After spending my entire afternoon at a local outdoor roller hockey rink, soaking in the playoff atmosphere of phlegm and teary eyes combined with the hint of summer break on the horizon, I decided it's time to assess what team I want to make the most out of their playoff opportunity.
In the West I have always liked the Sharks, Ducks, Stars, and Calgary. The Ducks in particular since they play such a physical yet fast paced brand of hockey. Seeing them win the cup again for a second year in a row would not disappoint me, however I do believe certain players such as Niedermayer and Selanne may not deserve it. I was really irked by their decision to sit out for almost half the season to make up their minds on retirement. Sure I know it's tough, but you had all summer to make up your mind and it was unfair to their organization.
Besides the Ducks, out of those four the Sharks are my top favorite. I've always liked the Sharks. They are a great, relatively young, and growing team that can dominate hockey games under the leadership of Joe Thornton, someone I've always thought of as one of the best hockey players in my generation. Ironically, all of these teams are playing each other at the moment, so I guess I would be happy with any of them winning, but I would prefer the Ducks and Sharks.
To the East we go...homeward bound. Who do I want to win on this coast line? Easy...the Washington Capitals. Sure, everyone loves Ovechkin. I think he is absolutely great for the game of hockey as a whole and brings a fresh personality on and off the ice that hockey needs. He should receive the MVP without question. It was a little reminiscent of the Isles strive for the playoffs last year, only the Caps won their division title. Like us, everyone that needed to lose did and they won the games they needed to win as well. Although they have home ice-advantage, they are the true-underdogs in the East and I would love to see Ovie bring his team to the Finals.
Do I think they can do it? Very hard to say...they have some young, inexperienced players when it comes to the playoffs...but they are very very talented and are accompanied by solid veterans. However I do think the Capitals, if they get far enough, will find troubles with possibly Pittsburgh, the Devils, and the Rangers......but believe me, I don't want to see the Rangers anything past a game 7 of their current series with the Devils.
So for you on-lookers from the outside...while your teams are on the golf course, who are you rooting for to win this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs?