I'm sure everybody remember's former coach Michel Therrien's speech. Telling it the way it is. How the players don't really care. The only praise went to Max Talbot who bravely stuck up for a teammate while no one else would. Character. Even in the least advantagious and desirous situations. Fast forward to the present.
When asked who will come up big in Game 7. He responded. "I'd like to think it will be me." Honesty mixed with alittle well-placed pressure deflection from Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Sure enough, the Adrain Paul lookalike came up huge with two goals-capping a Stanley Cup Final that saw him collect 6 points second only to Superstar Evgeni Malkin.
If you go to Youtube you'll find a local Pitttsburgh BMW dealership inwhich Maxime Talbot calls himself a superstar. It's very funny and it features a very young Evgeni Malkin and his mentor Sergei Gonchar. And though his NHL numbers have yet to match his lofty QMJHL stats he has develped a reputation of coming up with big goals. Case in point he scored the tying goal that sent Game 5 to OT where Sykora finally scored. This year he went one step further scoring clutch goals against the Flyers, Hurricanes, Capitals and Red Wings. His biggest assist went unrecorded. With the Penguins down 3-1, he started a fight with a Flyer Designated Goon. He took his licks. But motioned the Philly Crowd to shutup. Sure enough he orchastrated a complete momentum swing with saw the Penguins tie it with quick goals by Mark Easton and Sidney Crosby. Needless to say they pierced Martin Biron's thin armor and closed the Broadstreet Bullies in 6.
His positive influence to Marc-Andre Fleury also can not be underappreciated. Talbot's pregame ritual which loosens up/rev's up youngster Marc-Andre Fleury helps the talented by shy goalie excell to his fulliest. Though remarkably consistant and develping a reputation of cluth/momentum-shifting saves, the critics have instead acted like vultures preying on the occational softy or mini-meltdown games. After dropping the first two games in Detroit, Fleury faced the daunting task of needing to be perfect 4 out of the next 5 outings. Despite lacking the vast experience that Chris Osgood has, he one bettered his counterpart. Osgood won two in a row. Fleury doubled his feat winning two in row twice in the same series-scripting a legendary victory. A large chunk of his Grant Fuhr-like confindence on enemy ice must be attributed to Superstar, his faithful and self-sacrificing teammate.
Based on his output in this Final, I believe Talbot has earned the right to be penciled in as Evgeni Malkin's permenant RW. The two have a chemistry. Ironically, Malkin still refers to him as "Bad Hands".