Originally written on Puck Huffers  |  Last updated 4/14/12

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 07: Bill Guerin #13 of the Pittsburgh Penguins readies for a face off against the Phoenix Coyotes at Mellon Arena on October 07, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Phoenix won 3-0. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

"If Bill Guerin were here..."
"Man, Billy would be givin' it to us..."
"...bet he's lovin' that dock he's livin' on."

This is all James Neal heard as he walked into the locker room.
Disgusted, he threw his gloves against his locker. He ripped his jersey off over his head. He unlaced his skates in a fury.
**** this, he thought.
I don't know a Penguins with Bill Guerin.
"And I don't think that should ******* matter," he muttered to himself.

"What's up," LeHair asks.
 "We deserve this." Neal answers. He puts his head between his knees. "We deserve this," he says to himself, more than anyone else.
Kris shakes his head. "They say 'deserve' shouldn't be in our...uh...lexicon." James Neal is certain Kris read this online on a girlfriend forum or some ****, the way he pronounces it so carefully. He's memorized this.
"Is that what you think?" He asks Kris, incredulous.
Kris gives no answer.
"IS THIS WHAT YOU THINK?"
He asks everyone, this time.

Sid looks over at him, squinting in exhaustion and confusion.
 TK snorts.
Ben Lovejoy rolls his eyes and goes back to changing.

"You guys are ******* pathetic" Neal grunts, pacing the aisle. "No, you need to hear this, you are pathetic." he shouts this time.
"What are you talking about," asks Sid, standing up for his men. "We are working for this. This is the only thing we have."
"Yeah, but you're acting like you have no right to it. Don't you remember? Don't you remember fighting for the Cup like it was already yours?"
He shakes his head.
It is time.
Silently, he reaches into his locker and pulls out a package. It's wrapped in black tissue paper. Once the packaging is ripped off, he reveals a case of cigars. "These are for you," he says, and passes one to each member of the team. 
Engelland takes one looks and sets it down on the bench beside him. "Smoking isn't exactly going to help. I'm no Cary Price."
Neal appears beside him with a torch lighter. "Sorry my friend, not a choice."
Everyone reluctantly holds the cigars to their mouths as Neal comes around, lighting them one by one. Some eye rolls are exchanged.



"Deserve," Neal says to them all, as they reluctantly puff.
"Deserve. That is what we were told to forget. We were told to forget that we deserve anything. And why?"
The men are silent, looking at their own equipment. 
Neal looks at LeHair. "What do you feel like you deserve?"
Tanger looks around, stunned by the sudden attention. He is silent.
"I said," growls Neal, "what do you feel like you deserve?"
LeHair sputters. "Uhh...to win...?"
"WRONG ANSWER," screams neal, ripping the cigar from Kris's mouth and holding the burning ember dangerously close to his throat. "WHAT. DO. YOU. DESERVE?" 
"To...To win a Cup...without...without Max to thank!" He sputters.

James returns the cigar to Letang's shaking hand and takes a puff of his own cigar.
"Good."
He goes to his locker and pulls out a second package. Inside of it are mismatched glasses. He passes them out. He turns his attention to MAF.
"And you?"
"I...deserve..."
MAF pauses for a second too long. Neal rips the glass from his hand, shatters it on the bench beneath MAF and holds the jagged edge to his throat. "WHAT DO YOU DESERVE?!"
"I desserveee to win dee Cup and not be questioned az ze goaltender any longer."
"Good enough," Neal says, setting down the jagged edge and handing MAF another glass. From his locker he pulls a third package.

He pours everyone a glass.
And then, he pours some out on the lockerroom floor. 
"You think you don't deserve anything, the rest of you? Then you don't."
He strikes a match on his breezers and drops it to the floor; the alcohol catches, setting flame to the carpet.
Sid nods, contemplatively, watching the flames start up. He's been here before. He knows what is happening. He swigs the contents of his glass and then smashes the glass to the floor, sending shards everywhere, and sparking flames further.
"I deserve more than Stanley Cup hangover playoffs. I deserve another ******* Cup. I deserve to go down in history." The fire glints in his eyes.


Jordan Staal stands up.
"I deserve to be taken seriously. I deserve to be more than a third liner. I deserve to have more Stanley Cups than all of my brothers, combined. You got any more of that?"
James Neal hands him an entire bottle out of the depths of his locker.
Joe Vitale slinks out of the darkness. "I deserve glory. I deserve it, for all I've done."
Michalek simply nods, throwing his glass to the floor.
 
Neal stands before them.
"I'm no Bill Guerin. I can't burn down a hotel and convince the papers to never report it, despite the fact that ten innocent bystanders were found dead in its wake."
Flames lick at his heels and he stands on the bench.
"****, I'm going to get charged for all of this damage. But so be it, you ******* need to REMEMBER. You need to REMEMBER the Glory of being Penguins. You don't just work for this, you EARN it. We need to treat these games like we were BORN to play them."

Sid nods silently for a moment, before speaking up himself.
"I missed too much to let this go. I missed to much to come back to complacency. So the defence needs some fixing, it's not like we don't  have D. We have passion. We have desire. But we ******* DESERVE this. I deserve this."

James Neal nods.
He hopes he has gotten through to the team. 
Breaking out a fire extinguisher, he douses the flames just before they reach the Penguin.

Sitting there, in the corner of his locker, he sees the last package, wrapped in black tissue paper.
It calls to him.
But he knows it is not yet time. It is not that desperate, not quite yet.
He slides the bottles he has taken out back into the bag he had been given earlier that day and says a quiet prayer. 

"Please let us not need that last bottle. Not yet. Give us strength, Billy."


 

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

SEC commissioner wrote classy note to injured Arkansas RB

John Daly taken to hospital after collapsing on course

Rex Ryan keeping Bills' starting quarterback a secret

Braves fan dies after falling from upper deck

Randall Cobb suffers shoulder injury vs. Eagles

WATCH: John Harbaugh, Jay Gruden get into shouting match

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

WATCH: Brian Hartline drags toes on great TD catch

Julio Jones, Falcons agree on 5-year contract extension

WATCH: Blue Jays' Edwin Encarnacion blasts three homers, extends hit streak

WATCH: Usain Bolt does LeBron stomp dance after relay win

WATCH: Vick's first pass as a Steeler is a 63-yard bomb

WATCH: Montana's Ben Roberts makes amazing TD catch

Will Jimmer Fredette find success with Spurs?

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

American Pharoah upset at Travers Stakes

Steve Smith joins family in stands after getting ejected from game

WATCH: Cordarrelle Patterson rips off 107-yard return TD

Steve Sarkisian giving up most of USC's playcalling duties

Animal shelter cancels fundraiser at Heinz Field

Mets acquire RP Addison Reed from Diamondbacks

WATCH: James Rodriguez scores unreal goals

Vin Scully: I believe next year will be my last

Charles Barkley wants to blow his former agent’s brains out

The Texas Rangers are firing on all cylinders

WATCH: Rutgers ends training camp with dance off

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Every NBA division's most interesting rookie for 2015-16

Fantasy football round-by-round draft strategy

Ronda Rousey's Carl’s Jr. ad

The WWE Divas Revolution is getting ugly

The NFL’s season kickoff isn’t going as planned, but plans don’t matter in the NFL

The Opening Drive: What happened to all the great Michigan tailbacks?

The 1980s Lakers represent the NBA’s ultimate creation story

The Orioles’ frustrating season

Five greatest NBA players of all-time

Finding signs of life for the Red Sox

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker