I don’t eat cereal often. But when there’s nothing else around I’ll pop open one of these. What’s also nice is that you can portion control how much you’re eating. One cup is filling enough.

Cereal Bars
My go to pre-workout ritual. I’ll eat a Nutra-Grain bar before hand because they’re not as heavy. I can easily burn these off in an hour workout. Plus you don’t need to worry about needing a bowl or milk. These come in a variety of flavors but my favorite is their apple cinnamon.

Rice Cakes and Squares
Believe it or not these weren’t all that bad. Quaker makes decent flavored rice cakes. It tastes like flattened popcorn balls. Grab a couple of these into a ziplock and you have BOTH breakfast and a snack taken care of. If you can’t handle those then grab a rice crispie square. You can get a box of 8 or make your own day before. Both are great as a snack and as breakfast. Be warned though it might not keep you full long. I use these for quick fuel before or after workouts.

Toaster Beagles and English Muffins
My favorite breakfast item I don’t mind spending time on. I live in an apartment so I can be away from the kitchen for a few seconds. I simply cut open, pop in toaster then finish getting ready. Doesn’t tabs long to do plus you can enjoy these any way you want. Plus they come in a variety of flavors. Tip: get pre-cut if you can. If not simply cut open over a plate (especially english muffins as they crumble easily). To cut open: hold item in one hand knife in your other (always use knife with your dominant hand) hand. With blade pointing down (6 o’clock) carefully push down until blade is completely through. Rotate around until completely cut through cleanly. Put knife off to the side and pull apart with both hands. This is by far the easiest way to prepares before toasting. This keeps from crumbling or breakage however you still might have a little bit of issue . Never toast a broken food Irans. It can become a fire or burning hazard.

Don’t even bother. These are mostly for dieters. I had one once just to try. They’re AWFUL! Not only did these taste bad they didn’t keep me full. If they work for you and you can tolerate the taste then use then.

Granola and Snack Bars
When all else fails these are great. But only as emergancy food. These are loaded with calories and hidden carbs. Especially items like Fiber One that claim to be better for you when they’re not. Low fat or 100 calorie snacks also claim to be low in calories, fat and carbs. But the downside: you can’t stomach the bland flavor. Or you can but eat too much and it adds up.

Breakfast is important and I hope that I gave you several ideas to make your mornings quick and painless.

How Sidney Crosby, Penguins pulled off a Stanley Cup repeat 

Note: this is the online version of Sports Illustrated magazine article “How Sidney Crosby, Penguins pulled off a Stanley Cup repeat “. It was published both online and in print on June 13, 2017. Below is the full article.  

Sidney Crosby and the Penguins proved their mettle on the long road to a Stanley Cup repeat

Led by an indomitable captain with a sense of the historic, Pittsburgh overcame injuries and outside doubts to become the first team this century to repeat as champion. And there may be more titles in store.
Out from the locker room emerges Sidney Crosby, victory hat tugged taut, gripping a T-shirt soaked in Coors Light and champagne. There’s a slight limp in each step as he walks down the empty hallway in Nashville, toward the bus bound for another Penguins after-party. Then he stops. Turns. Looks back, but just for a moment. “It’s hard to believe we found a way to do it,” Crosby says. “We talked about it all year, but it was such a steep climb to get here.”
The summit had been waiting for him. Three-hundred and sixty-four days earlier, amid the 2016 Stanley Cup celebrations in San Jose, Crosby found Andy O’Brien, his longtime trainer, and firmly told him, “We’re not done. We’re going to get another.” At the time O’Brien wasn’t surprised by the proclamation, “because he always says that, whether after the Olympics or the playoffs or any kind of success. It’s always, ‘Let’s do it again.’ ”
And now, as Sunday night morphs into Monday morning at Bridgestone Arena, as so many disappointed souls stumble out of downtown honky-tonks, everything was coming true. After outlasting the feisty Predators 2–0 in Game 6 of the Cup finals, the Pens became the NHL’s first repeat champs of the 21st century. Their captain, Crosby, earned his second straight Conn Smythe Trophy, becoming just the third player to accomplish that feat. And with it he enters the conversation for hockey’s Mount Rushmore—provided there’s room on the batholith to chisel beside the heads of Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe and Crosby’s boss, Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux.
“He was already heading there, and eventually he would’ve gotten into that conversation,” Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford says. “But we can start talking about it, as of June 11.”
“He’s done everything he could possibly do as a player,” Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman says.
“One of the best all-time,” Lemieux says. “Among the greats of our game.”
Though he would never admit it, the 29-year-old Crosby undoubtedly understands where he ranks among the elite. “A constant student of his environment,” his agent, Pat Brisson, says. Crosby grew up in Nova Scotia, which meant cheering for the Canadiens, but kid Sid revered Red Wings center Steve Yzerman, the last captain to oversee consecutive Cup runs. During Penguins road trips earlier in his career, Crosby would devour Yzerman’s biography. “He was studying his role by looking up to the top,” Brisson says. “He wouldn’t come out and say, ‘I’ll be the best ever, I’ll be this or that,’ but in his mind he was starving for it, he was hungry for it.”
Still, no amount of reading could prepare Crosby to handle what his idol encountered with Detroit in 1997 and ’98—or what Lemieux faced while guiding Pittsburgh to the ’91 and ’92 Cups. “The hardest part is that you can’t understand it until you go through it,” Crosby says.

