No, it wasn't another Roberto Luongo miracle. And the Sedins didn't cycle the Nucks to glory. In fact, the only thing the Sedins are cycling right now are golf balls. Instead, it's the Vancouver Giants who will be playing for the Cup – the Memorial Cup, that is – thanks to a dominant 8-1 win last night. How does the final match break down? Will it be Medicine "Can't escape the legend of Kelly Hrudey" Hat or the Giants? Also this week, prospect signings are fast furious. Get it all here!
8-1. That's how the Vancouver Giants got to play for the CHL championship. While the squad had a reserved spot in the final four as the host city, the Giants played like had no such advantage throughout the playoffs. Last night against the Plymouth Whalers was no exception. Still, despite two first-period strikes by Wacey Rabbit (Bos '05) and Michal Repik ('07) on nine shots, a blowout didn't look like it was in the making. Team Canada hero Cody Franson (Nas '05) got the Giants on the board yet again early in the second, causing Plymouth to exchange keeper Michal Neuvirth (Was '06) for backup Jeremy Smith ('07). Ironically, that was just the beginning of their trouble. Smith coughed up five more goals- which included another from Repik and two in 38 seconds by J.D. Watt (Cgy '05).
Watt, Repik and enforcer Milan Lucic (Bos '06) all picked up three points in the rout, with Repik deservedly earning first star.
Who's the favorite for Sunday's big game? Well, Vancouver's roster looks better on paper, featuring Repik, Watt, Rabbit, Franson, Brendan Mikkelson (Ana '05), Kendall McArdle (Col '05), Jon Blum ('07), Tyson Sexsmith ('07) and A.J. Thelen (Min '04). However, the Tigers play team-perfect defense, and actually shut the Giants out earlier in the Finals 1-0.
Despite that, I have to go with Vancouver. Had they struggled against Plymouth, I might have chosen differently. But the Giants, like the Sens, are on a roll and look unstoppable.
Speaking of unstoppable, that's the only way to describe the signing of prospects this week. Every day has seen a name or two or three finalize a deal with an NHL team:
-Patrik Hersley D (Los Angeles)
A 2005 fifth round selection, Hersley enters an organization starved for regulars. And at 6'3, 209 lbs, he'll get every opportunity to show he belongs. But Hersley is more than size. A rapidly improving offensive player, he forced the hand Malmö IF Redhawks after opening the season with four points in two U20 games. He was then a PPG player in Division 1, prompting the team to make him a SEL regular. He hit a wall there, but at only 20 years old, there's a good chance he lights it up again soon. Hersley has the potential to net 15 goals and 45 points in the NHL.
-Alexander Sulzer D (2 years, Nashville)
Not all that important from a fantasy prospective, the 23 year-old German product is just another warm body that can fill in on the bottom pairing. Sulzer was named the Best Defenseman at the 2004 Division WJC