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The Puck Stops Here

Game Six

The Los Angeles Kings have won the Stanley Cup.  It’s hard to think they are actually the best team in the league.  They qualified for the playoffs with two days left in the regular season.  They are the lowest seed ever to win the Stanley Cup at eighth seed - previously it had never been a lower seed than the fifth.  This is a playoff year where anybody who made the playoffs could win ... and they did.  I predicted the final correctly giving me a poor 6-9 record in my playoff predictions but this wasn’t a year when anyone did well.  There was no good team.  The series were coin tosses where this year the lower seeds survived.  Here are my first round predictions, here are my second round predictions and here are my semi-final predictions.

We finally found a way to open up a game in this cautious defensive series.  Penalties did it.  Los Angeles had a 3-0 lead after scoring three power play goals on the five minute Steve Bernier boarding penalty.  After that the game was out of hand.  The teams traded second period goals and then Los Angeles got too more garbage goals at the end of the game - one in an empty net and one more just after Martin Brodeur returned to the New Jersey net.  The final score was 6-1 which makes it by far the biggest offensive game in a poor series.

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings and their fans.  It is a shame that in five or ten years fans outside of California will have trouble remembering who won the cup in 2012.  This was not a memorable year.  Parity has removed the elite teams and as a result these more average teams like Los Angeles win the Stanley Cup.  I doubt they make much of a run next season. 

Jonathan Quick is the story of the playoffs.  He is the Conn Smythe Trophy winner.  He has been the best goalie in the league over the past two months.  The playoffs were a defensive scheme-fest.  Nobody had faith in their offence so the successful teams shut the game down and played low event, more boring games.  The team with the best goalie survived which is what you would expect if nobody tried to win with their offence.

The end of the season is a time to look back on the year and see how it will be remembered.  It is likely the end of an era.  The CBA is ending and I predict the next season does not start on time.  I predict some changes in the next CBA will create a new era that begins after that.

This CBA has been one of parity.  It was not always clear that it would go that way.  Anaheim managed to build an elite Stanley Cup winner before other teams caught onto the CBA.  Detroit had the best regular season record and won a cup.  They did this with a team that built its core before the CBA began.  It will be interesting to see if they can build it again now that Nicklas Lidstrom has retired.  It started off with a weak cup winner in Carolina - who may be the weakest cup winner to date.  They have only made the playoffs once since their 2006 cup win and I think Los Angeles should fare better than that.  Young teams in Pittsburgh and Chicago won but they won before they were ready to be the elite teams they would have been in earlier CBAs and neither have had the chance to grow as they otherwise would have.  The last two cups were won by the best goalie in the playoffs in Boston and Los Angeles.  Neither was the best team in the league at the time.

Early in the CBA it looked clear that Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby would dominate and they did, but their dominance is waning.  Crosby has missed a lot of time with concussions.  His longevity is definitely in question.  Ovechkin has not played at his past level either and it is harder to find a clear reason for that.  It looked as though Evgeni Malkin might make it a big three, but after his 2009 Art Ross he had injury problems and was dropped from consideration at that level.  He is back and might be the best player in the league right now.

I am hoping that a new CBA somehow allows for elite teams again.  That isn’t a priority in the NHL - their only priority is money.  If it happens it will be an inadvertent thing.  I miss the great Stanley Cup finals we used to see between good teams.  We haven’t seen them in years.  It is the biggest negative in the NHL today from the perspective of a fan.

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Comments

shazam88's avatar

I doubt they make much of a run next season. 

Very classy.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 06/12/12 at 01:56 AM ET

Fugazi's avatar

Just can’t get over the fact a West Coast team won the Shiney Thingy huh PSH. It might not happen for a few years down the road but the best thing about reading your lame reasons for the decline of Hockey are wrong once again. Sit back and enjoy the offseason, your sense of Hockey and its reasons for winning have been horribley wrong in the long run.

Later

Posted by Fugazi from Bay Area, Left Coast on 06/12/12 at 02:10 AM ET

Avatar

“Elite team” does NOT equal original six.

Elite isn’t who has the most money to buy their way to a cup.

Oh yeah, bite me east coast homer.

Posted by Scarletcat from USA on 06/12/12 at 02:53 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

“Elite team” does NOT equal original six.

Agreed Anaheim is the last elite team we have seen.

Elite isn’t who has the most money to buy their way to a cup.

Agreed again although as a fan of Los Angeles, clearly one of the biggest markets in the NHL, you ought to be wishing it did.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/12/12 at 02:55 AM ET

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There were no hockey fans at the game.  No one booed Bettman LOL

Posted by 13 user names on 06/12/12 at 03:02 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Agreed Anaheim is the last elite team we have seen.