Not that Crosby seemed burdened by this latest journey. He sustained a concussion against the top-seeded Capitals during the Eastern Conference semis but missed only one game. “Yeah,” he says, sighing with relief, “really happy that it wasn’t anything long-term.” The Senators provided a steady diet of physical punishment in the third round—not to mention some mid-action dousing with a water bottle from their bench—but Crosby nonetheless finished the series with six points, including the primary helper on Chris Kunitz’s goal in double overtime of Game 7. “We could’ve been out easily in the second round, third round,” he says. “It could’ve been different.”
Instead, his powers only seemed to strengthen during the finals, particularly after Nashville star P.K. Subban fibbed to reporters that Crosby had remarked on the defenseman’s bad breath during Game 3. (The actual conversation between Subban and Crosby, picked up by some hot mikes, contained mostly a run-of-the-mill swapping of f-bombs.) With three assists in Game 5, a 6–0 blowout at home, Crosby moved into a tie for fourth all-time with 56 career multipoint playoff outings, while also taking liberties of his own—namely smothering Subban’s head into the ice.
Three days later, returning to Music City with a 3–2 series advantage, Crosby took a power nap on the short flight. Upon waking up, he found himself looking around the cabin, peeking at the card games, taking stock of teammates on their final road trip of the season.
There was Patric Hornqvist, the Swedish forward who would bank the championship-clinching shot off goalie Pekka Rinne’s left shoulder with 1:35 left. And goalie Matt Murray, who would win his second Cup with a 123-minute shutout streak that spanned Games 5 and 6. And winger Jake Guentzel, who would tie the NHL’s rookie playoff scoring record with 21 points while riding shotgun to Crosby.
“A lot of different things [went] through my mind,” the captain says. He shuffles farther down the Bridgestone hallway, pausing every so often to thank another well-wisher. It’s almost 1 a.m. The bus is waiting. “Thinking about a great opportunity, and being excited, and just trying to soak everything in.”
Moments of reflection are nothing new. Having trained Crosby since he was an apple-cheeked 13-year-old, O’Brien was hired as Pittsburgh’s director of sport science and performance in July 2015. The months that followed marked perhaps the toughest stretch of Crosby’s career, certainly since suffering two concussions in 2010–11. His offensive output sagged. Coach Mike Johnston was fired that December, replaced by minor league call-up Mike Sullivan. Where consecutive conference titles in ’08 and ’09 once sparked talk of a dynasty—a 21-year-old Crosby hoisting the Cup in the latter season served as the primary flint—the Penguins were suddenly facing outside questions about their star’s future.
“I remember him really being affected by all the things that were going on,” O’Brien says. “But he’s always got that positive spin on things. He said, ‘Maybe this is the adversity that needs to happen for something amazing to come around.’ ”
No cheering may be the first rule of the press box, but an exception could be granted for the bushy-bearded gentleman in seat 64 at PPG Paints Arena. With a medical boot hugging his broken left tibia, Nick Bonino seemed anxious at the start of Game 5, leaning forward with his head bowed and hands clasped. But the Penguins center (nicknamed Bones) had no reason to feel rattled. From the very first shift—when Crosby split Nashville defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi, drew a holding penalty and hit the post while falling down—it was clear that Pittsburgh remained in safe hands down below.
Twelve months ago Bonino had been anchoring wingers Carl Hagelin and Phil Kessel on Pittsburgh’s HBK line, a trio so toothsome that it inspired a sandwich stuffed with ham, bacon and kielbasa at the local establishment Primanti Bros. Bonino’s presence in the press box was a reminder that—like Charles Barkley, who crashed a presser before Game 4 in Nashville to preach the virtues of playoff hockey—the Penguins know how to rebound. No Bonino, shelved after blocking a Subban shot in Game 2? No Kris Letang, the minutes-gobbling defenseman who needed neck surgery on April 13 to repair a herniated disc? No problem.
On the one hand, these injuries were mere speed bumps compared with what other Cup repeaters have had to overcome. In November 1991, Penguins coach “Badger” Bob Johnson died from brain cancer. Six days after the Red Wings won the ’97 Cup, the drunk driver of a limousine carrying three members of the organization hit a tree, leaving two of the passengers—defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov and team masseuse Sergei Mnatsakanov—critically injured. “Terrible, terrible tragedies,” recalls Bowman, who took over in Pittsburgh when Johnson fell ill and similarly steered Detroit through its glory years. Yet even Bowman says that, at least on the ice, “We also didn’t have the same grind as the Penguins are going through right now.”
Consider: Sunday marked Pittsburgh’s 213th game since the start of the 2015–16 season, an enervating total that doesn’t even include last September’s World Cup of Hockey, in which seven Penguins competed and Crosby (who else?) won MVP for Team Canada. “I might be sleeping for about a week now after this,” defenseman Ian Cole says. “We’ll see if I make it to the parade or not.”
