May 27, 2010

The Stanley Cup showdown

by Dan Bilicki In: Ice Hockey, Picks

The Stanley Cup final is finally here. Well, not technically yet, but at least we know which two teams will be facing off when the puck actually drops. It will be the seventh seed from the East, the Philadelphia Flyers against the No. 2 seed from the West, the Chicago Blackhawks.

So why is this post running today you might ask? Chicago bounced the Sharks on Sunday and Philly punched their ticket on Monday night. The series starts on Saturday too, not today.

Well folks, the series should be starting today but the NHL has felt the need yet again to waste our time and delay the inevitable end of their season. Seriously, why wait all most an entire week when the temperatures outside are climbing rapidly and even people in the sports section just want to see this thing end?

Well, the easy answer would be to bend their knee to the networks broadcasting the series, but who really knows.

Either way, when the two teams do step on the ice, what can we expect?

Quite simply, we’ll find out the Flyers are overmatched and will have to use their grit and toughness to stay in games. The Blackhawks depth will simply give them fits on the defensive end and their penalty kill has not only been producing shorthanded goals for seasons now, but they’re adept at making big stops. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Dustin Byfuglien, David Bolland, Marian Hossa. How can Philly possibly stop all of these guys?

When it comes to defence, the Flyers may have the best man in Chris Pronger, but the depth for Chicago is, again, incredible. Brian Campbell, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were all good enough to be Olympians. They’re more than capable of shutting down the Flyers resurgent forwards.

In net, there are two guys who really have stepped it up in the playoffs but aren’t particularly proven. Who really thought that the starting goalies in the final could possibly be Michael Leighton and Antti Niemi? Both have been tremendous in guiding their teams this far and really putting the boots to anyone who thinks that the regular season actually matters. Both weren’t starters at the beginning of the season and Leighton only got the job halfway through the post-season. I’d have to side with Niemi in this matchup, after all, Leighton hasn’t faced much yet in his journey to here.

In the end, it looks like Marian Hossa’s curse will finally be broken. After being runner up two seasons in a row, the former Penguin and Red Wing will finally hoist the Cup.

Prediction: Blackhawks in five

3 Comments

  1. My friend and I were arguing about this! Now I know that I was right. lol! Thanks for making me sure!

    Sent via Blackberry

  2. Let’s hear it for my chicago blackhawks huh! Up 2-0 on Philth-adelphia, and also those flyers are not even in the rear view mirror. I knew just about all yr long i’d personally be witnessing chicago in the finals, simply to tough plus to proficient of a crew. And don’t forget i’ll take just about any chance i have to blast Philly!

  3. Great post!

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