Kukla's Korner

The Puck Stops Here

Stanley Cup Final Prediction

It is time to complete my playoff predictions today by looking at the Stanley Cup finals.  Here are my first round predictions, here are my second round predictions and here are my semi-final predictions.  These predictions haven`t gone well.  I have a 5-9 record, which is worse than a random coin toss should be able to do.  I see that as a success in Gary Bettman`s aims for the NHL.  One thing Bettman wants is parity.  Essentially this means that no team is better than any other.  There are no best teams.  Anyone can wind up in the Stanley Cup finals.  It can be an eighth seed versus a sixth seed.  Neither of those teams is particularly memorable but they will give us a Stanley Cup final.  It may be the worst Stanley Cup final in terms of the talent playing in it - its major competition here is 2006 when Carolina and Edmonton met in the finals.  Those two teams have only been good enough for one playoff berth since that year.  The fans do not get a memorable Stanley Cup final.  They are cheated by the NHL system.  Their prize is a potential shutdown of the league for the beginning of next year.

Onto the prediction.  First I predict a forgettable final.  Ten years down the road many hockey fans will struggle to remember who played in it.  Second I predict:

Los Angeles defeat New Jersey   Neither of these teams is a traditional Stanley Cup winner.  Neither excelled in the regular season.  Los Angeles does have a top goalie in Jonathan Quick.  New Jersey has a legend in goal in Martin Brodeur who is no longer at the top of his career.  I argue Brodeur was the worst goalie to make it out of the first round (the strongest argument might by Ilya Bryzgalov who has outplayed Brodeur in the last few seasons).  It would be a great story if Brodeur wins the Stanley Cup and retires.  It would really help in building the Brodeur legend - even though he is no longer an elite goalie.  Los Angeles has the best defenceman in the series in Drew Doughty.  New Jersey lacks a defenceman of an elite talent.  At forward there is less of a clear advantage for either team.  New Jersey had the better offence in the regular season but Los Angeles is significantly improved with the additional depth of Jeff Carter, which has allowed extra freedom to the other King forwards.  Los Angeles should win but they are far from the best team in the league.

NOTE:  This post has been moved in the Kukla’s Korner web server.  Comments do not transfer in this process. The comments that did not transfer can be seen here.  All comments posted after 5:04 PM May 30th, 2012 will appear on this post.

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Regarding the discussion in the old location…maybe the Kings were just unlucky during the regular season? (By the way, they played at a 113-pt per-82 pace after adding Carter)

The Kings had help. Chicago and Detroit could have competed with them if either got hot goaltending, but instead their goaltending went cold and they went out in the first round. But Vancouver and St. Louis were legit top teams this year (St. Louis was unlucky last year that Halak decided to have the worst season of his career) and LA dominated nonetheless.

They got a little lucky in closing out the series so quickly (LA isn’t good enough to win 100% of games from St. Louis in the long run, obviously, so we can guess that some short term factors—call them luck—were in play) but LA I thought was the best team in the league post-deadline by a large margin. Corsi bears that out. Their roster, with three top-end two-way forwards, an elite D, and an elite G, suggests they should be a very good squad. Their record once they made these changes (remember, losing Johnson drastically improved the team at even strength and on the penalty kill) bears that out as well.

Vancouver’s pretty unlucky in having had to face the best two 8 seeds we’ve seen in a long time over the past two years.

Posted by Ralph on 05/31/12 at 03:14 PM ET

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About The Puck Stops Here

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.

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Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com