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7 Questions For….Well, Me, About The Stanley Cup Final

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New Puck Daddy: How travel affects players differently, what effect it could have on the Stanley Cup Final (Puck Daddy)

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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.

BRUINS STRENGTHS

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.

 BRUINS WEAKNESS

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).

CANUCKS STRENGTHS

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.

CANUCKS WEAKNESSES

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?

Comments

16 Responses to “7 Questions For….Well, Me, About The Stanley Cup Final”
  1. vx inTN says:

    Havent seen a Bourne betting update in a while. How are you doing?

    (and I agree, LOVE the matchup, very entertaining hockey, with Canucks in 5; 4 wouldnt suprise me)

  2. Blake says:

    I’d love to know how effing translates in Russian.

    My prediction for this is Boston in 6. Vancouver has been great in the post season so far, but they really haven’t run into any truly elite goaltending (even though Rinne was pretty damn good in that series). Tim Thomas, Crawford and Niemi ain’t, and I think that has the very good potential to confound the Nucks (or, at least, I really, really hope it does).

  3. mikeb says:

    Blake? The Canucks haven;t seen any truly elite goaltending? Pekka Rinne played better at any one point in that series than Tim Thomas has all year, or ever. Pekka Rinne is a far superior goaltender. Its not even close.

  4. Justin says:

    wow mikeb…I was going to argue against your point, but your well reasoned, thoughtful response has convinced me. That’s some real analysis there.

  5. It does gonna be a great battle when these two great teams clash. I can’t wait to watch it. This is gonna be an exciting game.

  6. Neil C. says:

    I dunno guys, two of the Vezina candidates are in the finals but the third candidate doesn’t count as truly elite? If Rinne doesn’t count as an ‘elite goaltender’, then are we saying that there are only two elite goalies in the league this year? And Rinne behind the Preds with Trotz at the helm? Boston has great defensive stats, Thomas is great, their GAA is silly low, etc.,etc., but let’s not pretend Vancouver has faced a bunch of weak goalies throughout the playoffs (Niemi was just fine last year when he hoisted the Cup, and Nashville is right behind Boston for all the relevant goals against stats).

    Also, Boston has played Price, Bobrovsoucherleighton, and Roloson, so if you’re going to worry about a team that hasn’t faced elite goaltending….

    That being said, I seem to be in the minority in thinking that this will be a pretty close series that any team could win. Boston is a great team that deserves to be where they are and neither team is going to make it easy, imho. I think Boston might have problems with their speed (similar to San Jose) but I also wonder how Vancouver will cope with a team that has San Jose’s size with a more mobile and skilled back end (and Tim Thomas playing his A game). Should be great! I’m thinking about putting a big bet on the Bruins to hedge my emotional investment if the Canucks don’t win…. I’ll collect while I cry in the dark, or I’ll forget about it with my Cup euphoria

  7. noam says:

    not entirely sure what to say here other than wtf? watching vancouver vs rinne was like watching someone trying to fit a truck through an anthill. just as good, for the last threeish games, was crawford; that game 7 was about as good a ‘tending clinic as one could hope to get… niemi was surprisingly good as well — the 5-on-3 bonanza might’ve slightly put a damper on his svv, just a bit.

    vancouver in 5 though! just gonna brag at this point about getting van in 5 and bos in 7 right last round eh

  8. Blake says:

    Don’t get me wrong. Rinne was crazy good in the series against the Nucks…I just think that, a large reason why he had such a Vezina-worthy season was the team that he was playing behind. He’s a great goaltender, but I just don’t think that he’s in the same league as Luongo or Thomas — yet.

  9. Fish says:

    something else entirely. the trasher were abreviated ATL (for Atlanta obviously) if they move to Winnipeg, does their abreviation become WIN? The Jets moved long before Iknew there was something as the NHL, so what as the Jets’ abreviation?

  10. nick says:

    In soviet Russia, blog reads you!

  11. Richie says:

    @Fish I could be wrong but I believe it will be WPG.

  12. vx inTN says:

    Blake, we’ve seen goalies come and go in Nashville, but Rinne is The Best there so far. Chris Mason, Dan Ellis, and Thomas Vokoun had great numbers with the Preds and then lesser (sometimes GREATLY less) numbers with their next team(s). Yes, the Pred style of play benefits goalie stats. But I’ve been insanely into hockey since 1971 and I think Rinne is the real deal. Big, smart, sets up well, and insanely quick. Poile will pay this goalie big bux when the time comes, unlike the others that earned their way to a larger paycheck elsewhere.

  13. mikeb says:

    I know my point didn’t appear thought out, but its true. Rinne has it all in his game. He probably has the best glove in the league, any side to side that gets lost is made up by the fact that he is a giant. He doesn’t get beat by screens and bad angles (which you often see Tim Thomas beaten on, pucks just go past Thomas far more often then they should). Sure the Predators have great Dzone movement but people don’t really bring that up too much when calling Marty Brodeur the greatest goalie of all time (Patrick Roy didn’t play behind bad defenseman either).

    I take Rinne all the time. This year, next year, regular season, playoffs, games 1-7, rounds 1-4.

  14. jmac says:

    Please clean up your language. It is course and shows disrespect for many of your readers;Just another sample of our declining standards

  15. jtbourne says:

    Please clean up my language? On my free personal blog that I write? I haven’t had time to engage many people in my comments section lately as I’m busier than ever (and many of you have deserved more interaction), but that really rubs me the wrong way and needs addressing. I write hockey from a hockey player’s perspective because I played hockey. While I have my beliefs, I’m not a religious guy. You’re welcome to stop by and read or not, no hard feelings from me either way. I appreciate everyone who chooses to. But I’m not beholden to anyone on the website that I pay to run that bears my name.

    Also, coarse is spelled with an a, you don’t capitalize after a semi-colon and sentences end in periods. Don’t let your journalistic standards decline.

  16. nick says:

    ^ college-educated hockey players: they’ll beat you on the ice AND in the classroom. just maybe not in the alley :P . Owned.

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