If the Chicago Blackhawks win the 2010 Stanley Cup – or even if the Philadelphia Flyers come back to grab the mug – this will go down as one of the most entertaining Stanley Cup Finals ever. In fact, since the NHL expanded in 1967, I would put this year’s series squarely in the top 5 of most exciting Stanley Cup Finals. Oh, over those 43 years, there have been great games, back-and-forth, seven-game series, incredible moments and goals and saves. But I’m talking about top-to-bottom, front-to-back great series with great stories and great games and great personalities. Here are my top 5 Stanley Cup Finals since 1967.
There are many reasons that the 2010 Stanley Cup Final has become a best-of-three series. Before the series started, I wrote about five things the Blackhawks had to do to be successful and win the Stanley Cup. http://bit.ly/dBRInd Now that we’re sitting at two-all in games, let’s re-examine and assess. Here are the five things we said the Hawks had to do to win their first Stanley Cup since 1961… (more…)
No surprise that the Chicago Blackhawks won the initial two games of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. No surprise that Antti Niemi has had a big hand in both victories, especially last night’s Game Two. No surprise that Chicago’s fans almost blew the roof off United Center. But, 120 minutes into the series, there are three things that I just do not understand.
1. Why would Flyers’ head coach Peter Laviolette have come back with Michael Leighton in goal? It makes no sense. In Game One, Leighton provided absolutely no spark, no lift, no inspiration to his team. He was out of position way too often. Laviolette had Brian Boucher right there. You remember Boucher? He’s the guy who wiped the New Jersey Devils off the first-round map and sent the Flyers soaring to their current heights. Then, after he comes back with Leighton in G2, we watch Ben Eager score the game-winning goal over a falling and way-too-deep-in-his-net Leighton. Last night, Leighton seemed to spend the entire game on his butt. If Laviolette does not start Boucher in G3, he deserves to lose this series. (more…)
Chris Pronger may not wear the “C” in Philadelphia but, make no mistake, he is the Flyers’ on-ice leader. He carries himself like it. He talks like it. He acts like it on the ice. And he can be downright nasty. That’s why Peter Laviolette gave him over 32 minutes of ice in Game One. Watch Pronger closely in this Stanley Cup Final. You are watching a future Hall-of-Famer.
Last night, following Game One of the Stanley Cup Final, Philadelphia Flyers’ netminder Brian Boucher made the understatement of the entire NHL season. Boucher mumbled, “It was a crazy game.” Oh, it was a lot more than that, Brian! For hockey fans, it was incredibly exciting! For head coaches Joel Quenneville and Peter Laviolette, it was a nightmare! Eleven goals on sixty-four shots. Defence was never even a small part of the equation for either team. It was possibly the most bizarre contest in the Stanley Cup Final in 37 years. (more…)