Better Late Than Never as Stanley Cup Finals In Full Swing
Yes, it is mid June, and the 2012-2013 NHL season is still not over yet.
The NHL awards, which are held usually at the end of each season, have been passed out already this past Friday and Saturday, the 14th and 15th of June.
Now here we are. June 19. Game four of the Stanley Cup Final on the horizon. Better late then never is the motto that most hockey fans are thinking right now, seeing as we saw a possibility of this whole season being a washout because of the lockout that seemed never ending. Decisions were made, and agreements were met, and here we stand. Chicago Blackhawks trailing the Boston Bruins two games to one in the Stanley Cup Final.
If we back track to the conference finals this year, there is a little fact that makes this group of four teams somewhat more interesting and special. The Eastern Conference finals the Boston Bruins played the Pittsburgh Penguins (the Bruins actually swept this series as a side note). The Pens won the cup in 2009 and the Bruins in 2011. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the defending Stanley Cup champs the LA Kings in the Western Conference final, and the Blackhawks last won the cup in 2010. The winners of the Cup in the past four consecutive seasons made it all the way to the conference finals in 2013. The defending champs were eliminated, and so were the 2009 winners, the Pens, who have this years Ted Lindsay award winner as their captain, Sidney Crosby. The NHLPA votes for the “leagues most outstanding player”, who is granted this award.
Now, back to the Cup finals. This is an extra interesting matchup as well, being a battle of two of the original six teams. The original six are the six teams that made up the NHL for the first 25 seasons, until the NHL expansion in 1967. Other than the Hawks and Bruins, the other teams to make up the six are the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Montreal Canadiens. This is the first time that the Bruins and Hawks have met in the Finals, but this is not the first time the finals consisted of an original 6 battle. The last original 6 Stanley Cup Final matchup happened in 1979, where the Montreal Canadiens beat the New York Rangers in 5 games.
Game one Hawks vs. Bruins went into 3OT, playing JUST SHY of two complete games, Hawks on top. Game 2 Bruins prevailed in OT. Come to game three, it’s 80 degrees outside, skating conditions are not the best, the Bruins blanked the Hawks 2-0.
AM line changes, practice line changes, mid-game line changes, whatever needs to be done by coaches Claude Julien and Joel Quenneville will be done. With Boston up 2 games -1, it is still anyone’s series, anyone’s Cup to grab.
Enjoy the battle of the sixes; it could be another 34 years before we get a matchup like this again.
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