I’d argue Detroit or Pittsburgh.

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 06/12/12 at 03:14 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Detroit and Pittsburgh lacked the goaltending of an elite team - which ironically is the only thing Los Angeles has.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/12/12 at 03:16 AM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

Every time I read a PSH post I feel like I’m reading something out of a high school newspaper.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 06/12/12 at 04:01 AM ET

shazam88's avatar

Detroit and Pittsburgh lacked the goaltending of an elite team - which ironically is the only thing Los Angeles has.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 06/12/12 at 01:16 AM ET

Right.  It was only Quick.

If only they had some defense to go along with him.  Not that weak mix of Doughty, Mitchell, Scuds, Voynov, Greene and Amart.  Also, it’d be nice if they had a solid top 6.  Like a 1A / 1B sort of situation.  Oh well.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 06/12/12 at 04:30 AM ET

shazam88's avatar

There were no hockey fans at the game.  No one booed Bettman LOL

Posted by 13 user names on 06/12/12 at 01:02 AM ET

Geez, you’re going to post that in every thread?

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 06/12/12 at 04:33 AM ET

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You can say whatever you want, but the Kings name is on the Cup!

Posted by timbits on 06/12/12 at 11:35 AM ET

Keyser S.'s avatar

I’ll have to somewhat agree, the stanley cup is now a crapshoot. No offense to la, because they played great and have a good team. But a #8 seed who barely made the playoffs won the stanley cup? You can’t really say it was an upset either. That’s just what parity brings, 5 excellent teams, 10 pretty good teams, 5 good teams, and 10 so-so teams. Anybody can win the cup now. No more david vs goliaths. Which is fun to watch and root for goliath.

Posted by Keyser S. on 06/12/12 at 12:20 PM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Out of all the teams in the “Cap Era”, Detroit and Pittsburgh are the only two teams to go to the Cup Final back to back, much less go twice since 2005 (again, the “Cap Era”) and just happened to…go back to back against each other. Therefore, they are elite.

What? You can’t deny it’s logical.  LOL

Posted by mrfluffy from Long Beach on 06/12/12 at 12:49 PM ET

TKShreve's avatar

How about a little credit to LA for playing some of the best hockey they could manage at the most important time of the year?

Isn’t that what winning the Stanley Cup is all about? You grind all year hoping to slip into the playoff race, and from there it is up to the coach to muster the best product possible out of the players provided.

Or we could have what the NBA has….. http://sportslistoftheday.com/2012/03/30/nba-finals-winners-by-seed/

Granted, I had no idea who was gonna win the cup after the first round. Even before the playoffs started I was not liking anyone especially. I picked a lot of Devils in my fantasy pool, but that was only because I though they were gonna blow through Florida. Little did I realize, that certainly panned out for my squad.

I can say I did not feel good about the Wings going into the post season (my team). Let’s just chalk this season up to an opportunity for a lot of individual players out there to achieve something they never had the shot at before.

Posted by TKShreve from East Uptown on 06/12/12 at 01:36 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It is a shame that in five or ten years fans outside of California will have trouble remembering who won the cup in 2012.

It is a shame that there are people who call themselves hockey fans outside of California who would forget a Stanley Cup champion team because they have an axe to grind against the loss of an era they falsely idealize.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/12/12 at 01:54 PM ET

Avatar

I think the Stanley Cup Final is an antiquated idea. The Stanley Cup should be awarded based on the regular season metrics to determine which is the “Best” team. It removes all of that unnecessary playing of hockey to determine who is the best team when it matters most. Surely the team with the highest Corsi, equal strength save percentage and points earned versus payroll against the cap should have their name on the Cup.  Anything less than this pure theoretical determination of who is best just cheapens the entire NHL since the outcome cannot be predetermined. Leagues are much better off and all fanbases are better served when the same two teams make it to the final each year and teams in smaller markets know there proper place.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 06/12/12 at 02:56 PM ET

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*there proper place.* typo - their proper place.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 06/12/12 at 03:02 PM ET

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Can you write an article without the word “Elite” or “Parity” in it? I feel like you have a pen in one hand and a razor blade in the other every time you write an article. Please, for the love of god, stop writing about hockey. You are depressing.

Posted by Mr. Simpson on 06/12/12 at 05:08 PM ET

Avatar

Surely the team with the highest Corsi, equal strength save percentage and points earned versus payroll against the cap should have their name on the Cup.

Funnily enough, I think post-deadline only that’s LA, LA, and LA. Played at a 113-point pace after the deadline, had a ridiculous Corsi, and Quick probably put up monster numbers as well.

Really, the only thing not elite about LA is its power play.

Posted by Ralph on 06/12/12 at 09:32 PM ET

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imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com