The Stanley Cup Finals begin Wednesday and Winnipeg couldn’t be happier!

Posted: May 31, 2011 by ksteets in hockey, Sports
Tags: , , , , ,

But you say “Kevin, Winnipeg isn’t in the finals! In fact, they don’t even have a team dummy!” I say that was yesterday but today the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers was approved. Purchasing the team is True North Sports and Entertainment. The deal is reportedly worth $170 million and will see the former Thrashers move to Winnipeg, Manitoba for next season. This will give Winnipeg it’s first franchise since The Jets relocated to Phoenix in 1996 and became the Coyotes. Meanwhile this is the second NHL franchise the city of Atlanta has lost since 1980 when the Atlanta Flames moved to Calgary. I’m guessing third time’s not a charm for Hotlanta. No word on if the team will adopt the Jets moniker or not. Here’s hoping they do. Just so we can hear some Canadians chant J-E-T-S, JETS JETS JETS, EH?

even J Biebs has cup fever!!

Now let’s take a look at the most exciting series in sports, The Stanley Cup Finals! This year we get The Vancouver Canucks taking on The Boston Bruins. Vancouver finished the regular season as the best team in the NHL winning the President’s Cup with 117 points. The next closest were Philadelphia and Pittsburgh who each had 106 points. Boston finished with 103 which was good enough for the number 3 seed in the conference. The Bruins beat out The Montreal Canadians, Philadelphia and advanced to the finals by beating The Tampa Bay Lightning in a thrilling 7 games series which ended Friday night. Vancouver meanwhile have been off since last Wednesday after taking out The San Jose Sharks in 5 games, before that Vancouver had beaten last year’s champs The Chicago Blackhawks and The Nashville Predators.

In the history of the NHL this will be Boston’s 18th appearance in the finals, last having won in with Bobby Orr in 1972. Vancouver meanwhile only joined the league in 1970. This marks their 3rd trip to the finals having previously lost in 1982 to the Islanders and in 1994 to the Rangers. So at least the Bruins aren’t from New York.

Strength wise this is a fantastic match-up and should make for some classic games. Both are speedy teams that like to grind and have stand-out goalies. Canuck Henrik Sedin leads the post season scoring with 21 points (2 goals, 19 assists). His twin brother, Daniel has 16 pts (8G, 8A). Boston’s scoring is led by David Krejci with a league leading 10 goals matching that with 7 assists for a tie with Nathan Horton for a team high 17 points.

On the plus/minus side, Boston is showing some impressive numbers with team captain Zdeno Chara leading the NHL with a +11, Horton has a +10 while Patrice Bergeron is +9. Vancouver’s Bieksa leads his team with +10.

The goalies are running neck and neck. Both Canuck Roberto Luongo and Bruin Tim Thomas have shined the post season. The netminders each have a 12-6 record with a 2.29 goals against average.

The series could come down to special teams play, specifically the power play, where Vancouver is thriving capitalizing on 28.3% of their chances while Boston is only scoring 8.2% with the man advantage. So it’s clear that The Bruins will need to stay out of the penalty box if they want to keep this series close.

Part of me wants to see Vancouver win because the they’ve never won it before. The other part of me wants Vancouver to win because of this girl.

What a good egg!

The action starts Wednesday night live from Vancouver at 8pm Eastern and 5 pm Pacific on NBC.

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