When I think about the two teams vying for the Stanley Cup, the final series of which gets underway tonight, I find it hard to contrive a way for the New Jersey Devils to win.
On pure matchups and playing styles alone, the Devils have a better chance than the Rangers would have -- and certainly should give the Los Angeles Kings a better fight than the Phoenix Coyotes did -- but the Kings do a lot of things better, and they have the upper hand at most positions.
Nonetheless, this is hockey -- anything can happen, and moreover, idiots like me can certainly be wrong, wrong, wrong. Maybe if the Kings come out flat, finally lose a road game, start to unravel ... who knows. I've already written too many words at the SB Nation hub about how Drew Doughty and the Kings blueline is far superior, and about how in-season moves helped both teams' offenses, but the Kings forwards should give the Devils a physical challenge the Panthers and Rangers did not.
If the Devils can get a special teams edge -- a big if -- maybe that wins them a game or two. If Martin Brodeur has a throwback game or two while Jonathan Quick uncharacteristically muffs a game, maybe that gets the Devils one or two more. But things will have to go very right for the Devils to win. Not that such timely fortune hasn't befallen that formerly Mickey Mouse franchise before...
Ultimately, while Quick is superior to Brodeur and the Kings defense is superior to the Devils', it's going to come down to not how those pairs matchup, but rather how the Devils offense attacks the Kings and Quick and how the Kings offense attacks the Devils and Brodeur. While the Kings offense is much improved in the latter quarter of the season, they're still capable of dry spells like any team. If it happens at the wrong time, maybe The Rock finally gets cooking.
Gettin' drafty: Recent Islanders first-round picks here:
- The John Tavares NHL13 cover campaign fell short at the Final Four, but it sure wasn't for a lack of fans trying. Nice job, everyone.
- The Russians are playing hockey in Brooklyn, and no we don't mean Kirill and Kirill.
- Comparing two drafts' best D (including Travis Hamonic): Defensive Supremacy – Comparing the 2003 and 2008 Draft Classes
- BFFs Jeff Carter and Mike Richards talk about being traded.
- Unsurprisingly, the Oilers and Ryan Smyth don't agree on how much he should make.
- The Blackhawks re-signed Jamal Mayers and Johnny Oduya (for kind of a lot of money), and reporters took the opportunity to ask Stan Bowman about Patrick Kane's antics.
- What kind of a name is Poon, anyway? Rangers Come To Terms With Jesper Fasth - Blueshirt Banter
- The Combine is coming up this weekend: Phil Kessel's Awkward Draft Combine Adventure | The LeafsNation
- That piece uses excerpts, by the way, from a great piece by Gare Joyce on the 2006 combine (Erik Johnson, Penguin Staal, etc.)
- If you dig hockey cards: Reid on NHL: The value of a hockey card - sportsnet.ca
Okay, anyway: Cup final starts tonight. Whose your pick, and why?