HFA Stanley Cup Preview
May 31, 2011 1 Comment
Before I get knee-deep in Stanley Cup Finals analysis, I must be forthcoming with you guys about something. I care more about the Calder Cup Finals than I do about these Stanley Cup Finals. At least in the Calder Cup, I get a good look at the Ottawa Senators’ future, as their AHL affiliate Binghamton Senators take on the Houston Aeros. In the Stanley Cup I get a Northeast division rival playing against a Canucks team that really evokes no emotions in me whatsoever.
What to Expect: Low scoring games. Tim Thomas of Boston and Roberto Luongo of Vancouver are not Vezina finalists for nothing. They are probably two of the top three goalies that you would want on your side in a game that decided your life. Vancouver has more Defensemen to like (Bieksa, Edler, etc.) but Boston has the one D-Man that intimidates every player on the other team. His name is Zdeno Chara, and he will, in all probability, kill you, if you get under his skin. However, beyond him, there really isn’t much to love about Boston’s defense, and that has become evident through a series of situations that has led to him getting hung out to dry on odd-man rushes. I give Vancouver the defensive edge. On offense, Vancouver has way more firepower than Boston, with the Sedin twins, Mayson Raymond, Ryan Kesler, and company. Boston has a lot of talent, with guys like Nathan Horton, Tyler Seguin, and Michael “Easy” Ryder, but it is a matter of them being able to break the goalie who won Canada the 2010 Gold Medal in hockey.
The key for Boston is going to be winning the battles on the boards. Guys like Milan Lucic, Chara, and Johnny Boychuk are going to have to take advantage of the fact that Boston is a much better checking squad than Vancouver. Gritty players cause turnovers, rough people up, and keep the other team’s offense in check. No pun intended. Maybe a little.
The Verdict: Vancouver in 6. I just don’t see Boston generating enough offense against Luongo, much less to counteract what the high-octane Canucks offense will likely produce. The Cup will finally return to Canada.
Fun Fact: Did you know the Sedins were planning to refuse to play unless they were on the same team? For example: If Daniel was drafted by one team, Henrik would refuse to play for whoever drafted him, until he hit free agency, and signed with the team that drafted Daniel. They’ve always been creepy, Stranz-and-Fairchild van Waldenberg close (Blades of Glory reference, don’t judge me) and this just makes people like them less. However, without their petty antics, the city of Vancouver would have been robbed of a lot of offensive magic on the ice. All good things come at some cost.
Steve Sabato is a staff writer for Home Field Advantage