The kid's barely out of puberty, at least to look at him, and he's been through hell and back. He's had his shoulder ripped apart once, then twice. He's faced down cancer. He's had his hip smashed by an open bench door. He's overcome so much that cancer could be so casually nestled between two other sentences.
And yet, in countless talks the past couple years, I could never get Maatta to confess to anything being amiss. Everything was always 'OK' or 'no big deal.'
Until after these remarkable, resilient, riveting Penguins finally took down the Lightning in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final Thursday night at Consol Energy Center, thus clinching the franchise's fifth Stanley Cup championship berth against the Sharks.
That's when it hit Maatta, the one ordeal out of all that he could discuss.