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Pittsburgh. Detroit. Stanley Cup Finals.

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Alrighta!  The finals.

(2) Detroit vs. (4) Pittsburgh

Let me start by saying great move to Commish Bettman on moving up the first game of the finals.  Great move.

Hockey is a winter sport that runs too far into the summer.  If hockey were to be removed from the consciousness of borderline fans, they’d definitely welcome summer and forget about it.  Not only are the first two games on NBC (congrats to Americans on finally getting some coverage), but they come a mere three days after Detroit’s win.  Let’s soak it alllll in.

Here are my thoughts on this series:

As other people have mentioned, there seems to be a parallel between Wings/Pens and the Islanders/Oilers back to back finals matchups, one that not many people know.

The Islanders got thumped in the finals of their Drive for Five by the Oilers, but if I may defend… they were without seven starters from the year before due to injury.  These guys were sitting in the stands, while that young and dangerous Oiler squad playing what was basically a different team, but in the same jersey.  Oh, and um, Dad was one of the injured.  Not that I’m biased.

This year, the Wings seem to be limping into the final.  I can’t help but wonder if maybe what it takes to win the cup takes such a toll on your body that it gets harder and harder to stay healthy wth short summers and longer seasons, or if it’s just coincidence.  Either way, Lidstrom is back, but obviously hurt, Datsyuk is out, Ericsson is out… It sets up well for the Pens.

In goal, I like Pittsburgh.  I know that by now, we should all respect Chris Osgood.  I think he has like, 19 Cups or something, I just find it really hard.  He obviously does what it takes to give his team a chance, but I just don’t think he has that “next level” like Fleury does.  Ossy is either a Hall-of-Famer or an AHL all-star. 

I definitely like the Red Wings on D – their transition is super dangerous with Rafalski and Lidstrom, plus, Chelios brings the average age of the D corps up eleventy-six years, so they seem super wise. 

Without Datsyuk, Detroit still has good frontmen, but I think they’re over-achieving.  How long can you rely on major contributions from guys like Cleary and Helm?  Good players, for sure, but not as threatening as that other side.  Even defending Conn Smythe Zetterberg and Franzen don’t compare to Sid the Gretzky and Markgeni the Malssier.

I know Zetterberg will shadow Sid again, but this year The Kid knows what to expect.  Hockey has evolved to hinge heavily on special teams, so now a good powerplay can win you games.  Your goalie has to be your best penalty killer, and I just don’t believe in Osokay.  That powerplay is gonna win. Pittsburgh. The Cup.

Plus, I’m pullin’ for Guerin - the Red Wings have already had their turn.  Go Pens!

Comments

8 Responses to “Pittsburgh. Detroit. Stanley Cup Finals.”
  1. hockey_gal says:

    Pens for the cup all the way!!! (hard to choke that one out being a canucks fan) but …

  2. David Tuttle says:

    I couldn’t agree more! I am also biased being an Avs fan…

  3. rm says:

    Probably something that might be more appropriate for summer hockey ramblings (along with why some NHL games are worth 3 pts and others only worth 2 pts. which bothers the “math” side of me) is taking a time out after an icing call.

    If the team who is called for icing opts to burn its one and only time-out, shouldn’t they be allow to put whoever they want on the ice after the TO? Your TO in hockey is precious; unlike squeakball, you only get one per game, not 20-something.

    If the team benefiting from the icing calls a TO, then the defensive team should have to keep the same 5 skaters on the ice.

    Just one of my many pet peeves. Here’s hoping the pens can come back strong on Sunday. Anybody know what is on NBC on Monday night that it can’t be bumped for the NHL playoffs? Was NBC worried that the game would go into OT and disrupt Conan O’Brien’s Tonight Show Debut?

  4. Bald Eagle says:

    The arrogance of Detroit will be their downfall this year. Game 1 will be the only win for them, I hope they enjoyed the moment. In his dreams, Maltby is always wearing an 87 jersey.

  5. jtbourne says:

    Great comment. I’m convinced the NHL should give at least a timeout a period. The NFL does it by halves, the NBA just gives a thousand, and a manager gets a timeout in baseball by taking a leisurely stroll to the mound. I think we’d see more clever use of the timeout if teams had a couple. At least awarding a second time out would be nice. I like having to leave the players on the ice though, it really crushes any incentive to ice the puck – purely a negative thing now, which I support.

    I’m jacked about Conan’s debut. I’ll be watching religiously.

  6. jtbourne says:

    Tuts! Good to hear from you brotha – your Avs almost out-stunk my Isles this year. Almost.

  7. otyss2 says:

    Living in Pittsburgh, I hope the sentiments about Pittsburgh winning are right. This city could use the win.

  8. jtbourne says:

    I have a feeling Detroit feels very little sympathy for your city’s need for something good to happen!

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