Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Stanley Cup Schizophrenia: A Recap

So my initial prediction with about two weeks left in the regular season turned out to be my best one.  I said that Vancouver and Washington were the clear cut favorites to win the cup from each conference, and that Boston and Nashville were the clear cut dark horses.  Then I said a whole bunch of other shit.

About halfway through the playoffs after seeing two midgets murder the Sedins and then skate around wearing their skin, I called the twins the most true example of the stereotype that Europeans don't give a shit about winning the Stanley Cup.  I went one step further and promised that Vancouver would never win a cup with the Sedins on the roster.

Then I watched them beat Nashville and San Jose without even really playing all that well.  That made me realize one thing, that the Canucks have the best roster in the NHL and it isn't even close.  They roll out a third line as good as a lot of top lines.  They should've breezed into the cup in 12-15 games.

Meanwhile Boston basically shit their way to the cup, trying their damnedest to let Montreal get revenge for the Chara hit.  Watching them blow the closing minutes of game seven only to win in overtime was like watching Abbot and Costello crash the Benny Hill theme.  And their power play was roughly zero for a billion at that point.

I then said that the Canucks would win game seven handily.  It seemed like a perfect moment for the Sedins to actually show up and have everyone magically forget how bad they sucked for the previous six games.  That worked out well.

Let's be honest, Vancouver deserves most of this.  They deserve it for not only making their bed with the Sedins, but being stupid enough to shit on their captaincy by giving it to one of them.  (After they shit on it by giving it to their goalie.)  Captains don't cruise around the ice in games six and seven with a look that says they're thinking more about what to have for breakfast the following day, or if having your twin brother give you a handjob is closer to masturbation or incest.  They punch walls, they shove opponents, and on some occasions they drop the gloves in a losing effort to send a message.  Or, you know, act like Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows, who would've fucked Rosie O'Donnell if it meant winning the cup.

They also deserve it for pulling Luongo so early in game six.  Three goals isn't exactly good, and one or two of them weren't pretty, but when Cory Schneider went in, the team looked like they'd given up.  If you've admitted that your goaltender has leadership qualities in previous seasons by giving him an unoffical letter, why are you taking him out when you've got fifty-five minutes to bridge a steep, but manageable deficit?  The only good part about your opponent scoring as fast as Boston did, is that you've got tons of time to make it up.

And then we get to the Bruins.  Their big guys stepped up in a way that Vancouver's failed to and that was the difference.  When you focus on playing hockey, the Bruins did the most right.  As almost always happens, the best team won. 

However when you expand your scope to look at all the things that happened on the ice, hockey and otherwise has their been a more charmed team?  Nathan Horton got away with water-bottling a fan, which the NHL has shown with Tortorella deserves a one game suspension.  Lucic suckered opponents at or after the final whistle on numerous occasions and faced no supplemental discipline.  Krejci was allowed to crosscheck a hurt Dan Hamhuis in the head and saw no consequences.  And Aaron Rome was made an example of because he made a mostly clean hit a second too late and isn't anyone important (like Pronger) with a suspension that should only have been the time he missed when he was removed from that game.

The aftermath of it is that the fifth least deserving city in the playoffs (Montreal, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Anaheim) wound up bringing home the Stanley Cup.  We'll have to deal with all the bandwagon Bruins fans for the next few years (like we did with the Red Sox in 2004) until they get bored and move onto something else.  ESPN Boston has reported that Mark Recchi will be retiring after this season, and if he's got any John Elway in him whatsoever, the 37-turning-38 year old Tim Thomas will be joining him.

That is the silver lining in all of this, that one of the great competitors and nicest guys in hockey finally got to hold the ultimate trophy.  The road hasn't always been easy for Thomas, but he's laughing at all his doubters tonight.  As he well should.  Congratulations Timmy.

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