The Greatest Game on Ice

QUEST FOR THE CUP!


May 26, 2009 by: Nigel Cammack

As of right now there doesn't seem to be much of a glimmer of hope out there for the two lackluster teams out of the four left in the two conference finals. Chicago is trailing the series 3-1 with a huge beating by Detroit (6-1) in game four of the series. Carolina is in worse shape it seams against a Penguins squad that seems hell bent on making it back to the Cup finals. The Canes are losing the series right now 3-0 with a chance to hopefully win one tonight in Raliegh, NC.

Let's start with Chicago! They beat the Flames in a first round upset to move them on to Vancuver who they also upset. They seemed to be on a roll moving toward the Western Conference Final. Then they got the bad news, they have to strut past Detroit to move to the Cup. That is news that it seems no team in the NHL would want to recieve late into the year. There was a brick wall put in place at Joe Luis arena. The wall was cracked when they returned to Chicago and I personally was prod of them for being able to nearly split the series. Then Detroit did what they do best, they patched the crack in the wall and mounted a beating that just wasn't fair! Chicago has a great young team that will definitely be Cup worthy in years to come, they only problem is they need someone to crack Detroit!

On to Carolina! The 'Comeback Kids' as I call them. It doesn't look as if they can mount a comeback in this one. I will not count them out because that would put a jinx on Pittsburgh that I don't think would be right. The "cardiac" Canes as they're called may be having a heart attack that not even the best doctor can fix. They were strong through the playoffs ousting the favored Devils and the top team in the east Bruins. The Bruins were a little more then favored by a most in the ice world to take a run at the Cup. Not if the comeback kids had anything to do with it! The Canes may be exahusted at this point because both series went seven games which is not an easy feat for even the best teams. My actual guess in the series is that Carolina just ended up against a team that is firing on all cylinders right now and not looking to slow down. They have to win four strait games against the Penguins. That leaves way to many chances for the Penguins to pull off just one game to take the series. It's not looking good!

We may be coming up on a battle of all battles in the Cup finals. Two teams that faced off last year in a hell of a series may do it again this year. Pittsburgh at Detroit. The Red Wings vs the Penguins! The newest Stanley Cup rival of the new NHL! Both teams have battled in the playoffs and overcome close games to make it this far. I am sure the Red Wings don't care, but I think Pittsburgh wants a rematch to show Detroit what they are really made of. The Penguins have a great thing going for them right now. His name is Evgeni 'Geno' Malkin. The sleeping giant, as I have called him since last years series against Detroit, is awake and making lots of noise right now. He and Sid are keeping the Pens on a b line for the Cup. Detroit on the other hand is taking down Chicago quickly but is also being plaqued by injuries. They may just be holding these guys out for the Cup because they may feel they have the third round in the bag. Though even if the entire Red Wings team was only playing at 70% they would still be playing 20% better then everyone else. They are a force on the ice. They have the maturity, leadership and stamina to take the Cup home again this year. Pittsburgh doesn't seem willing to let that happen. This Cup series will be one for the ages and should be an amazing one to watch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I will.

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Comment by Alan James Hahn on May 29, 2009 at 1:34pm
I'm gonna be focusing a lot one one guy from Detroit when he is one the ice, and he would be Marian Hossa. Yes the sellout himself. He could have made a solid amount of money for 4 or so years with the Pens, along with the perk of playing alongside the two best playmakers in the game in Crosby and Malkin. But what does he do? He has no confidence the team could back to the finals, burns his teammates and goes to the team that beat the Pens last year. For a ONE YEAR DEAL. Ain't karma a bitch, because look who's waiting for him. Nigel I completely agree with you that the Pens are a force to be reckoned with. They are the best team in the NHL. Detroit is pretty much the same plus Hossa, but here are a few points that I think make the Pens different this year.

1) Sidney Crosby is healthy. Remember his high ankle sprain? I've had one of those, and even after it's supposedly healed, it still hurts!

2) Evgeni Malkin doesn't look dead tired. The announcers during last years final kept saying how worn out he looked. He wasn't producing the tail end of last years playoffs, but that has not been the case this year. He's got 28 points in 17 games, and he looked strong against Carolina.

3) No ":Deer in the Headlights" this time around. The only time I think experience matters is when the other team lacks it. A casual fan like myself during the regular season can tell the intensity level goes up five notches when the Quest for the Cup begins. The Pens were not ready for the first two games at Joe Louis last year. I firmly believe that will not be the case.

4) Dan Bylsma. When a team suddenly goes on a tear after a coaching change, somebody knew what was going wrong inside Penguins camp. Michel Therrien is a fabulous coach, and will be so again. In last year's final the Penguins had a world of trouble trying to get the puck past the neutral zone. Perhaps they were playing on their heels a bit too much. I don't see any of that philosophy in Bylsma. The Pens have been the aggressor in every game this postseason, and must do so against the Red Wings.

These factors might have an adverse on the series, but it all comes down the men between the pipes. Let the Wings fans talk about Osgood, I'm gonna talk about my guy. Marc-Andre Fleury, who I criticized during the Washington series, was rock solid against Carolina. He has to be even better for the Penguins to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. Ring the bell. Round 2 is about to begin!

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