Tonight, the Stanley Cup Final began. I know I haven't publicly predicted anything much this playoffs, but I'm picking the Blackhawks to win it all. Since they lost in the conference final last year, I thought they were going to win it all in 2010, and nothing has happened over the course of the last year to change my mind. I thought they were the best team all year long, even if San Jose had a slightly better record, and their recent backhanding of the Sharks seems to suggest that I may have been right.
This is to take nothing away from the Flyers. They're a tough, physical, skilled team, and I think they'll give the Hawks a good challenge, but I just think Chicago is better, and I think they'll win the Stanley Cup.
They took game 1 today, 6-5. Figures, the one game I can't watch, and it's a 6-5 thriller. Hopefully we'll have comparably exciting hockey the rest of the way. I'm pretty sure we will. These teams are pretty high-octane, and they're both about as never-say-die as it gets. Plus, you're looking at a lot of tradition in both markets and two fan bases who have waited a long time to see a Stanley Cup champ. Should be great.
The first game of the Final is also always sort of sad for me, because I know it marks the end of hockey season. And while the off-season is fun (draft, free agency), and really, it's not that long till next season starts (thank you, long playoffs PLUS Olympics!), it's always sort of a sad thing to see go.
Don't worry, this'll be my last big hockey post until the Cup is handed to Jonathan Toews. (Okay, okay, or Mike Richards)