A first-round win over Columbus might have seemed breezy on paper, but the Penguins were steadily outshot throughout the series and needed 49 saves from goalie Marc-André Fleury in the clincher. “I thought we played really well against them,” laments Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella. “Their quick-strike offense just capitalized.”
If not issuing an outright rebuttal to the value of attempting shots in bulk—Pittsburgh ranked 15th out of the 16 playoff teams in five-on-five shot attempt percentage—the Penguins proved that opportunism can prevail. Nashville never recovered after allowing three goals in 4:11 during the first period of Game 1. The third period of Game 2 brought an even swifter shelling—strikes from Guentzel, forward Scott Wilson and center Evgeni Malkin spanning 3:18. As Sullivan texted Tortorella, a close friend, “We’re ugly, but we find a way.”
Sullivan, a Marshfield, Mass., native, never sugarcoated hard truths after replacing the laissez-faire Johnston. Cameras once even captured Sullivan telling his players to “shut the f‑‑‑ up” on the bench last year. “To step in and set the standard for how it’s going to be, that was huge,” Tortorella says. “That’s who Mike is. He’s secure in his skin, but he also has a humbleness that attracts players to him.”
No doubt this mettle helped when, for the second straight postseason, Sullivan passed over the 32-year-old Fleury in favor of the 23-year-old Murray. Made midway through the Ottawa series, the decision might have opened rifts on less sturdy teams. But after Murray posted a playoff-high .937 save percentage in 10 starts, it was Fleury who passed him the Cup on the ice in Nashville. “He’s been such a mentor for me,” Murray told NHL Network, fighting back tears. “That was huge.”
And when Sullivan asked an unheralded blue line, arguably the weakest on a Cup champion since the Hurricanes’ in 2006, to pick up the slack for Letang, they responded. “A simple bunch,” Sullivan says. “They understand where their limitations are.” Translation: The likes of Hainsey and Cole weren’t driving play like Nashville’s blueliners, but their hot-potato approach to flipping pucks from the defensive zone allowed for brisk enough breakouts. “Everybody pretty much wrote us off, saying we didn’t have a chance without Kris,” says Cole, “and understandably so.”
Indeed, as an Eastern Conference head coach framed his doubts, “I wasn’t sure how far [Sullivan] would get with that back end, but look at them now.”
Yes, look at them now.
Look at Hagelin, who won a footrace to pot an empty-netter with 14 seconds left on Sunday, cranking out celebratory pull-ups on a bar in the hallway while still wearing his skates after the Cup-clinching victory. And a shirtless Bonino, injected with painkillers for the occasion, hobbling around on crutches. And Malkin and Kessel dousing each other with champagne, as if the Brut bottles were Super Soakers and the locker room their front lawn.
See Sullivan work the room with his 79-year-old father, George, congratulating everyone in sight. Listen to Kunitz croon an NHL-themed lullaby as he lugs the silver chalice to the bus:
And down will come Stanley, cradle and all. . . .
The Predators, meanwhile, struggled to put their magical season to bed. In advancing beyond the second round for the first time, they had exposed the wider world to their own brand of fandom: booming soccer-style chants and an affinity for hurling catfish. The official club of country music, they lured celebrity anthem singers like Martina McBride and Faith Hill, while tens of thousands of fans, sardined on Broadway, watched Luke Bryan perform atop Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge before Game 6.
And yet everything fell apart from the sharp blast of a whistle on Sunday. Sixty-seven seconds into the second period Nashville’s leading scorer, Filip Forsberg, sneaked a short-side wrister through Murray’s armpit. Just as center Colton Sissons jammed the loose puck into an open net, referee Kevin Pollock, from an obstructed angle, blew the play dead. Though karma eventually returned to the Preds in the form of three power plays, Sissons’s nongoal was their best chance; they finished the series without scoring over the final 123:23.
As he rode the freight elevator from his box after the Cup presentation ceremony, misty eyes fixed ahead, Nashville GM David Poile could at least take solace in a bright future. A handful of restricted free agents, most notably No. 1 center Ryan Johansen, who missed the finals after undergoing emergency thigh surgery, need new contracts. Otherwise, Nashville can comfortably bring back a similar lineup and challenge again.
And the potential for a Penguins three-peat? That hasn’t happened since the Islanders snatched four straight in the early 1980s, more than two decades before the salary cap ushered in the age of parity. But who would dare doubt Crosby and Malkin, Murray and Sullivan now?
“It’s been a lot of hockey these years,” Crosby says. (Sixty-nine hours and 44 minutes of personal ice time since the start of 2015–16, to be exact.) He’s reached the loading dock, stopping to sign autographs for a few fans in Predators gear. “Might take a little bit of extra time to get some rest. But when you have this feeling fresh in your mind, there’s always a ton of motivation. Just the fact that you’re chasing something keeps you in it.”
Be it hockey history, or simply the bus bound for another party.

How Sidney Crosby, Penguins pulled off a Stanley Cup repeat
Prewitt, Alex
Sports Illustrated
June 13, 2017