Lord Stanley’s Cup

All right, it’s finally here.  The best team in the East taking on the best team in the West in what should be a wild shoot ’em up.

Pittsburgh Penguins v. Detroit Red Wings

Detroit comes in to this game eager to return to the glory days where they dominated the NHL.  They finished with a spectacular regular season record, and have been matching that record with an equally impressive post-season tally.  They have a very experienced and determined crew.  It’s almost a whos who of hockey glory these days.  I had wondered if age would be catching up with them, however after how they man-handled Dallas I’m not sure age is an issue with this team.  Chris Osgood continues to be a dominate netminder – not that he’s been called on very often to win the game for them with a powerful defensive core in front of him keeping the traffic in front to a minimum.  Chris Chelios has continued to do what he does best by pounding the offensive talent of opposing teams.  Add to this mix Zetterberg who has been a scoring machine (tied for playoff point lead with Sidney Crosby) and you have one hell of a tough team.

On the opposite side of the ice is an equally impressive cast of characters.  A lot is said in the media about Sidney Crosby, and certainly he’s been putting up the numbers.  He’s a valuable asset to this team, but his media pressence overshadows other members of this team.  At the trade deadline Pittsburgh brought in a couple of experienced players in Hal Gill and Marian Hossa to provide some stability to the brashness of youth that fills the Pens locker room.  Hossa is one of the most underrated defensive players in the game.  He closes up the passing lines and forces low percentage points from the outside with he is amazing postional play.  He’s a living text book of to transition from the offensive forecheck to defensive prowess.  Then there’s Evgeni Malkin, in my opinion Pittsburgh’s most promising player for the future.  He’s quick, he sees all the ice, and when that puck is on the end of his stick he’s like a magician, weaving through defenders.  Cap all this off with Marc Andre-Fluery who has developed in to a future Hall of Fame goaltender.  The Penguins patience with him paid off, and he has been rewarding that patience with absolute brilliant play in net.  They’ll need him to be at the top of his game.

This is going to be a high scoring series with a lot of end to end action.  This is a tough one to call.  In the end I’m going to go with not only my gut feeling, but my desire to see the Eastern Conference come out on top.  Penguins skate away with the cup in game six in Pittsburgh.