Sports Articles by: Matthew Paolercio

Sports Articles by: Matthew Paolercio

Article 2: June 2011

Next in Line: Toronto or Montreal….or even now Winnipeg?

Combine they have 35 Stanley Cup, 55 final appearances, but not one final appearance in 18 years and counting (Montreal 1993).

Since the 2004 season, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Vancouver have all made it to the Stanley Cup finals (none winning in the finals). Calgary broke an 11 year curse that saw no Canadian teams in the finals and since then started a trend of a Canadian teams making it to the finals. Therefore, what may happen is that the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadians, or the newly formed Winnipeg team may make it to the finals. Obviously hoping for a different result that their Canadian counterparts.

However, who has the best chance of making it to the finals-let’s examine all three teams:



The Toronto Maple Leafs hasn’t made the playoffs since the 2004 season. However, with tons of cap room and the emergence of James Reimer in goal, and a young core of players that includes Luke Schenn, Phil Kessel, Dion Pheneuf, and top prospect Nazim Kadri, Toronto will be improving in the next few years. They may have the longest shot of the three to make it next, but they have the potential to be the most consistent. As for a city that has waited since 1967 for a Stanley Cup, it may take quite a few more years, but at least they won’t be one year wonders.

The Montreal Canadians probably have the best chance of the three to make it to the cup final. Having making it the Eastern Conference Finals two years ago, and being up 2 games to none, only to lose to eventual Stanley Cup Champions Boston Bruins in this year’s Eastern Conference Quarter Final, they may be only a couple of pieces away. With a top notch goaltender in Carey Price, top young defensemen P.K. Subban, and playoff scoring machine Mike Cammalleri, a couple of breaks can turn them into Stanley Cup contenders. As we saw with Tim Thomas this past post season, a hot goaltender can go a long way and Carey Price definitely has the ability to do what Tim Thomas did for the Boston Bruins.

As for the yet to be named Winnipeg team, they possess the most mysteries of any team in the NHL. They have a good group of young talent that consists of Patrick Kane, Dustin Byfuglien, and Zach Bogosian, but will these players stay. Winnipeg has long been considered a city that very few people want to play in. The winters are brutal, there isn’t much to do in the city, and they have the smallest market of any of the 30 NHL teams. However, they are nuts about hockey. If selling 13 000 season tickets in less than 17 minutes doesn’t tell you that, I don’t know what does. For a city that has been craving NHL hockey since 1996, Ed Olczyk famous line “When this team wins the cup, its coming back to Winnipeg” may be a reality, there is just no predicting when.

 


 

Article 1: May 2011

Cheap Shots/ Do These Players Know What They’re Playing For?

With the Stanley Cup Playoffs well underway, instead of focusing on the two month grind that is the NHL Playoffs, all of the media is focusing on cheap shots, suspensions, or lack thereof.

In this first round alone, we’ve seen Anaheim Ducks forward Bobby Ryan get suspended for two games for stomping his skate on Jonathon Blum of The Nashville Predators. We’ve also seen Vancouver Canucks Raffi Torres avoid suspension for viciously hitting Chicago Defensemen Brent Seabrook, and Philadelphia Flyers forward Mike Richards receive a five minute major for elbowing Buffalo Sabres Patrick Kaleta. Just to name a few.

One can even add Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Cooke to the list, as he is still serving his rest of regular season plus first round playoff suspensions.



Therefore, just out of curiosity, as a witness, as an observer, as a fan, do these players realize they are playing for Lord Stanley’s Cup?

For sure, they have to know. They’re getting the chance to do something that millions dream of, and be able to accomplish something that Mats Sundin, Pat Lafantaine, and Marcel Dionne couldn’t do as NHL stars.

It’s not to say that the players should hold back a bit, they be crazy to do so. If that were the case, they wouldn’t even be playing in the NHL. However, there is a thin line between cheap shots and playing the game right. Things happen in an instant, players will get hurt and there will always be hockey plays where everyone will be asking why he did that? At the end of the day though, it’s the players’ responsibility to stop with these cheap shots and let the media start talking about great playoff hockey.

The game is fast pace, the game is based on quick judgement, and the game is an emotional one, but someday if this trend continues, somebody is going to cost his team the Stanley Cup.

 


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