Why the New York Rangers won’t Win the Cup and Rick’s Stanley Cup Final Pick

At the beginning of the playoffs, a giant Stanley Cup was erected in Times Square.

Was it karma that beat New York or was it the relentless Devils? Perhaps – it is the same thing …

Martin Brodeur is near the end of his storied career. The forty year old net minder holds many records. One of which – the shutout record, will not be broken. At least it may not be. Up in the air, high above the skating rink in New Jersey,in the great gondola in the sky, the hockey gods are watching.

And they smile …

The last of a generation of great net minders, Brodeur has earned the karma that was once reserved for ghosts of the old Montreal Forum. Since les Habitants have shrugged their shoulders at their own ghosts by a) not retiring Lemaire and Lapointe’s numbers b) Waiting too long to retire Geoffrion’s and c) turning the sacred legacy of Richard’s team into a money – making machine; the phantoms have found someone to help.

A Montrealer to boot!

In game five against the Rangers, the Devils deserved to win but not the way they did. Has there ever been a display of such poor goaltending displayed this deep in the playoffs? Martin Brodeur was horrible. He stood instead of stooping, he flipped, flopped and flew. The decisions he made injected hope to a Ranger squad that were down and out. An empty net would have done a better job …

The Devils won in overtime after abandoning a three goal lead. They won because the hockey gods deem Brodeur worthy of a helping blocker. A free pass for his years of service. A spectral thank you note from all the dead players, referees, managers and players who made the game great.

That giant Stanley Cup in Times Square did not hurt …

The Finals

It has come to this.

Two teams standing. A pair of battle weary opponents. Rocky versus Apollo Creed.

The Devils are Rocky. The underdogs. The team with so much promise that never showed until recently. The Panthers were the frozen meat hanging in the freezer. The Flyers – Mick’s incessant yelling in the ear. The Rangers? Running up the steps with energy to spare …

Los Angeles is Apollo Creed. They did not start that way until the k.o’s came. Vancouver in the fifth round, really a tko. St.Louis in the fourth – a knockout if ever there was one. Pheonix the same.

Now the teams meet for the heavyweight title of the world. Lord Stanley’s coveted Cup.

On paper, in many people’s eyes, the Kings have won before the puck hits the ice. Another sweep of the playoff dance floor. Problem is the paper is old. Yesterday’s news. The Devils have crumpled it and placed it to the recycle bin. The lid is closed and a wait commences for tomorrow’s paper.

L.A. has the edge in goaltending. Quick quicker than the aged Brodeur. L.A. has tougher defenceman and more depth up front. The Kings have more grit and more experience outside of the crease.

The Devils have karma.

Yo Adrian – Devils in six games!


Stanley – Fit for a King?

`All good things come to those who wait … `

At least it is supposed  to be that way. For the Los Angeles Kings – it appears the wait may be over.

Forty – five seasons have passed since the team entered the league.  Four decades … count èm! So many great players have come and gone from L.A. without winning a cup, it seems improbable.

Charlie Simmer, Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor – a trio that was named the triple crown line; never had a dinner at Lord Stanley`s table.  No sippin`from the silver for these guys and – in the case of Dionne, a sad ending for the NHL`s second highest scorer ( at that time ). That was, of course, until a guy named Gretzky skated along and set the record books on fire. In turn – sending Dionne to third place as the league`s highest scorer ( Gordie Howe second ).

Two guys. A pair of skaters that had more in common than scaring goalies. A duo who donned the jersey of the L.A. hockey team.

Dionne skated almost invisibly in the city of Angels. If not for his scoring prowess and that of his linemates – most of the hockey world would never have heard of this guy. Gretzky, was the opposite. Everyone had heard the name Gretzky and the city of Los Angeles was anonymous in the hockey world.

Suddenly, people in L.A were not just attending hockey games in the city after Wayne was dealt there – they were breathing it!

Stars became literally `stars on ice `! Kids were on the streets and playing street hockey in the hot summer sun. It was cool to be a King and a King was cool.

Dionne did what he could to put L.A. on the map of kids`bedrooms walls in Chicago and Toronto. He won scoring titles at a time when a certain Guy, as in Lafleur – was not just scoring, winning Stanley Cups as well. It is documented, over the years, Dionne had opportunities to leave his adopted city and play in hockey markets. Citing his love for the city and loyalty – Dionne never budged.

Now that the 2012 edition of the Kings are one win away from advancing to the finals for the second time in their history – a phone call must be made … A very `quick`phone call …

” Hello Marcel? This is Jonathan Quick … Can you please call Mr. Simmer and Mr. Taylor?”

” Sure kid – why? What`s up?” Answers Dionne.

“Well sir … there is going to be a Stanley Cup celebration and Mr. Gretzky told us that the three of you deserve to be here! More than him …!”

” I see … Sounds good kid! When do we come? ”

” It`s hard to say sir …  in my gut – I believe we have five games left!”

” Okay see you there … oh and Quick …?”

” Yes sir …?”

” Call up Wayne and tell him to join us …!”

“Sure thing Mr. Dionne …sure thing …!”

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