Pittsburgh Penguins players pose with the Stanley Cup after they beat the Detroit Red Wings 2-1 to win Game 7 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup finals in Detroit, Friday, June 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Brad Thiessen was so close to reaching heights that Northeastern hockey rarely saw in 2009. In February, Thiessen’s Huskies fell short to Boston University in the Beanpot despite Thiessen minding the net well enough to win the Eberly Award as the best goaltender in the tournament. In March, Thiessen and the Huskies lost on the last game of the regular season to allow BU to sneak away with the Hockey East regular season championship. Hardly a week after that came a loss to UMass-Lowell in the TD Banknorth Garden, and after that a first-round exit in the NCAA Tournament.
But in 2009, Brad Thiessen got to touch a bigger trophy than any Beanpot or Hockey East title. Brad Thiessen was part of a Stanley Cup championship with the Pittsburgh Penguins as a member of the Penguins’ practice team. And that means that Thiessen got to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup just two months after choosing to leave Northeastern for the professional ranks. And remember, that’s just the beginning of Thiessen’s professional career.
Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury did a sensational job throughout the playoffs. Most notably, the young netminder saved shots in the last seconds of game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals that could have tied the game and sent it into overtime. With so much promise shown in Fleury, Thiessen’s road to starting in the NHL will be blocked for the time being, but Thiessen and Fleury exhibit similar styles and can learn together. Like Thiessen, Fleury’s biggest shortcoming is that he occasionally gives up juicy rebounds and second-chance opportunities.
Brad Thiessen chose to forego his senior season to join the professional ranks, and after a 2008-09 season like he had at Northeastern it’s hard to argue the point. Thiessen absolutely carried the Huskies throughout the regular season, keeping Northeastern at or around the top of the Hockey East standings and putting them in the Hockey East semifinals for the first time this decade. A Hobey Baker Award finalist, Thiessen’s future is bright in the NHL.
And before he ever took to the ice in an NHL game, Thiessen has already lifted the Stanley Cup. So despite the late-season disappointment on Huntington Avenue, the leader of the 2009 Huskies spent some time with hockey’s single greatest trophy, thanks in large part to his effort at Northeastern this past season.