Congratulations, everybody! We have the worst Stanley Cup final in more than 20 years!
That’s only technically speaking, of course, as New Jersey and Los Angeles should be solid entertainment.
But when the Devils beat the New York Rangers 3-2 in overtime on Friday night to set up a date with the Kings, it meant the ninth and 13th overall teams from the regular season will battle it out for the right to hoist Lord Stanley’s mug.
New Jersey was ninth overall and the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Kings were 13th overall and eighth in the Western Conference. Their regular-season placings total 22. The only higher sum was in 1991, when the No. 7 Pittsburgh Penguins beat the No. 16 Minnesota North Stars.
In fact, not since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1980 has the better seed among the finalists been as low as No. 9 overall.
Parity has never been more prevalent. Two years ago it was No. 3 Chicago vs. No. 18 Philadelphia. In other words, once the Devils and Kings are done battling, your favourite team will have a chance to be there next year at this time.
You knew if Henrik Lundqvist was going to be beaten in overtime, it wasn’t going to be a pretty goal. And you were right … But, hey, Adam Henrique will take it. Ah, to be 22 again and scoring overtime goals that send your team to the Stanley Cup … If you were wondering what that booing was midway through the first period, it was the Prudential Center crowd giving it to Donald Trump when he was shown on the video scoreboard. Hey, why doesn’t The Donald buy the Devils? He could use The Apprentice to pick his coach … CBC interviewed Trump between the second and third. It was a good chat, and Elliotte Friedman even asked him if he wanted to buy the Devils. He didn’t say no … The poor Rangers defence is going to take a beating this summer for its performance in this series. Michael Del Zotto’s game went south, and his affliction appeared to have spread to his teammates on Friday. They were having trouble simply passing the puck early on, and then Marc Staal pinched at the wrong time, leading to Carter’s opening goal.
AROUND THE GLASS
This is awesome: When the last Devil left the ice after the pre-game warmup, they turned the lights off at the Prudential Center. There were at least five Rangers still on the ice. That’s hilarious … In case you missed the stat on the CBC broadcast, the Devils have outscored opponents 23-9 in the first period this post-season. The way the Devils started the second period on Friday night, they no doubt wished the first period was 40 minutes long and there was no second … It’s too bad, but no one in today’s day and age of boring quotes would ever guarantee a victory like Mark Messier did in Game 6 of the 1994 Eastern Conference final against New Jersey. They don’t make ’em like Mess anymore.
MAKES YOU GO HMMM
I wonder how many media members are feeling bad that John Tortorella isn’t going to the final … If you missed the poor Fox sportscaster in Los Angeles doing the highlights from one of the games between the Kings and Coyotes, Google it. Search for “Anze Kopidor and Brad Doty,” and prepare to cringe … Martin Brodeur proves how valuable experience is this time of year … Something tells me the Devils are going to really want to sign Zach Parise before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.
How much of a break are members of the Phoenix Coyotes going to get since they freaked out on the referees after the game in which their season ended? If that was the regular season, they would be sitting for quite a while. It’ll be interesting to see if that holds true in this case … The only reason for the bitterness from Shane Doan and Co. was because the winning goal was scored about 12 seconds after Dustin Brown’s nasty hit on Michal Roszival. If the game had continued for another two minutes, the reaction wouldn’t have been so severe … Commercial review: I’m not sure which part of the MiO commercial I like the best. I like it all … First, Pierre McGuire won’t tell us what the coaches are yelling about on the bench. Then, on Friday night he’s leaning over the boards in the third period and the puck hits him, stopping play. Time to send him up to the booth.