This post was written by Mr. P.
I know it’s fun to watch underdog teams rise to the occasion and make a run for a championship but sometimes it’s just a lot more rewarding to see the best go at it. This year in the NHL conference finals, the best 4 teams are playing, and as a result, you’re witnessing some pretty awesome hockey.
I was going to write this when both series, NY Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, were knotted at 2 games apiece and then some comments and predictions. But what I’ve taken from it all thus far is that predictions are just one person’s opinion and nobody really knows how this will end up. As an example, the popular early choice favorite was whatever team emerges from the west. The Ducks got on a roll early in the playoffs and seemed like the pick! But now Chicago is playing tonight to win back home ice advantage if they beat the Ducks in their pond. And in the east, most people ignored the Lightning and their incredible upfront speed and huge size! They are a fast as the Rangers, maybe even faster, and they have youth on their side. And when your defense is as tall as the Duke mens hoop team and are mobile, you have to say they have the “it” factor.
They say that “speed kills”, and in ice hockey, nothing rings more true! You can take all of the size you want and try to crush the fast little guys, but you have to catch them first! What speed does is close the time and distance players need to make plays. You limit the amount of space and time a skater has to complete a pass, a move, and even get a shot off, and you decrease the probability of that play actually happening. It is a fundamental taught at the lowest levels of the sport, but is especially important at the highest levels. You give a guy like Steve Stamkos or Patrick Kane an extra fraction of a second and they will burn you every time!
What is special about our final four this year is that all four teams possess incredible speed up and down the lineups. Tampa’s fourth line is as fast or faster than the Caps, Bruins, Penguins, and Islander’s top lines among other teams. Chicago and New York had widely been regarded as the fastest team, but even the Ducks can skate with them. What makes the Ducks and Tampa special though is that they have enormous advantages in size, and bigger fast guys will beat smaller fast guys almost every time. So it is for that reason that I’m going to choose the Ducks against Tampa in the finals and say that Tampa will upset the Ducks for the Stanley Cup.
But write in pencil please…there is one factor I haven’t brought up and that is goaltending…in the beginning, I eliminated Chicago and Tampa early because of their goaltending. Crawford of Chicago can personally lose a series all by himself. He tends to implode and give up goals in bunches as if he has lost his attention span. To me, he is not championship material. I did not know a lot about Tampa’s Bishop, but at 6’8”, he makes finding holes really difficult when shooting. His glove and rebounds are not always what you’d like, although he passes the puck as well as any goalie in history. Andersen of the Ducks is one who has managed to slip by the radar…I mean, who ever heard of a world class Danish goalie??? But he is getting the job done. Lundqvist of the Rangers was the guy I thought who could carry a team right to the end…he still might! Advantage-Rangers!
What does all of this mean? Nothing!!! Just my opinion and I’m going to ride the Tampa train to the end…really hurts to do so because I am a huge Ranger fan!!!
Regardless, these games are a must watch and I’ll miss them when they over!