NHL: Archibald blessed to have name on Stanley Cup
Josh Archibald Team: Pittsburgh Penguins Number: 45 Position: Right wing Height: 5-foot-10 Weight: 176 pounds Age: 24 (Oct. 6, 1992) Draft: 2011 Pittsburgh, sixth round, 23rd pick (174th overall) High school: Brainerd (2011 graduate) College: Neb...
Team: Pittsburgh Penguins
Position: Right wing
Weight: 176 pounds
Age: 24 (Oct. 6, 1992)
Draft: 2011 Pittsburgh, sixth round, 23rd pick (174th overall)
High school: Brainerd (2011 graduate)
According to www.pensburgh.com , 24 Pittsburgh players are scheduled to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup after the Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators four games to two in the Final series last weekend.
NHL rules stipulate that a player must have participated in 41 regular-season games or in one Stanley Cup Final game in order to have their name etched on the chalice.
Brainerd High School graduate Josh Archibald is guaranteed to be one of those 24 since he played in Game Four of the Final.
"I still don't think it's sunk in yet," Archibald said Wednesday after the Penguins' parade in downtown Pittsburgh. "It's been pretty surreal. It's every kid's dream that grows up playing hockey.
"For me, to let alone play in the NHL, and be lucky enough to have my name engraved for the rest of time, it's pretty special. I'm very blessed right now."
He played in a 4-1 loss to the Predators in Game Four. He finished a minus-1 and received a 2-minute slashing penalty in the third period. He recorded one shot on net and played eight shifts totalling 5 minutes, 11 seconds.
"You talk about playoff hockey, and it being heightened (intensity) from the regular season, you get thrown in the mix of the Stanley Cup Final and it escalates that much more," Archibald said. "The juices and the blood were really pumping. Once I got out there and had a couple shifts, I started to calm down a little bit. It started to sink in that I was actually playing in a Stanley Cup Final. It was amazing and a lot of fun.
"I played quite a bit the first period. We went down (3-1) in the second. You can't be mad when they throw the big guns out there to try to get us going and get some goals. I was just trying to be vocal and keep morale up on the bench. It was a dream come true."
Archibald wasn't in uniform for Game Six when the Penguins clinched the Cup with a 2-0 victory. But he got to skate onto the ice in uniform and join teammates' celebration immediately afterward.
"Five of us got to put our gear on, a couple injured guys, a couple of us other guys, that they wanted out on the ice in full gear," Archibald said. "We didn't want to jinx anything so we were sitting in the locker room. As soon as we scored a goal with 1:30 left, we were in a panic to get our gear on. We were 1:30 away from winning the Stanley Cup so we wanted to be ready when it happened. It was pretty surreal."
In all, Archibald played in four playoff games with total ice time of 7:51. He took four shots and dished out nine hits.
"Being a contract year, being able to get in those games, I think that helped me out a lot looking forward to the future," he said. "You watch on TV, I don't think you get a full understanding.
"To be behind the scenes, to be on the winning team, yeah, there's a lot of celebrating, but guys have ice bags on, guys injured are playing through injuries and probably have to get (surgery) after the season. You will do anything you can-play through injuries or broken bones-to get your chance to win the Stanley Cup."
Archibald rode in Wednesday's Stanley Cup victory celebration. An estimated 650,000 people gathered for the downtown Pittsburgh parade to celebrate the Penguins' back-to-back championships.
"It was insane," he said. "There were so many awesome fans. I couldn't have asked for a better day."
In 10 regular-season games with Pittsburgh this season, Archibald totalled three goals, two in one game, and 11 shots.
"I think the last couple years have been big growing years for me," he said. "This year, to be able to get in 10 games, that's not quite a huge stat, but just to get in those games and show them I can play at the NHL level, I think that was a huge eye-opener.
"Hopefully they stick with me and I get a chance to be back here again next year. We'll see what happens with my contract. Pittsburgh is a world-class organization. I would love nothing more than to be back in Pittsburgh."
Before his call-ups to the NHL this season, Archibald appeared in 61 regular-season games at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League where he accumulated 15 goals and 13 assists. WBS won its division.
"It was a great season for us," Archibald said. "As a team, our slogan was 'Wire to Wire.' The second week we were in first place as a team and kept it that way until the end. We finished in first place in the league. That was a huge accomplishment."
In five Calder Cup playoff games, Archibald scored two goals. WBS lost in five games to Providence in the first round of the playoffs.
"Their goaltender stole the show," Archibald said. "I think we outshot them like 50-20 in Game Five and they beat us 2-1. It was not quite the ending we wanted in Wilkes-Barre but it gave me the opportunity to get up here and get in those four playoff games.
"That was a blessing in disguise. I wish we could have gone further with Wilkes-Barre but I can't complain about where I ended up this season."
Archibald has completed the final year of his three-year entry level contract. As of July 1, he will be a restricted free agent. Basically, that means Pittsburgh must extend him a qualifying offer to retain negotiating rights with him. If a qualifying offer is not made, a player becomes an unrestricted free agent. If a player rejects a qualifying offer, he remains a restricted free agent.
His offseason plans include spending time in Omaha, Neb., where he met his wife, Bailey, when both attended Nebraska-Omaha. He also plans to spend time in Minneapolis and Brainerd and hopes to celebrate his day with the Stanley Cup in Brainerd.
"We haven't found out the schedule on that yet," Archibald said, "but the plan is hopefully to get it in Brainerd, maybe get it on the lakes, maybe on the golf course a little bit too."