7 Questions For….Well, Me, About The Stanley Cup FinalShareThis
New Puck Daddy: How travel affects players differently, what effect it could have on the Stanley Cup Final (Puck Daddy)
I generally don’t write stuff for other hockey sites, but I thought this would be a fun way to generate a post for today. Russian hockey blogger Nikolay Dudaev asked if I’d answer a few questions for his hockey blog (which you can find here, and is very much in Russian), and I obliged.
I left the questions as he wrote them, because I love how you can hear his accent in them, in some strange way.
Let’s talk Stanley Cup Final!
1. When it became clear that Boston and Vancouver are in the Final what have you felt then?
I felt pumped, because it was the exact the matchup I wanted for both entertainment value, and because I predicted it so it helps me look like I know what I’m talking about. Hockey predictions are essentially just taking a stab in the dark (I hope that translates weird in Russian) and hoping you get lucky, and I’ve been exactly that in playoffs this year.
Here are the storylines I’m excited about: How will the Sedins perform, how will Luongo perform, will Lucic be a big factor while playing in his hometown VanCity, will Malhotra come back, can Thomas keep it up and….um…….can Kesler clinch the Conn Smythe? (Also: the potential for the Cup to go back to Canada is cool.)
2. What are your feelings and intuition about the final?
You can check out my explanation of why I think this on Puck Daddy today or tomorrow (not sure when the staff predictions piece runs), but I have the Canucks winning in FIVE.
3. Please name 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses of each team?
Ha, this feels homework-y now.
1. Depth at forward – From top to bottom, this team doesn’t have a bad line.
2. Goaltending – Tim Thomas is likely going to win his second Vezina, and he’s currently having the 12th best statistical playoff run of any goaltender in NHL history (save percentage wise).
3. 5-on-5 play – the Bruins owned this stat in the regular season, and are leading the playoffs in goal differential while even strength.
First off, you don’t get to the Stanley Cup Finals if you have three glaring weaknesses, so I’m gonna reach here for the sake of the exercise.
1. Power play - this one clearly had to go first. It’s operating at 8.2% after having a GOOD series. Lack of pure snipers means they rely on shots, screens and rebounds, AKA a lotta luck (meaning it’ll get hot and cold). Also, when you’re relying on the things I just listed and you trade for a PP QB who HATES shooting (Kaberle), taint a good thing.
2. Penalty kill – hey, I had to stretch “special teams” into two points. 79.4% won’t cut it against the Canucks big dogs.
2. Depth at D – Obviously Zdeno Chara is amazing, and Seidenberg’s been awesome, but their bottom few guys get just a “meh” (as is the case with almost every team).
1. Top-end scoring – there’s no bigger reason to fear the Canucks than the Sedin brothers. They’re effing amazing.
2. Goaltending – Luongo is the hardest-done-by goaltender I’ve ever seen in my life as a hockey fan. That list I linked to, showing Tim Thomas’ amazing post-season? Luongo’s on it twice, once for this season.
3. Depth at defence – the Canucks have used eight capable defenders in playoffs so far. I can’t remeber ever seeing a group of six as solid from top to bottom as this team has.
1. Stats – the Bruins have scored more goals and given up fewer in playoffs so far. They also have a lower 5-on-5 goal differential than the B’s. It’s not that the ‘Nucks numbers have been bad, but “weakness” is relative. They’re “weaker” than the B’s in those areas so far.
2. Depth at forward – again, I’m reaching here, this is all relative to the B’s. Granted, Samuelsson and Malhotra have been out for Vancouver, but in playoffs so far it’s safe to say the Bruins 4th line (who is it, Kelly, Campbell and Paille or Peverly?) is superior to names like Oreskovich, Hodson, Tambellini or whoever it is the Canucks are going with. ….like I said, I’m reaching.
3. Um…They’re stupid – I dunno, this team is really f***king good.
4. What do you think will be the most interesting opposition? Between what players?
I think a Kesler/Lucic battle, if they do play each other, would be must-watch stuff. Mostly because Kesler can physically dominate most of his opponents, but wouldn’t be able to with Lucic. So we’d get to find out if he really is all snarl, or only when he’s the tough guy in the scenario.
5. What do you think will be the determinant factor for winning the series?
Sadly, injuries. It’d be awesome if both teams were at their best, but this time of year, that’s pretty unlikely. You just hope none of the key players get hurt.
6. What is your prediction for the series?
Hmm, I think I misunderstood a question above (where I said Canucks in five). So to belatedly answer the above question, I’ll say my feelings about the series are “excited, eager, and hopeful” – I would quite like to see the Cup in British Columbia.
7. What do you think how many more grey hair will appear on your head?:)
97, which would bring me to a total of 97.
Thanks to Nickolay for including me in the group of writers he’s polled for his site.
Agree or disagree with anything, friends?