Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pittsburgh and Detroit - Stanley Cup Rematch

So, this doesn't happen too often. The last time was 1984. A rematch in the Stanley Cup finals. The best team for over a decade vs. the young upstarts who have two of the best players in the game today. I'm so excited for this series, I can't even describe it. I love the way both teams play (as much as I hate Detroit, they are very talented), I love the skill level, I love the toughness involved. This is going to be great. Here are three keys to the series:
1. Marc-Andre Fleury. Probably the most important part of this years' playoff success for Pittsburgh has been the play of Fleury. He has had some softies, but always has rebounded with a mental toughness he didn't seem to possess last year. He will have to fight through Detroit's screens, and they are good at them, in order to survive.
2. Detroit's health. Datsyuk, Lidstrom, Ericsson have missed time, and while Lidstrom is going to be back (Ericsson too?), Datsyuk is a game time decision. The Red Wings were able to get past the Blackhawks without those players, but the Penguins are in a different class. They are much deeper and talented than anyone the Red Wings have played so far.
3. Coaching. Specifically Bylsma. He is a rookie coach, but brought this team out of a mid-season slump which had them out of the playoffs to the Conference Finals. He's the real deal, but Babcock and his team won the year before. Should be interesting.

Honorable Mentions: Detroit's "Going to the net", Pittsburgh's added toughness, Malkin's presence, Hossa's defection.

Before these playoffs, I wasn't that impressed with Crosby. I preferred the flash of Ovechkin and Sid the kid seemed almost dull in comparison. I know why now. I never watched him that closely. His drive and determination are so impressive. He and Malkin are the real deal. I've been won over. I'm officially a fan. Despite the fact that Detroit is a powerhouse, and most peoples' pick, I'm picking Pittsburgh in 7. I hope that they can rub it in Marian Hossa's face for picking the wrong team. I hope that the league's new superstars can hoist the Cup. Most of all, I'm hoping for a great series, and I doubt I'll be disappointed.

No comments: