Ive been neglecting the blog a bit too long. Maybe a case of being upset the Kings were eliminated in such a meek fashion; maybe I'm just lazy.
Anyhow, some cup related thoughts.
Nice to see Joel Quenneville finally get his kick at the can. Truth be told I always thought he was one of the best coaches in the league and always got the most out of what he had to work with.
On the other side as much criticism as I have seen Peter Laviolette take over the years one could say this playoff run has thoroughly put him on the pedestal of arguably one of the greatest American Hockey Coaches of all time. Heck he could end up high on the list of all time greatest coaches period if the Flyers manage to win the cup. I mean to win the cup with Carolina and now have a kick at the can with the Flyers is very very impressive. And to see the Flyers not only earn a playoff birth in the last game of the season, the miracle comeback down 3-0 in the series against Boston, and now most likely playing the role of underdog-I just cant count them out.
On the Defense side of the equation-the Chris Pronger trade has paid off in silver dollars for the Flyers. I hate him but you can not deny the effect he has had on the Flyers.
For the Hawks, Duncan Keith is having a heck of a series and the Hawks first cup appearance since the Andy Griffith Show(actually since the late 80s but I wanted to use the joke) should most likely earn him a Norris. I remember the Hawks previous run and though it was years ago I can never forget the Hawks of that with Dirk Graham, Adam Creighton, Steve Larmer and others. Good Times.
Measuring the Captains....
Jon Toews has been a stalwart and consumate young professional but Mike Richards showed some moxie that I have yet to see in a long long time from a Captain. Sure you can argue Crosby or Sakic from a few years ago but those teams were very very good teams expected to win-Richards is literally carrying the team in all areas of the ice. Toews has the skill and the hands-but Richards has the heart. I am tempted to go on record with the old cliche of "Edge-Richards" but that would mean that I actually have to measure and compare all of the other areas of both teams and I am not sure I want to take that task....at least not right now.
Goalies- I wonder what kind of odds you could have gotten in Vegas if you bet 20 bucks that the starting goalies for the Cup would be Antti Nieme and Michael Leighton you may have been looking at a retirement type payoff. Hard to even call this matchup with both goalies being wild cards and unknowns at this level. Either one could rise to the occasion or completely choke-and it literally could be either one which makes it impossible to even recap this matchup.
I won't go on record even picking a winner....I just want it to go at least 6 games and have at least one fighting major.
If the decision is based on Ex-Kings I am really pulling for Lappy over Brent Sopel and its clearly obvious these two didnt get where the are on their good looks.
Some other thoughts...
How great was it seeing the Sharks tank again? I am not really a Blake hater per se because by all accounts he is a really nice, cool guy. But I couldn't help but smirk a bit showing the bearded Blake wearing the C as the waning moments of the Game 4 sweep ticked of the clock. Will Doug Wilson get fired? Not sure and even though the GM doesn't always determine who wears the C you've got to wonder who decided Blake was the right given he never accomplished anything as a Captain.
As for Montreal-I am glad to see them ousted. Just do not like that french canadian style pomposity bloviating psuedo greatness. And in a healthy mix of "SandGate" and the screw job the refs laid on the Kings last year has never sat well with me. I will say this-Kirk Muller will probably be a head coach in the next 2 or 3 seasons.
Once again....lets hope the series goes at least 6 games and sees at least one fighting major.