by PuckStopsHere on 06/09/14 at 10:04 PM ET
The Los Angeles Kings won 3-0 today. It was the first game where the Kings were the better team in the Stanley Cup finals. We are now looking at a situation where it looks like we will have a short one-sided Stanley Cup final.
I know that I am a pariah for stating that there are no elite teams in the NHL this year and there haven't been any for many years. This is by the NHL's design and it comes at a real cost to the hockey fan. Hockey fans want to defend their game against such attacks whether they are true or false. One common attack is that we don't want one-sided Stanley Cup finals where an elite team dominates a weaker team. At least in the no elite team NHL there will be close playoff series. This supposes that all we want from hockey games is for them to be long dramatic three hour coin tosses. No team is better than the other. Anyone can win. It all comes down to which team is luckiest that day. That isn't something I want. I don't want 30 equal mediocre teams. I want elite teams that will play elite games. The fallacy that one elite team means that there cannot be any team to challenge them is easily shown to be false. Through much of the 90's and early 2000s there were at least two elite teams in the NHL that would face one another in exciting well played Stanley Cup finals. It is a shame we cannot have that anymore. That doesn't mean we don't get one-sided Stanley Cup finals. We have one now in 2014 without any elite teams. The entire attack laid out here is a big logical fallacy. The NHL is better with elite teams.
It looks likely that the Los Angeles Kings will win their second Stanley Cup in three years. In those two cup runs, they didn't finish above sixth in their conference. They look to be as good a team as we are going to get in the NHL today. They are a level below the elite teams of the past. This Stanley Cup final is below the level of the finals of the past. In fact it is below the level of any of the first three rounds that the Kings played. The Kings were harder pressed against the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Chicago Blackhawks than they will be in the finals by the New York Rangers. If you make a good portion of your playoff series into long drawn out coin tosses, teams will advance that are not as good as those that fall in early rounds. This is a forgettable Stanley Cup final between forgettable teams. Los Angeles and New York may remember but why should the more general hockey fan?
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