Sunday, May 27, 2007

Stanley Cup Finals Breakdown: Anaheim vs. Ottawa

So it has all come down to this... a battle between water fowl (who are not even Mighty any more) and politicians (insert dishonesty/corruption/etc. joke here) to see who can claim the greatest prize in North American professional sports (not including the WNBA title of course). Both teams have been on a mission all postseason and neither has really been challenged thus far. So what can we expect from the last couple weeks of hockey season?

Any time you are breaking down hockey you have to start between the pipes, and in my opinion goaltending is by far the greatest inequality in this series. J.S. Giguere is making his second trip to the Finals, while Ray Emery is clinging desperately to his teammates' jersey straps. I'm not ready to put Giguere on the list of elite NHL netminders, but he is a very good goalie and should be at ease in the Finals thanks to previous experience. And then we have Ray Emery... Ever since Ottawa went up 3-0 on the Sabres I have been trying to think of a worse starting goalie to make it to the Stanley Cup, and I have yet to come up with one. Jon Casey with the North Stars in '91 comes to mind, but I think I would still go with him over Emery, especially relative to other goalies in the NHL at the time. Yes Ray Emery's numbers are solid and yes he has yet to really struggle in these playoffs, but that being said he just isn't that great of a goalie. I would describe him as solid at best. I just don't think he is capable of bringing home the Cup for Ottawa.

The rest of the series breaks down like this for me:

  • The Sens have a slight edge at forward 1 through 12.
  • The Ducks are better on D.
  • Ottawa won't be able to handle the Ducks' physicality.
  • It's way past time for Daniel Alfredsson to pull off his annual disappearing act.
  • Scott Niedermeyer = WINNER!
  • Ottawa just doesn't deserve to hoist the Cup after letting their goalie get beat up earlier this year in Buffalo.
  • I just wouldn't feel right watching Dany Heatley celebrate winning the Cup.
That all said, it should be a good series. My prediction:

Ducks in 6!

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