|Posted by Landon Ewaniuk on May 26, 2012 at 4:00 PM|
On paper, this was one of the most unpredictable postseasons the National Hockey League has ever experienced. As Ken Campbell of The Hockey News points out " for the first time since the NHL adopted this playoff format in 1994 we'll see a No. 6 seed or lower hoist the Stanley Cup when all is said and done."
Sure that is remarkable. However, by no means am I as surprised as most people around the hockey world at these results.
I sensed something changed for the Los Angeles Kings, the day they received Mike Richards.
It does not matter to me where they finished in the regular-season At the start they had something. Throughout the season, the franchise added even more components to make this club's winning that much more convincing to the fans come 2012 playoff time. Bringing in the likes of Darryl Sutter and Jeff Carter cannot be overlooked.
"No team gets to the Stanley Cup final without top-level work behind the bench and the Kings and Devils are no exception. Both Peter DeBoer and Darryl Sutter have used their entire rosters throughout the playoffs. DeBoer using his fourth line to go head-to-head against the Rangers top line turned out to be a stroke of genius. Sutter, on the other hand, has been a huge factor in the Kings going from underachiever to Stanley Cup contender. Edge: Even."
It took a while for me to get the New Jersey Devils on my radar. It happened in mid-March. I was sitting in my hotel room in Florida reading a USA Today article that suggested The New Jersey Devils could be the NHL "dark horse" to win the Stanley Cup. Lo and behold, they are in that position now.
Both of these organizations have a dynamic offense: Dustin Brown, Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards for LA. Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and the playoff leader, Ilya Kovalchuk for New Jersey. Is Kovalchuk worth $100 million now? I think so!
These players are a huge reason why their teams have been successful, but the real reason is the contribution from the depth guys. To reach the promise land, every team member has to be playing at the top of their capabilities. That's what we have here.
Both of these teams are extremely deserving to be in this position, neither took easy street to get here. It's going to be a real dogfight, a fierce battle of the underdogs.
Jonathan Quick and Martin Brodeur have fashioned some of the most incredible goaltending performances in Stanley Cup history.
Martin Brodeur already has three Stanley Cups to his name. So winning is on his side. But, Jonathan Quick has the steadier defense in front of him, along with rest and momentum.
This matchup is too close to call. I'm going to rely on my gut instinct for this one. All season long I've backed the Los Angeles Kings, and I still believe, in a grueling seven-game series Dustin Brown will be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy, then he will be lifting the "silver mug" over his head. As Los Angeles celebrates its first Stanley Cup championship in history.