Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thoughts on the NHL Season

Yesterday, the Boston Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in game 7 to win the Stanley Cup. I had predicted the Canucks to win, but was rooting for the Bruins, so I can't say I'm disappointed, although I would have liked to have seen a better game with the cup on the line. As a LA Kings fan, I have a hard time cheering for Vancouver since they beat my team in last year's playoffs - and were kind of dicks about it. I don't like the way Vancouver plays - with all the cheap shots, diving and whining that goes on with them. Yes, Boston delivered just as many cheap shots as Vancouver did this series, but they didn't whine that much about it. And how can you possibly not be happy for Tim Thomas, a goalie who didn't even break into the league until he was over 30, worked his way to win a Vezina trophy two years ago, lost his job the following year because of injuries, than battled back and took it again this year - most likely winning a second Vezina trophy, the Conn Smythe for MVP of the playoffs and the Stanley Cup. You simply can't.

What this means for Vancouver remains to be seen. This was supposed to be their year, and they came so close, but couldn't close the deal in Game 7. Now, they have some UFAs to try and resign (in particular Kevin Bieska, who was their best defenseman all season), and are stuck with a few expensive contracts that simply didn't work out (Ballard). They will either fold next season, or come back more determined than ever - like Pittsburgh a few years ago after losing to Detroit in the finals one year, and then beating them the following year. One thing is for sure, the Sedins have got to learn how to play playoff hockey, and Luongo needs to be more consistent when they need him, or this will happen again.

For Boston, it was a magical run - three game seven victories, losing some key players to injuries, having their BIG trade line acquistion essentially be a bust (Kaberle), and yet still finding a way to win. I don't think they can do it again next year, but who knows? Maybe they can.

So that brings the NHL season to a close. I'll be back before the NHL awards to give my picks as to who SHOULD win and who WILL win, and perhaps who was overlooked. But other than that, unless my beloved Kings make a big move this offseason (and I don't think they will), I'll be done writing about hockey until training camp starts next September. I can't wait.

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