Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Stanley Cup Final pick

OK, after going 4-for-4 in the second round, I went 0-for-2 in the third round. What's more, I predicted Buffalo would beat Ottawa in 6 or 7, and Ottawa took out Buffalo in 5 — couldn't get much more wrong. Oh well, I'm still 11-for-14 overall. Only one pick left!

This one is tough. So far, I've tried to keep emotions out of it, picking teams that I thought would win, rather than teams I hoped would win. But now that the Senators (my second favourite team) are in the finals, I'm finding it hard not to root for them. I'm really hoping they can pull this off. A friend of mine grew up near Toronto but now lives near Ottawa, and he's abandoned the blue-and-white to become a die-hard Sens fan. He told me last year that in Ottawa, the regular season almost doesn't matter anymore, all that matters is what happens in the playoffs. Obviously no Leaf fan would think that way, because (a) it's never a guarantee that the Leafs will even get to the playoffs (they didn't this year or last), and (b) it seems that for some Leafs fans (not me), any season where they do make the playoffs can be considered a success, regardless of when they get knocked out.

Any (non-Leafs) team might be a serious contender for a couple of years, maybe more, and then they usually start to suck. Edmonton was great in the early-mid 80's, and sucked in the early 90's. The Islanders were great in the early 80's, then have pretty much sucked ever since. Calgary, Montreal, the Rangers, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Dallas, they've all had periods of time where they were serious contenders, and then a few years later they were at the bottom of the heap. A few teams like Detroit and New Jersey may not be contenders every year, but rarely seem to have really crappy teams. Anyway, near the beginning of this season, when the Sens were losing (and the Leafs were winning), I started to wonder if this was the end of the Sens run, if their window of opportunity was closing. Then they turned their season around and began winning, and suddenly, making the playoffs wasn't an issue, the question was (as usual over the past several seasons), how far would they go. I think their reputation as playoff chokers is now gone. Alfredsson seems to be the leader in Ottawa that Mats Sundin has never quite become in Toronto, he, Heatley and Spezza are firing on all cylinders, and I think this is the year.

Ottawa over Anaheim in 6.

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