And now we’re down to two: New Jersey Devils and the Los Angeles Kings.
Which just goes to show nobody this year should be betting based on my picks. I thought the Kings would prevail in a tough fight. In fact? the Kings were clearly a dominant team, and the Coyotes never really had a chance. And I was convinced the Rangers were a lock, and in fact, while it was a really close, tight series, the more I watched the Devils, the more I saw a team building confidence and believing. Even if the Rangers had gotten game six to go their way, I don’t think the Rangers would have won game seven. The Devils deserved it.
Still, I was 1-1 in the conference finals, which makes me 6-8 this year in calling series. All things considered, that’s not too bad. I don’t think many pundits picked the Devils and Kings in the finals, and the few who did are having entertaining talks with their bookies.
I can admit to a couple of things: I’m really looking forward to this Cup Final, and I’m ready for hockey to end for a while. I’ve really enjoyed the playoff hockey, but I won’t mind not having hockey around for a few weeks. Still, a few more games won’t suck.
In this round? I think there are reasons to pick both teams; I love the Kings youthful enthusiasm and Jonathan Quick in goal. I respect the Devils’ veteran poise and work ethic, and Brodeur has impressed me (more than I expected to. I do believe he’s at that point where he needs to place fewer regular season games to play well in the playoffs.)
I do think I’m going to pick the Kings here. They have more reset, and I’ll take rest over rust in this situation. I think they’re better suited to handle the travel, being from the West and knowing how to pace themselves. And I think Quick can AT LEAST duel Brodeur to a draw, and if he can, then I think that bodes well for the Kings.
And I have a soft spot in my heart for Lombardi and Sutter. I’d really like to see them win this.
So let’s say… Kings in six.
Good luck to LA starting Wednesday. (and bonus points if they put the series down faster…)