Monday, May 28, 2007

The Stanley Cup Final: Who to cheer for?

I was totally going to talk about something else today, but after considerable consideration, three cups of coffee, and a 45-minute drive from Kyle, I figured this topic is much more important and relevant than anything else I would talk about this particular day.

The Stanley Cup Final, the biggest series in professional ice hockey, will start tonight in Anaheim, CA, with the Ottawa Senators and the Ducks of Anaheim battling for the big prize. Fan support in both cities will be thrown behind their respective squadrons, but who to cheer for if you don't live in Canada's Capital Region, or Orange County, California, or, in my case, your favourite team coming in is not participating?

Both teams have a good case.

-Ottawa is located in Canada, and a team based in this country hasn't won a Stanley Cup since 1993. Anaheim, on the other hand, has 19 active players on their roster who are from Canada, compared to 15 on the Senators side.

-Among those Canadian players, five of the players for Anaheim are from Saskatchewan (Ryan Getzlaf, the inactive Brendan Mikkelson, and the injured Chris Kunitz are from Regina, Black Ace Tyler Wright, is from Kamsack, and Travis Moen lives up the road in Stewart Valley). Meanwhile, four Senators (Wade Redden's from Lloydminster, Peter Schaefer's from Yellow Grass, pine-rider Niel Petruic is from Regina, and no. 4 goalie Kelly Guard is from PA) hail from this fine province.

-Both teams, technically, haven't won the cup before. I say technically, because back in the olden days, Ottawa did have a team called the Senators, and they did win ten Stanley Cups between 1903 and 1927. That team moved to St. Louis in 1934 before folding a year later. The current Senators team entered the league in 1992, and have not appeared in the final before today. Anaheim, has been in the Final once, back in 2003, where they lost to the Devils in seven games.

-Some players on both teams have played for the cup before, but the most of these players suit up for Anaheim. Most players on that team appeared in the aforementioned 2003 final, including goalie Jean-Sebatian Giguire, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner of those playoffs. Some additions since then include Chris Pronger, who played for Edmonton in their cup run last season, Scott Niedermayer, who defeated the Ducks in 2003 when he played for the Devils, and Sean O'Donnel, who played for those Devils in 2001, when they lost to the Avalanche. Among those players, Niedermayer is the only one with a cup victory (he has three rings from his time with the Devils). Ottawa, not that many. The only notable cup final retunree is back-up goalie Martin Gerber, who beat Pronger's Oilers last year when he played for Carolina.

This is only just a small essay on what these two teams will bring to the table from tonight. I'm not asking, nor recommending, that you base your predictions on what you just read. I invite you to size up the teams yourself and make an informed decision. As for me, I will definitely enjoy between 4-7 nights of great hockey, and wish both teams the best.

By the way, I am aware that is an awful picture of myself, (I was 16 at the time) but it was the only relevant picture that I could use.

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