Ramblings: Game 7! Also Thoughts on Vegas, Tavares, Kane, Niemi (May 23)

Ian Gooding

2018-05-23


Game 7! Also Thoughts on Vegas, Tavares, Kane, Niemi

With all the parity in the NHL these days, it’s hard to believe that the Tampa Bay/Washington Game 7 will only be the third Game 7 of these playoffs. At least the winner of this game won’t have to jump into the next series almost immediately, as Winnipeg did after defeating Nashville. The Stanley Cup Final doesn’t begin until Monday, which should give everyone enough time to rest before the big series.

So who wins Game 7? Tampa Bay has been my Stanley Cup winner since the start of the playoffs, so I have to stick with them. But I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Washington wins. They’ve carried the play for the majority of this series and were definitely the more physical team in Game 6. You know that Alex Ovechkin will bring the intensity and then some to this game, trying to will his team to win and get to the Cup final for the first time in his career. But remember that momentum can be short-lived, and Tampa has home-ice advantage, for what it’s worth. Anything is possible.

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I sent this tweet because I wanted whoever read it to see both sides of the argument.

On one hand, the first-year Vegas Golden Knights are an incredible story. At this point I don’t need to elaborate on the “misfits,” as they call themselves. This story will be told again and again and again, even if they lose in the Stanley Cup Final. There hasn’t been anything like it before in NHL history and there may never be again (unless Seattle can pull off the same feat with the same set of rules… fool an NHL GM once, shame on you Mr. GM; fool an NHL GM twice… an NHL GM can’t get fooled again, right?) Maybe you’ve heard this joke before, but I bet you’d like your favorite team to fold and return as an expansion team next season.

But the angst of your team not winning the cup (again) is a real thing. I’m a Canucks fan who in my lifetime has seen my team go 0-3 in Cup-clinching games and 0-3 in Stanley Cup Final series. For the Leafs, it’s been 50 years and counting of not even getting to the Stanley Cup Final. Heck, there are even teams that have never even been to a Cup final, and Vegas gets there on the first try. Vegas benefitted from a more generous set of expansion rules than others (as well as no competition in the expansion draft), so I can understand where the “anyone but Vegas” crowd is coming from.

Just pull for whoever you want in the final. I won’t judge you. Or just enjoy it as a neutral observer, like I do for many playoff series.

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