by pcoffey on 05/26/12 at 12:18 PM ET
Who is going to win the Stanley Cup?
Let me be the first to say “Damned if I know.”
This has been such a wild, weird and wacky tournament that to suddenly state I know what’s going to happen would be the height of folly.
But I will say with certainty that my good friend Frank Marrone and I will not be exchanging pleasantries for the next couple weeks.
Frank is a brilliant web producer I helped recruit to NHL.com years back. But at the time, I didn’t realize he bled purple (opps, back to black and white now) until I saw his cube all decked out in everything Kings. Strange choice for a died-in-the-wool New Yorker, but I suspect Frank is actually a wannbe rapper.
He isn’t going to be sending me any forget-me-nots either, knowing the admiration I have for Jacques Lemaire and all things New Jersey, which starts with Bruce Springsteen and then moves on to hockey.
Frank and I already have hurled a few verbal brickbats at one another via Facebook, but aside from that, I doubt either one of us really knows what’s going to happen. OK, Frank thinks it will be a sweep for the Kings. As for me, sorry, I got nothin’.
Let’s not forget—Human nature being what it is—highly flawed—perhaps it is more than a little unreasonable to expect two groups of men who moments before had been fighting tooth-and-nail to stop, beat their hockey sticks into plowshares and sing “Kumbaya.” So I am not going to castigate the Phoenix Coyotes for not going meekly into the night after losing to the Kings in the Western Conference finals
Would a little more graciousness have helped? Sure, but after seeing Michal Roszival injured by Dustin Brown on a hit that to the naked eye appeared late and directed at the knees would surely enrage any teammate, especially those who did not have the benefit of seeing the hit via instant replay, which cast it in a more tolerable, but still painful, light.
So I can understand why the handshake line had some harsh words and why there was grousing in the dressing room. The players had just laid it all on the line moments before and the 10-minute cooling-off period before the media arrived wasn’t going to get it done.
“I would take everything that was said in that dressing room with a grain of salt,” said the always logical Don Maloney, general manager of the Coyotes.
But I do think any Coyote who ran at an official or tossed a piece of equipment in the officials’ direction needs to have their wallet lightened ASAP.
There’s a draft in here—No inside info here, but my Vulcan-like brain tells me the Devils will forfeit their first-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft to the league as part of the punishment for circumventing the cap in the signing of Ilya Kovalchuk a couple years back. Heading to the Final, that pick is going to be the 29th or 30th, so it will be slightly easier for New Jersey to surrender the pick now than in the future. But I’m sure Lou Lamoriello still isn’t happy about it, and I can’t say I blame him a bit.
We’re saved—Perhaps I need a hobby, but my vivid imagination conjured up all sorts of gloom and doom scenarios when envisioning a Los Angeles-New York Stanley Cup Final. I could just see it ... a marketing bonanza ,,, unprecedented interest in hockey in the U.S.‘s two major media markets ,,, celebrities coming out of the woodwork in LA now that the Lakers are gone. Ditto in New York, with the likes of “The Donald” suddenly captivated by all things ice.
And then ... nuclear winter as the CBA talks disintegrate and another chance to take the sport to new levels is wasted, just like what happened after the Rangers won the Cup in 1994.
That may well happen, but I sure hope not.
Tough on Torts—John Tortorella is an excellent coach and a very intelligent man. But he is an absolute zero when it comes to selling his sport as his “I’m smarter than you, don’t waste my time” press conference showed. Let’s face it, most postgame pressers with the coach are pretty dry affairs. But when you are listening to a Ken Hitchcock, Tom Renney, Bruce Boudreau and others there are plenty of interesting things said that help fans get more attuned to the game. When every question is deemed stupid, that doesn’t happen.
Ironically, the interest generated by Tortorella’s bully act may have succeeded in generating interst as people tuned in to see how rude he would be to those courageous to dare ask a question.
Did you know?—There are seven former Philadelphia Flyers with the Los Angeles Kings. Players Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Simon Gagne and Jason Williams, plus assistant coach John Stevens, GM Dean Lombardi and assistant GM Ron Hextall. Couple that with the fact the Devils ousted the Flyers and the Kings figure to have a strong rooting interest across the Delaware River in Pennsylvania.
Can’t touch this—Another postseason superstition that I love is teams not touching the poor trophies that get carted out for winning the respective conferences, and the uncomfortable photo opps that follow. At least the Devils gathered around the trophy Friday night for a photo and Bill Daly didn’t look so alone.
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About Iced Coffey
Phil Coffey has covered the NHL since 1981, most recently as the Senior Editorial Director of NHL.com. He spent over 11 years there.