Because it’s the Cup

Because it’s the Cup

By Susan Scott Shelley
It’s one of my favorite times of year – Hockey Playoffs are here! It’s about two months worth of non-stop action. I don’t watch much television, but the play-offs are Must-See TV. A frenetic energy fills the air. The intensity, battles in the corners for pucks, checking, skating, goaltending – EVERYTHING is elevated to a higher level, and it’s AWESOME.
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“There can be only one.” This is true for Highlander, and also for the eventual Stanley Cup champs. 16 teams battle it out for the honor of hoisting the Cup. And the term “battle” is appropriate. Fresh off of a grueling 82-game season, their quest for the cup is comprised of four playoff rounds, and each round is a “best of seven” series.
The first two games are played at one team’s home arena, then the next two games are played at the opponent’s home arena, and then it goes back and forth for each of the next three games, until one team has won four games. Then they do it all over again in the next round.
That’s a lot of hockey. A lot of skating, a lot of checking, a lot of shots, a lot of sweat, and depending on the match up, a lot of travel time. Also, games can’t end in a tie, so when you tack on extra periods of play…well, let’s just say the players will be downing a lot of Gatorade.
 
Hockey players are some of the toughest athletes in sports. They battle through all sorts of injuries and will play despite broken bones or severe gashes from sticks or skates. (Google some pics…it’s not pretty). Some are also superstitious come this time of year. You’ll see playoff beards appear and hear of some interesting pre-game rituals.
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Let’s talk playoff teams.
Canadiens vs. Senators – These teams hate each other, so that makes this series all the more intense. Goaltender match up: Carey Price against Andrew Hammond. I like both players, but think the Habs will win the series. Their up 3-0 as of today.

Predators vs. Blackhawks – Chicago finished first in the league in shots, while Nashville finished third. I think Chicago, with Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Kane, will take the series.
 
Capitals vs. Islanders – Two words: Alex Ovechkin. LOVE him. The sniper carried the Capitals, and had a league-leading 53 goals this season. I’d love to see his team win.washington-capitals-forward-alexander-ovechkin
Blues vs. Wild – The Blues may have won the Central Division, but I wouldn’t count out the Wild. I like Zach Parise, and goalie Devan Dubnyk and hope their team wins.
 
Lightning vs. Red Wings – Interesting tidbit: Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman played for the Red Wings for his entire NHL career. I’m thinking the Lightning, with their captain (my fave) Steven Stamkos, will win the series.
Rangers vs. Penguins – The Pens may have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby but the Rangers have Rick Nash (42 goals in the regular season), Martin St. Louis, Dan Boyle, Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan McDonagh, and more. I’m betting on my Rangers.
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Ducks vs. Jets  – The Ducks have Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf. The Jets have Dustin Byfuglien on defense. I’m thinking the Ducks will take it.
 
Canucks vs. Flames – I have a soft spot for the Sedin twins and goaltender Eddie Lack (Want some fun entertainment? Check out his Twitter feed). I’d love to see the Canucks win. Three games in, it’s obvious these teams do NOT like each other…
 
What about the final round?
For the Cup finals, I’d like a repeat of 1994: Rangers v. Canucks, with the Rangers winning it all. (Back then, the Rangers won the series, 4-3, and Captain Mark Messier scored the winning goal. Talk about a perfect ending.) But I think the more likely match up this year will be the Rangers v. Blackhawks. I still think my Rangers will win it all.
 
I’m going to mix sports here, and leave you with a Vince Lombardi quote that I believe describes the Stanley Cup winning team perfectly: 
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Who are you rooting for? Share! Bonus points and virtual confetti will be awarded to any Ranger fans. 🙂
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Comments

  1. Some of my favorite times growing up in Maryland were when my dad would take us to the Caps games Susan. Nothing like being there and watching it live. I still have my Caps jacket and everything. So excited to see them in the playoffs!

  2. Lovely memories! It’s been way too long since I went to a game. You know me, I bleed orange and black. But since my beloved Flyers are in some kind of rebuilding phase (ahem) I’m rooting for my *other* team, the Habs. It’s a longshot, I know. In a related note, I have two photos of myself with the actual Stanley Cup. If I didn’t look ridiculous in one, and Mr. X wasn’t in the other, I’d post them. 😉

  3. Wow, woman! You know your hockey. I really learned a thing or two here.

  4. I love hockey, but with the Flyers not even in the playoffs, I haven’t really been following so much. Though I must say that I am glad Crybaby Crosby is *not* in the playoffs anymore–even if the Penguins were always my backup team. A Pennsylvania girl *always* supports her home state. But Crosby annoys the hell out of me, so my Pittsburgh support has waned.

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