Chicago won the Stanley cup and one must say deservedly so. Most teams were left wanting and found short in one position or the other. Rangers lack of any scoring, Tampa's lack of experience in crunch situations offered the solid Hawks an advantage they were far too experienced to let go to waste. Depth scoring, solid if not brilliant goaltending and possibly the best hockey player in the Pros right now on D, with Duncan Keith and the cup was deservedly back in the Windy City.
Let me dwell on Duncan Keith if I may here. All the talk about Carey Price, Alexander Ovechkin, Vladimir Tarasenko, Henrik Lundquist etc - if you had to have one player on your team it would have to be Duncan Keith. He won the Playoff MVP with a performance that would be reminiscent to those classic ones of Bobby Orr. I know I am committing a sacrilege, but this is the plain truth.
Will the Hawks come back to compete? The odds are in this experts opinion against them. Playing deep into the summer, the exhilaration of the Cup win, the loss of Saad, Johnny Oduya, Patrick Sharp etc and the issues around Patrick Kane make me skeptical, but if they do they are the closest we have come to see in Dynasties in the post Habs, Islanders, Oiler era.
The likely pretenders, Ducks and Habs - I think the challengers will be the Caps, Pens or Lightning. That's that.
Adidas who owns Reebok is taking over - the era of NHL shirt ads is upon us. Whether we want it or not. Of course I hate it, being brought up in Ol'time hockey era, but the NHL is starving for more revenues and this is just another way to garnish more cash for the owners. Hasso Plattner for example understands Euro soccer culture and shirt ads, he may not understand hockey so well and may think it a brilliant idea to have Red Lobster ads in the crest instead of a stick crunching shark.
The issue here is that the Commish is ball-less and he doesn't want the NHL to be the first Major League Sport to have uniform ads. if NBA or Baseball or Pro Bowling goes with shirt ads then the NHL will follow quicker than you can say Hattrick, but Bettman and his crew are pussyfooting around.
I mean if you can rename the Penguins perfectly superb home arena , the Igloo, Consol Energy Center you know that nothing is sacred. The Ducks' Pond - the anemic Honda Center?!! Go figure.......and Montreal there's no need to remonstrate. So thank God the Rangers did not quite sell out yet and MSG is MSG.
3-3 in the OT
Well we have a problem with too many games going into shootout showdowns. the Fans seem to enjoy these, the coaches not so much. So who do we play hockey for - the coaches? What the f...????
It is just the matter of time until the coaches figure out how to cancel each other out at 3 vs 3 and the scoring will dry up. the 3-3 scoring in pre-season trials was not spectacular.
So let me get me ponder a bit on the subject ....if in 3-3 there is a penalty on one team, the team getting the advantage gets to play 4 on 3. If 2 men get called then the team with the advantage will get to play 5 on 3. I have a much better Idea - lets play one on one!!!!!!! Can you imagine Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby going mano a mano!? PK Subban vs Alex Ovechkin? Or do you put in Milan Lucic against Brad Marchand?
THAT is a spectacle I pay dearly to see. Skill vs stamina. Does the coach rest his key player for the OT to let him lose?
Mr. Commissioner I have a far better idea and it works well elsewhere in Hockey and soccer. Reward a regulation win with 3 points, and OT and shootout wins with only 2, OT /shootout losses with zero points, and trust me you will have far fewer OT games! Simple!
World Cup of Hockey
Another brilliant idea from the people who bring you the NHL. the Best of Canada, USA, Russia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Finland, and then.....wait a minute.......The best of the Rest. Make a team of Poles, Latvians, Japanese, Koreans, Slovaks, Danes and Noggies.
Mold them into a coherent unit under the moniker - BEST OF THE REST and play them against Canada! I cannot imagine a more daft idea -yes actually 3-3 in OT is just as bad.....
Who makes this stuff up. The NHL business development department no doubt!