I’ll come clean and admit that I was openly rooting for Tampa Bay to beat Boston in the Eastern Conference final. There’s something about the Bruins that…well, I just don’t particularly like them. That said, Boston is a worthy conference champion and a hell of a team. Great goaltending? Check. Stud defenseman? Check. Four solid lines? Check.
So far, so good for Vancouver. A popular preseason pick to win it all, the Canucks dominated the regular season before capturing the Western Conference title. Vancouver seemingly has it all – star goaltender, reigning MVP and two of the best offensive players in the league, solid defense.
This has the makings of a great series. With the Stanley Cup on the line, it’s must-watch for every hockey fan (even if it is June). So, who’s going to win? Honestly, I have no clue. It can go either way. Sure, Vancouver had the better regular season, but that’s meaningless in June. Sure, Vancouver scored the most goals and allowed the fewest in the regular season, but (again) that doesn’t matter all that much right now. You could argue Tim Thomas is better than Roberto Luongo. You could argue that the sum of Vancouver’s defense is better than Zdeno Chara. And you could argue that the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler are just too damn good.
But I don’t feel like arguing. I feel like watching the series intently and seeing for myself if Luongo can finally live up to the hype. I want to see if Chara can shut down the Swedish duo. I want to see if Kesler is a superstar in the making. And I want to see if Mark Recchi, the ageless wonder himself, can teach the kids a thing or two about what it takes to win.
While I think the series is a toss up, it’s hard to pick against the Canucks. They were so good this season, and they’ve been good enough in the playoffs. Their talent is undeniable, but they’ve shown heart and desire over the course of three postseason rounds. Anyway, it’s about damn time a Canadian team won the Cup. The fans of Vancouver deserve it.
Canucks in 7