Does this not feel like the strangest Stanley Cup Finals ever? Each of the five games in this series have felt a little off and a little wrong. In fact it barely feels like the Stanley Cup Finals… provided you ignore the patches on the jerseys and CBC/Versus reminding us every few minutes of every broadcast.
And although many of us probably felt Chicago and/or Philadelphia would be playing for the Cup back in October, I think we all secretly assumed they’d be doing so with different goalies miraculously acquired during the season via trade or act of God or something.
Ha Ha! I’m laughing at the thought of this… can you imagine if Washington hadn’t shit the bed and gotten to the Finals to play Chicago??? We’d be seeing scores like 15-14 every game! NHL Marketing could call it the “Baseball Series” or something stupid like that. That would be in theme with the Winter Classic too (It’s also clever because both cities legitimately have baseball teams… Wait. You already knew that… crap!). I’m sure that would go over well with the average American sports fan who hates hockey!
(To all the great American hockey fans who read this, you are exempt from my mockings… for now).
Let’s talk about the Conn Smythe trophy for a second. Could there be a less unanimous Playoff MVP? It reminds me of 2007 when the Anaheim Ducks won the Cup and Scott Niedermayer was named MVP. That one totally felt like a “Ahh, whatever” pick. Allow me to explain with a relatively accurate depiction:
Dudes who pick the Conn Smythe winner: So who should we pick?
NHL: Well the Ducks did win so you should probably pick someone from Anaheim. Also, every Senator player sucked in the Finals so yeah, pick a Duck.
Dudes: How about Niedermayer? He’s old and probably worthy. In a Dave Anderchuk kind of way.
NHL: Sure. Sounds good.
Gary Bettman: Yeah sounds really good guys!!
Dudes/NHL: Shut up Gary!!
In all likeliness I suspect one of Jonathan Toews or Chris Pronger will win the Conn Smythe. Patrick Kane might have an outside shot but I think it all comes down to which team wins the Cup. Speaking of Pronger, what the hell kind of Cup Finals is this when Pronger is the good guy (sort of)?? CBC’s done a great job of selling that one (the experienced and savvy vet who’s enjoying the moment blah, blah, blah…). But what the hell? Aren’t we supposed to hate him? Wasn’t he supposed to get suspended at some point during the Flyers run to the Finals? I’m confused. I guess I’ll continue rooting for Toews.
Want to know why the NHL agrees with me that this year’s Finals are weird? They pulled all those current “What if…” commercials and replaced them with the “Speechless” ones that feature winners from years past (Bret Hull, Mark Messier, etc…). Ha ha, “What if the Stanley Cup Finals didn’t suck…”.
Now let’s end with goaltending. Somehow Hawks goalie Antti Niemi has won three games this round, yet has allowed four or more goals in all but one of those games. Ouch. What’s even more surprising is that he hasn’t been pulled in the series despite allowing 19 goals in five games. And then there’s Michael Leighton – perhaps the worst goalie to ever play in the Stanley Cup Finals. I know that sounds harsh. He legitimately seems like a great team guy (in all sincerity). But it’s like he’s pulled once per series. At least. It’s like that Anchorman line, “60% of the time, he works every time”. Fitting, I know.
Anyways, we’ll see how tonight’s game 6 in Philadelphia goes. Imagine the score is something ridiculous like 8-6 Chicago and we see both goalies pulled on a night where the Stanley Cup is awarded. That would be hilarious and amazing. Enjoy the game!
Stay classy, Stanley Cup Finals. Even if you are the weirdest one ever.
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