Monday, May 11, 2009
March of the Penguins, Not?
While the NBA playoffs troll along with catatonic blowouts and flagrant fouls, the quest for the Stanley Cup is nothing short of fantastic. Since its existence, the crusade for Lord Stanley's Cup has always pushed athletes to the edge of human endurance; but this year's hunt is matchless. In the past, anticipation was tempered because many of hockey's best players were on the same team; for example, Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Yari Kuri, and Grant Fuhr were all teammates on the vaunted Edmonton Oilers. The Montreal Canadians featured the flower, Guy Lafluer, and Larry Robinson. The Boston Bruins had the great, Bobby Orr plus perennial goal scorer, Phil Esposito. The Pittsburgh Penguins, furthermore, paired Jamir Jagr alongside Mario Lemieux. All of those squads won multiple Stanley Cups. For the first time in many years, however, the best hockey players are spread out among different teams. The memorable series between Washington and Pittsburgh has been dominated by Alexander Ovechkin also Sidney Crosby. The surprising Carolina Hurricanes, meanwhile, are being pushed by speedy, Eric Stall, and cat quick net minder, Cam Ward. The Red Wings have a talent laden squad of Russian All Stars as well as the dependable, Nicholas Lindstrom. Although the Penguins were Stanley Cup finalist last year, their goal tending appears to be too shaky for them to beat Carolina or Boston. The Capitals, on the other hand, don't know how to handle the puck in their own end, so it's doubtful they'll advance beyond the conference final. The Red Wings are the most balanced team remaining in the playoffs; but they must rid themselves of the Ducks before inscribing their names on the cup; in the past, you always knew the Boston Bruins would win the fights, but the Montreal Canadians would parade around with the cup; now thanks to an infusion of new players, nothing rivals the intensity and expectations of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.