Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hockey Nirvana

Two posts in one day. I've been slack lately, so this is a change of pace - literally.

With two hours and counting 'til game one of the Stanley Cup Final I just couldn't let the moment go un-commented upon.

I am SO excited. I think most hockey fans are. When was the last time there was a match-up so promising in the final? The closest we've come most recently is Colorado v/ New Jersey in 2001. The drama of Mission 16W. That was a pretty great series. Seven games. The last one, if I recall was pretty one sided - more so than the 3-1 decision implies. But this series is still all promise. It could still be the greatest hockey series ever played. It really could. It is absolutley in the realm of possibility.

I've been looking forward to today since about half way through the second round, when it started looking realistic that the Wings and the Penguins could be facing off against each other for the cup.

I think they genuinely are the two best teams in the league - sorry Montreal fans. Wait a second, why am I sorry? I hate the Canadiens.

Detroit has been my second favourite team for about as long as I've been a hockey fan. It's been a good decade and a half to be Detroit fan. I expect them to win, but I don't expect it to be easy. I also expect that this will be the end of the glory years in Detroit - times are too hard there in the auto industry and that can only hurt the club. They may go back to being the Dead Wings of 25 years ago and further - the pre-Yzerman era. But for now... four cups in 12 years, they've made it to the conference finals or further as many additional times since '95, they've been 1st in thier division every season but three since '94 (and they won the Cup in two of those three years.), Since it's inception in 1986 only one team has won the President's Trophy more than twice - Detriot - SIX times. They are the closest thing to a dynasty left in hockey in the new millenium.

But the boys in Pittsburgh aren't going to be a pushover. Crosby and Malkin are undisputed superstars in waiting. I think we can expect that this Cup will be to Pittsburgh what the 82-83 thumping the Islanders gave the Oilers. They handed them their ass, but showed them what it took to be a great team, passing the torch in the process. I don't expect the Pens to get swept, but I doubt they can out perform the combination of winning experience and skill that has been steeping in Hockeytown for over a decade.

Okay... now there are only 90 minutes left.

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