Man, these NHL Conference Finals have sure been something. Both series are tied at 3 coming into this weekend, with Game 7 of Lightning-Rangers tonight and Game 7 of Blackhawks-Ducks Saturday night. This is the “dream scenario” for the NHL. I mean, for fans, for TV ratings, for ticket prices. This is what they want.
Most casual NHL fans aren’t huge into the business of the league. They care about who’s in the Cup, and let me tell you this, they root for certain teams.
Now, don’t take that too literally. What I mean here, is that certain teams draw fans. Bandwagoners or not, certain teams draw the interest of casual hockey fans. The Blackhawks, for example, are an Original Six team, who’s been around forever. They have a huge fan base, whether it’s full of bandwagoners or not. People care more about them than rather say, Columbus, or the Hurricanes in Carolina.
The NHL probably wants Chicago to beat Anaheim tonight. Why? They draw more fans. Chicago is the bigger market (Anaheim is overshadowed by the whole LA area, plus there’s a second team in their TV market). The Kings are the more popular team in Southern California. Bottom line.
In the East, the NHL wants New York. Why? Well, while the Lightning have good fans and are successful, it’s Florida. It’s Tampa Bay. People are gonna be at the beach rather than the hockey game in June. Honestly, there shouldn’t be any sports teams in Florida (That’s a personal opinion). While the Lightning posses Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson, two of the bigger names in the sport, the Rangers have the “starrier” names. Henrik Lundqvist, Rick Nash. They play at Madison Square Garden, one of the most famous arenas there are. Why wouldn’t the NHL want another Cup being played there? Why wouldn’t the NHL want Cup games being played in Chicago, one of the biggest hockey markets there are?
Sports are a business. The NFL is a perfect example of how and where the faults are. The NHL doesn’t rig the playoffs (trust me), but they have strong rooting interests. Obviously, whatever happens happens, but the NHL offices are gonna pretty happy if they get Chicago-New York in the Stanley Cup.
But I don’t think that’s gonna happen. I’m not previewing each Game 7 (kinda hard to preview one hockey game). I’m just giving points on what’s gone on with each series and what I think happens this weekend.
- I’ve taken a ridiculous amount of crap at school this week about the Rangers. My best guess on the whole thing is that it’s just a bunch of depressed Wild fans or bandwagon Chicago fans who’re scared of my Rangers in the Cup.
- New York has made it to seven games without being insanely productive on the power play, which is something I stressed in my preview.
- There’s been a ton of goals scored in this series, and that isn’t particularly a surprise.
- It seems like these games are either blowouts or down-to-the-wire.
- I mean, really, it’s been three great games and three blowouts.
- Game 7 prediction: Rangers win 4-3
- This has been a classic series. Every game has been fun.
- Only have had two blowouts, Game 1 and Game 6.
- I watched all of Game 2, which went till 1:09 PM CST last Tuesday night. Turns out head butting the puck isn’t allowed.
- Every game has been players flying up and down the ice. Not a lot of boring periods.
- The matchups in this series have played up to expectations.
- Corey Crawford has been on point this series, which was something Chicago desperately needed
- Game 7 prediction: Ducks win 4-1.
What Cup matchup the NHL wants: Chicago-New York
What I want: Chicago-New York
What’s gonna happen: New York-Anaheim
On all the latest coaching news…..
There’s been a lot of coaching news lately. And I love it! I’m gonna go through the latest.
Flyers hire Dave Hakstol:
I don’t follow college hockey much, but Dave Hakstol was an amazing coach the past 11 seasons at North Dakota. He coached players like Jonathan Toews, T.J. Oshie, and Matt Greene. He never won a title, but has produced talent out of the program that earned him the huge promotion to coach Philadelphia.. This is a wait and see when it comes to how successful his term will be. The Flyers might have some serious roster re-build to do. Hakstol, who’s going play a part in the scouting community, should have a large amount of say with the roster.
Oilers hire Todd McLellan:
The Oilers got the No.1 overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft again, and with all the talent already there in Edmonton, Todd McLellan is gonna have a lot to work with. McLellan, as coach of the Sharks, had a great tenure, but it was time for a change there. San Jose is another team about to go through a re-build, which is something they should have done a Summer ago. None of that was McLellan’s fault, and I can’t believe Edmonton stole him from someone else. He’s a very good coach. The past two seasons just hurt his rep. The Oilers have a bright future, it’s just a matter of whether how quick it becomes a reality.
Maple Leafs hire Mike Babcock:
I have a ton of thoughts on this. First, I really believe that part of the reason for Babcock’s departure from Detroit has to do with the future of that team. He knows something we don’t, and it revolves around that roster. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterburg are both out of their prime, with Datsyuk being 36. The next couple years don’t look great for that franchise, and Babcock probably took a look at how the landscape would change. He knows something we don’t. I wonder when that something will break.
The money for Babcock was insane. He signed a 8 year, $50 million contract to coach a hockey team. The chart shows how his salary compares to other coaches in the league.
There’s no doubt that was part of it, but it is Toronto. They have the ability to do and offer that.
I had been speculative about what Toronto was going to do this offseason. I really believed they would blow it up, and trade stars like Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel. With Babcock coming in, I believe he’s gonna try and make this roster work again. The Maple Leafs’ roster isn’t bad, it just didn’t have a great season fitting together. Changes of scenery and new voices help. My money is on Toronto keeping this current roster, and trying to make it work again. If it doesn’t, they blow it up. Babcock is that good of a coach. He can turn teams around, and that’s why Toronto was the perfect fit.
Sabres hire Dan Bylsma:
Buffalo performed the ultimate tank-job this season to try and land No.1 overall (Todd McLellan rubs his hands together). That kinda failed, as they ended up with No.2. Buffalo fired their coach Ted Nolan to make it look like it was his fault for the bad record, when really the decision came from the front office.
Bringing in Dan Bylsma is odd. I mean, I can’t say I like this move. He would have been a perfect fit for a team like Detroit, or Toronto, that’s ready to win soon. Buffalo is a project, and I can’t say Bylsma is that type of coach. Then again, he’s pretty excited about having Jack Eichel.
Sharks hire Peter DeBoer:
The former Devils coach was hired this past week by the Sharks, and I’m okay with it as a San Jose fan. I get that this roster isn’t gonna be around much longer, as the Sharks are another team who’re probably gonna blow it up. DeBoer won’t be faced with a project, but there’s change coming to San Jose, so he won’t be the only new guy around there. Having that type of situation is usually a good thing, and I really hope it works out.
Enjoy the Game 7s!!!!