Tag Archives: Minnesota Wild

2015 Stanley Cup Final Preview

Welcome Sports Fans!! It’s time for my annual Stanley Cup Final Preview.

It’s original six powerhouse Blackhawks – MY BOYS – versus that little yappy terrier you can’t stand, but can’t help but love Tampa Bay Lightning, in what should be a cracking showdown in the battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

How They Got Here

My Blackhawks have had an up and down journey to the Final. Finishing third in the Central division, they went on to face Nashville in the first round, defeating them in six games without home ice advantage. They swept Minnesota in the second round, before meeting Anaheim Ducks (basically not a real team) in the third round, eventually beating them in seven games and A LOT of overtime. Seriously, my heart.

The Tampa Bay Lightning finished second in the Atlantic Division meeting Detroit in the first round and beating them in seven. Props for that, I still have an irrational fear of that team. The second round was another tough battle for the Lightening, though they went on to eliminate Montreal in six games, sending them to a Conference Final against King Lundqvist and his New York Rangers who would have home Ice advantage. Against the odds, Tampa Bay took care of NYR at The Garden in Game 7, sending them to a Finals match up that totally ruined my Bracket and made my mate Maree all sad, which made me sad. Thanks, Rangers.

Who To Watch For

My boy, Duncan Keith has shown some type of crazy ass superhuman strength and endurance, averaging over 31 minutes of ice time per-game. A lot of which have been racked up after Michael Rozsvial’s horrific injury in game four against The Wild. And, Keithy has made amazing use of his time, racking up 18 points throughout the 17 games the Blackhawks have played this post season, sparking talk of Duncan Keith’s name on The Conn Smyth Trophy should the Hawks take win the Final. The First D-Man since 2007.

For the Lightning, Captain Steven Stamkos is touted as one of the best goal scorers of his generation, winning the Rocket Richard Trophy, for the League’s top goal scorer twice. Already, he has 7 goals and 10 assists in the Lightning’s finals run, and he is only getting better as the games go on. Keep an eye out for the Captain playing from the second line and will be pivotal if the Lightning want to hoist the Cup.

The Triplets. Hands up if you are sick of hearing this term to describe three guys that are obviously not related *raises hand*. Ugh. It’s annoying. That said, the Blackhawks will need to find a way to shut down the line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat, if they have any chance of taking the series. Their moniker may be fucking irritating, but they are bloody good players.

The Goalies. This is a problem. Both Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks and Ben Bishop of the Lightening are great Goal Tenders. But, when the Net Minders have a bad day, it tends to be a meltdown of epic proportions that sees them pulled from the game. There is no in between for these blokes.

Toews and Kane, Sharp, Hossa and Seabrook. Enough said. Dynasty right there. I’m expecting Brandon Saad to continue his wonderful form along with other fringe players like Vermette, Shaw and Teravainen.

So, Who Ya Got?

Have you even read this?? It’s so one sided. I obviously have the Blackhawks winning the Cup. But I’m not expecting the wins to come easily.

Chicago in seven.

Susannah Collins’ Freudian slip gets her sacked.

Now this is just sad.

CSN Chicago Correspondent, Susannah Collins has been sacked after one of the best live blunders ever. While reporting on the Blackhawks’ win against the Minnesota Wild in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, an obviously excited Susannah remarked that the Blackhawks had enjoyed a “tremendous amount of sex”. She had meant to say success, not sex.

Whilst her initial observation may in fact be correct (lucky buggers), the word sex is apparently not television friendly, and poor Susannah was sacked as a result of the Freudian slip. Frankly, I thought it was awesome, she handled it well and the fun police just need to relax.

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Have you met the Minnesota Wild’s gun Goaltender?

So, I discovered something this morning, and I have a feeling I am very (very) slow on this. Still, I think it is worth mentioning since it is likely to be THE best story to come out of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs.

Minnesota Wild v Chicago Blackhawks. Game 1. The Minnesota Wild lose regular starting goaltender Niklas Backstrom to injury…..during warm-up. Bring on back up goaltender, Josh Harding, (who had only played in 5 games this season) just minutes before the opening game of the playoffs.

The Blackhawks admitted they knew very little about Josh Harding. When asked if the Blackhawks had spent much time before the series examining Harding, Patrick Kane said “No”.

Stopping a remarkable 35 shots during the game, Blackhawks Captain Jonathan Toews commented post match that Harding’s effort was “nothing short of amazing”.

The Blackhawks came away with the win 2-1 in overtime. But without the exceptional goaltending of Josh Harding, the score line could have been much greater.

The most impressive part of this story, is that Josh Harding suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), an auto-immune disease which affects the central nervous system. Symptoms include muscle weakness, spasm, fatigue and cognitive impairment. Harding publicly announced his condition during the lockout to avoid distracting saying:

It would make me happy to overcome this……..to really succeed with it. I don’t want people treating me different.

Phenomenal.

The only thing that bothers me about this is Harding’s failure to acknowledge his disease post-match. On one hand I understand that he didn’t want the whole sympathy thing to overshadow his brilliant performance, he wants to be seen as a hockey player, not a victim and when questioned post-match about the MS, he responded with “No comment”. However, on the other hand it would have been nice to allow himself to be the inspiration everybody is writing him up to be despite his protests. If you are going to be hailed as an inspiration, own it.

Regardless, the publicity generated by Harding’s performance coupled with fact that he suffers MS, can only be seen as positive for the cause. So a job well done to him whether he owns it or not.

I’m pretty sure we will all be cheering for him to continue his good form. Well, maybe not us Blackhawks fans (we’ll be doing it quietly).

 

2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs – Chicago Blackhawks v Minnesota Wild

With 10 minutes to go until game 1, I figured people would be dying to know who I had for this series. I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say Blackhawks in 5. Luckily, the limb I went out on is sturdy, and I’m not too worried about it breaking, thus making me look the fool.

On paper, the Minnesota Wild don’t stand a chance. They enter the playoffs as eigth seed and lost 9 games in April alone. The Blackhawks have lost 12 games – this season.

The Blackhawks are superior in almost every aspect of the game. With right wing Devin Setoguchi for the Wild finding form of late, Minnesota will be competitive in the forwards. However, the Blackhawks have Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad and Jonathan Toews. Must I say more? Two of those guys look like they may be up for the Hart Trophy, another for the Calder Trophy and the last guy is just a weapon.

It isn’t fair to write the Wild off, they have had a decent showing against the Blackhawks this season, it is just hard to look past the Hawks. They have Offense, Defence and Goaltending sorted even with Ray Emery’s absence. Blackhawks have it, but I doubt the Wild will go down easily.

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