My job as a sports journalist is to be objective. I get heat from people from time to time because I don’t openly cheer for the teams I cover.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t root against them, either. I just feel that my role is to be the filter between you — the fan — and the teams you love.

All that being said, I would be a fool if I didn’t say the Penguins deserve to be playing for the Stanley Cup. They are, by far, the best team in the Eastern Conference and their hard work and commitment to team is paying off.

From superstars to role players, the Penguins are a team Pittsburgh can be proud of. Coach Michel Therrien has pushed all the right buttons, and he has done it his way.

Several Penguins coaches in the past have tried to get this team to commit to defense. Most didn’t have a lot of success in that department. But Therrien has been able to find a way to let the scorers score while still clamping down on the other end of the ice.

Captain Sidney Crosby is only 20 years old and he’s already building a reputation as being one of the best leaders in sports, joining the likes of Derek Jeter, Brett Favre, and Kevin Garnett.

Why? He leads by example. When you see your best player busting his behind, it kind of trickles down to the rest of the squad.

Again, the Penguins deserve to be only four wins away from a third Stanley Cup title. I’m not going to predict what will happen. But I’m not betting against them.

Enjoy it, Pittsburgh. Guess what? YOU deserve it, too!

It was quite a scene in the Penguins locker room just moments after they defeated the Rangers in overtime to win their Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series.

The players were giddy, there was loud music playing, and I saw plenty of smiles on their bearded faces as the Penguin players conducted interviews with the media.

I was leaning over to get an interview with Ryan Malone, and I happened to glance over to my right. There sat Sidney Crosby all alone at his locker, just him and his thoughts. There were no media members around, because he was about to head over to the postgame news conference.

I could see the look of relief on Crosby’s face. He kind of smiled to himself. I think he finally realized what he and his team accomplished.

You see, it’s not easy being Sidney Crosby. He’s supposed to be doing this. He was born to be the best hockey player in the world… the next Gretzky, the next Lemieux, the next big thing, leading his team to numerous Stanley Cups.

Crosby is carrying the weight of a team, a city, and an entire league on his broad but young shoulders. That’s a lot to ask for a young man who isn’t even old enough to buy a beer. And I think sometimes, he just needs to take a deep breather and take it all in.

I kind of leaned over to Sid and offered my congratulations. He gave a rather proud and satisfied look, and simply said, “Thanks.”

Now, there’s still the matter of beating the Flyers in the Eastern Conference finals, and either Dallas or Detroit in the Cup finals.

But Captain Crosby is halfway there. He can taste it. And he’s not the only one!