We’re all the way down to the ultimate 4. An Authentic Six franchise versus a magical playoff unicorn within the East, and two never-won-a-title groups within the West. Who’s going to boost the Stanley Cup in 2019? That’s a great query. Listed here are a couple of extra:
What’s the Stanley Cup remaining matchup all people needs?We’ll begin with a simple one. It’s the San Jose Sharks towards the Boston Bruins, that includes 39-year-old Joe Thornton looking for his first Cup towards the crew that drafted him No. 1 total in 1997 after which traded him away in 2005 after the Bruins determined they couldn’t win with him. Like Thornton, the Sharks have by no means received a Cup both, although they lastly shed the “playoff choker” label after they superior to the league championship in 2016, the place they misplaced in six video games to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Are there some other “former participant versus his previous crew” storylines?No. Subsequent query.
Actually? There’s none?OK, sure, there are a couple of others, however none are almost as buzzworthy as Jumbo and the B’s. The subsequent-best can be Boston’s David Backes dealing with off towards St. Louis within the remaining. Backes spent his first 10 NHL seasons with the Blues and was the crew’s captain from 2011 to 2016, when he left to signal a five-year, $30-million UFA take care of the Bruins. The farthest that Backes and the Blues ever acquired was the Western Convention remaining in 2016, the place they misplaced to Thornton’s Sharks. A Blues-Backes Cup battle can be extra impactful if Backes was nonetheless the game-changing energy ahead that he was in St. Louis, however he has slowed down prior to now few years whereas the NHL has sped up, and he has been a wholesome scratch at occasions within the post-season. In any other case, there’s Boston backup goalie Jaroslav Halak, who spent 4 seasons in St. Louis from 2010 to 2014, however Halak isn’t going to see the crease except Bruins starter Tuukka Rask goes down. And proper now within the East remaining, you’ve acquired Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton going up towards Boston, the crew that drafted him ninth total and traded him (to the Calgary Flames) in 2015. On the opposite aspect, Bruins heart Joakim Nordstrom spent the earlier three seasons with Carolina. And there you go, you’re all caught up on the newest episode of “This Man Used To Play For That Group However Now He Performs For This Group.”
What’s up with the Carolina Hurricanes and the playoffs?They Hurricanes don’t make it to the post-season fairly often, however after they do they make it rely. Previous to this spring, Carolina hadn’t seen the playoffs since 2009 and had solely certified 4 occasions since 2002. However they superior to the Jap Convention remaining all 4 occasions (2002, 2006, 2009, 2019) and made it to the Cup remaining twice. Carolina misplaced to the Detroit Pink Wings in 2002, then captured the franchise’s one and solely Stanley Cup in 2006, defeating former Hartford Whalers defenseman Chris Pronger and the Edmonton Oilers in seven video games.
Will there be a first-time Stanley Cup champion in June?Neither the Blues nor the Sharks have ever received the Cup, however one in every of them will get an opportunity in a couple of quick weeks. No one on the Blues’ roster has a Cup ring, and the one Sharks participant with one is goalie Martin Jones, who was a backup with Los Angeles in 2014. St. Louis, an authentic NHL growth crew in 1967-68, made the Cup remaining in every of its first three years within the league beneath a playoff format that assured an growth crew within the championship collection, dropping to Authentic Six heavyweights Montreal (twice) and Boston. The Blues haven’t been again to the Cup remaining since – the closest they’ve come has been three appearances within the West remaining in 1986, 2001 and 2016. San Jose made its NHL debut in 1991-92, its playoff debut in 1994 (successful its first-ever playoff collection, a seven-gamer over Detroit) and made it to the Western Convention remaining for the primary time in 2004, then once more in 2010, 2011, 2016 and this yr. So, who wins? Sharks in seven. Thornton vs. Bruins within the remaining. Let’s do that.
Are there any attention-grabbing Sport 7 factoids concerning the Bruins or Hurricanes?What an oddly particular query. However now that it’s been introduced up, sure, there are a pair issues of notice. The Bruins have performed essentially the most Sport 7s in NHL historical past (27) they usually’ve received essentially the most Sport 7s in NHL historical past (15). The Hurricanes have solely performed eight Sport 7s of their franchise historical past, however they’ve received the final 5 in a row for an all-time mark of 5-Three. Plus, they’ve acquired Justin Williams, ‘Mr. Sport 7’ himself, who has scored seven targets and an NHL-record 15 factors in 9 profession Sport 7s.
Who’s the playoff MVP?If the previous has taught us something, it’s that the Conn Smythe Trophy recipient can be a participant on one of many Cup finalist groups, so it’s nonetheless too early to inform. However we will handicap the race a bit. If Boston wins the Cup, Rask appears just like the frontrunner for the time being, with top-liners Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak additionally within the combine (and in that order). If it’s San Jose, the main candidates are scoring facilities Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl, adopted by 29-minute defenseman Brent Burns. If it’s lastly St. Louis’ time to hoist the Cup, the plain MVP decisions are veteran sniper Jaden Schwartz and rookie goalie Jordan Binnington. Carolina’s the hardest to determine. Is defenseman Jaccob Slavin going to win the Conn Smythe? Petr Mrazek missed most of Spherical 2, however he’s again and he’ll should be nice for the Canes to win all of it. And so will No. 1 heart Sebastian Aho. And Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen and Williams and Hamilton and, effectively, all people else. Perhaps it’ll be a Carolina-Conn-Smythe-by-committee…
How previous is Zdeno Chara?The Bruins captain is 42 years and two months previous, give or take a day or two. He was drafted 56th total in 1996 – a yr earlier than Thornton went No. 1 to Boston – and noticed his first NHL motion with the New York Islanders in 1997. He’s 15 video games shy of 1,500 regular-season video games, and he’s seesawing with Thornton for many profession playoff video games amongst lively gamers (173 and counting). Within the first spherical towards Toronto, Chara turned the oldest defenseman in NHL historical past to attain a game-winning objective within the playoffs. Solely two older forwards have achieved the feat: Boston’s Mark Recchi (43 years, 125 days) within the 2011 Cup remaining and Anaheim’s Teemu Selanne (42 years, 301 days) within the first spherical in 2013. Recchi and Selanne are each within the Corridor of Fame. Someday, Chara will be part of them.
Observe-up query: how tall is Zdeno Chara?He’s listed at 6-foot-9, which interprets to about 7-foot-2 in skates and a helmet. Method, manner on the different finish of the NHL tape measure is Nashville’s Rocco Grimaldi, who’s listed at 5-foot-6. Sure, there’s a photograph.
Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara and Nashville Predators’ Rocco Grimaldi.Need extra in-depth options, evaluation and an All-Entry go to the newest content material? Subscribe to The Hockey Information journal.
Tags: boston bruins, carolina hurricanes, nhl, playoffs, san jose sharks, st. louis blues, stanley cup playoffsConnect: Concerning the AuthorSam McCaigCopy editor Sam McCaig rejoined The Hockey Information in 2017 after beforehand working at THN from 1999 to 2010. His profession excessive for targets in a season is one.