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Now down to the “final four”, who wins the Cup? Have your say…

Before we move onto today's post, some recent topics for your consideration....

  • Now that you've seen Semin in action in the playoffs, do you have any interest in seeing the pending UFA as a Leaf?
  • Money, expectations and our macho sports culture often a bad cocktail for many athletes


Recognizing that the last refuge of the hockey writer who is out of ideas is what I am about to put forward, ignore that admission and think on this:  since we are down to the four “best” (at least they have gone the farthest in the playoffs) teams in the NHL, who is going to win the Cup and why? (Yes, I know this is a rather poor equivalent of open-line radio, similar to when the host throws the phone lines open and says, “We have opened up the lines…what do you want to talk about…?”.  That, of course, is usually code for, “I’ve run out of topic ideas, bail me out here…”)

Yes, I can’t recall ever doing something quite like this before at VLM.  That is, rather than having something (at least intended to be) worthwhile to say, or perhaps introducing a question of some merit or substance and then seeking your views, I’ve thrown up the white flag and are asking you to make predictions about the outcome of the upcoming playoff series'.  But desperate times call, they tell us, for desperate measures.  The Leafs are long gone.  The Marlies are playing very well, but they win their AHL series' so quickly that they have time for a quick vacation before the next series gets underway, it seems.  So talking points are, well, few and far between unless we cover some well-trod Leaf issues. (Like, hey, who’ll be our fourth-line center next season…?)

I can’t possibly regain the high ground here, so, what do you think?  Will it be the Kings or the almost Winnipeg Jets walking out of the West?  (Who guessed that one back in December?)  What about the East with the Rangers and the Devils.

I have to be honest:  the second round did not exactly leave me asking for more.  I’ve said here many times, I love the first round.  Always have.  Even in the modern-day, watered-down NHL with 16 teams making the playoffs, the first round is simply tremendous to watch.   Every team plays their guts out.  But by the second round, the battle of attrition has already kicked into gear, and it is a survival test, an endurance contest that doesn’t always make for the most exciting hockey—especially the way the games are being played these days.

Check, check, check.  Get the puck out.  Clog up the middle of the ice.  Block a shot, then another, then another.  Shoot low, shoot low again.  Great save, then another, then another. 1-1.  Go to overtime. Then at least we feel excited, even if the hockey is not always exciting.

(Quick aside:  my only suggestion for the forwards is “lift the puck”, guys.  If not, some fans will be in a coma before the playoffs are over.  You can’t beat goalies down low nowadays.  Those of you who are not old enough to have seen, for example, Leaf goaltending great Johnny Bower in action (right) really missed something.  The difference between the way he played as a classic "stand-up" goalie and the way goalies in this era play is astonishingly different…)

Are NHL playoff ratings still good, by the way?  I find it hard to believe they are.  Numbers must have peaked in the first round…

In any event, by all means share your thoughts, if you are so inclined.  Predictions, despite my protestations here over the years, can be fun.

So take your shot…


  1. New York vs LA. It's important for the sport in my opinion, I, unlike some who don't care, wish the sport would grow more popular in the USA. The lasting effects from a series between the two behemoth markets would be felt for generations. If it happens I can't wait to see the local and National US media attention on the Cup winning team. Personally praying this is the match-up.

  2. You're right, a match-up of two major-market teams would surely enhance viewership in the finals, particularly if the series went to 6 or 7 games.

    On the other hand, I wonder what the ratings would be for a New Jersey-Phoenix match-up?

    Thanks for that perspective, LeafluvrCC.

  3. Correct me if I'm wrong but Quick is 9-1 in the playoffs....wait thats Scrivens. Marlies for the Cup :)

    Looking at the NHL, I'd like to think L.A. will be winning the Cup. I choose them in the offseason. Everything is working for them. Solid goaltending. Balanced offence and full effort defence.

    I would expect the Rangers to advance but they haven't looked strong in the playoffs, or maybe Washington and Ottawa aren't getting credit they deserve. Either way NJ may be a surprise winner in the East with an unexpected charge from Broduer, Kovalchuk, Zajac, and Zidlicky.

  4. Both series should be good ones, Skill2Envy. Each of the remaining teams has a very strong work ethic.

    I did not project LA as a serious Cup hopeful- much less a Cup winner - when the season started!