Friday, May 28, 2010

Blackhawks-49 Years and Counting

Something funny happened on the way to the Stanley Cup finals. The marquee players didn't make it. No mad, aggressive Russian named Ovechkin. No slick, whiney Canadien named Crosby. Just two hard working, tough, not afraid to get dirty teams named the Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers. Oh yes, both teams are loaded with great players but they didn't have the "name players" that the NHL upper echelon lusted for.

The Blackhawks do have guys named Jonathan Towes, who leads all playoff scorers, Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook, Dustin Byfuglien, Duncan Keith and goalie Antti Niemi, who has a GAA of 2.33 in 16 games. The Flyers take a back seat to no one with players like Mike Richards, second in playoff scoring, Danny Briere, Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter, Chris Pronger and rejuvenated goalie Michael Leighton.

The Blackhawks have been good from the beginning of these hockey playoffs. They were goood in the regular season failing to finish first by a point. The Flyers took a different and more difficult path. They made the playoffs by beating the hapless Rangers in a shootout. After eliminating the favored Devils in the first round they fell behind Boston three games to none. After roaring back to tie the series they fell behind 3-0 in game seven. They came back to win and then beat Montreal to make it to the finals. So they are gritty and resolute.

This should be a great Cup finals. The Chicago Blackhawks have not won a Cup in 49 years. Is the Ranger 54 year run of futility in danger of being broken? The Flyers have not won in 35 years. Can they continue their remarkable comeback run? It should be interesting and exciting. The big shots at the top of the NHL wanted the big names. They didn't get them. They got something better. They got two good tough hockey teams that will showcase the best of hockey and the NHL.

Blackhawks in six.

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