Here we go! The Stanley Cup final is here and I for one would love to take this opportunity to brag that I had 1 of these 2 in the final. But, of course most people had the Pens coming out of the East and I’m sure they will run away with the Cup. Nobody can matchup with them down the middle, their D is very good and with Marc-Andre Fleury in goal I just don’t see any way that anyone will beat them….
See, if you had told me on April 7th that only 1 of the teams I picked to play for the Cup would get there I would have just saved myself the time and wrote that opening. Instead, I wrote the opening anyways and wasted even more time. Kings and Devils. Also something I never thought I would see is the Devils come into the final as the flashy team! Seriously! A Lou Lamoriello team is flashy and has the bigger name players!
The Kings are most people’s pick but there is something about this Devils team that just knows how to get it done when they have to. It really started against the Panthers. They showed up when they HAD to in that series. Then vs Philly they just kept getting key goal after key goal (like they ALWAYS do to you, right Flyers fans? Claude Lemieux? Patty Elias?). And much of the same against the Rangers. They bent but never broke, and here they are. And they play an aggressive forechecking style. 2 guys up….Lou had only ever seen that on 5 on 3’s until this season.
As for those Kings…MY pick to go to the final in the West as stated on Twitter (@TJ_Soups) April 7th, probably around 10:30-11 PM that night, they aren’t a typical 8th seed as everyone knows by now. And how bout that Darryl Sutter?! He can’t run a team, but he can run a bench with the best of them! This is the 2nd team Sutter has taken to the final, and the Kings were his 3rd team he took to at least the Conference final (and was a win away from a 4th with the 02 San Jose Sharks). I said to a buddy of mine the other day, he is a lot like Pat Burns was. He has a shelf life, but in those 3 years or so he will be GREAT.
It’s not just Sutter though obviously. The biggest reason I picked them to go this far was because of how incredibly deep they are at centre. When you are pushing a damn good 2nd line centre to the wing (Jeff Carter) not because he can’t do the job but rather they don’t need him there…you’re freaking good in the middle! Then of course there d is more of a throwback to the early 2000’s with Greene, Mitchell, Scuderi playing prominent roles. Voynov made Kings fans quickly forget about Jack Johnson, and that Doughty character isn’t bad…
I don’t even need to mention Quick, nothing more needs to be said about his greatness this spring. That’s how good this team is. They are the favourites and deservedly so. But I do believe the Devils are going to make this very interesting. And I hope when I say that it’s not just from a long series point of view but an exciting series. Again I go back to the fact that it blows my mind the Devils are the more exciting team. 3 superstars in the hockey world. Brodeur is a house hold name in the States, most fair-weather fans will know who Zach Parise is thanks to his heroics in the 2010 Olympic gold medal game, and Kovalchuk is one of the most exciting players in the game.
A long and exciting series could be HUGE for the NHL. The league is on the up swing in the States, they have serious momentum. Sure they would have preferred New York, but this has big potential.
My prediction: LA in 6. Jersey takes game 1 due to being a little less rusty then the Kings could be, then the Kings rattle off 3 in a row, the Devils hold them off at home in game 5, the Kings win a tight game 6 to win their 1st Stanley Cup and shorten that list of teams that haven’t won since ’67….how does that taste Leaf fans?! I kid, I kid…sort of.
Follow me on twitter @TJ_Soups or the site @Soups_on_Sports