Pittsburgh. Detroit. Stanley Cup Finals.ShareThis
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!