Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stanley Cup preview: Who has the edge?

By now you've no doubt read dozens of Stanley Cup final previews, all of which followed the exact same format: quick blurbs about each team under the categories "Forwards", "Defense", "Goaltending" and "Special Teams", with an "edge" awarded to either side.

Well, sure, all those things are important. But what about everything else? Clearly there's more to winning hockey than just having skill at forward, defence, goal and special teams. After all, the Leafs didn't have any of those things last year, and they still managed to win six games.

So as always, it falls to me to dig a little deeper. Here's a Cup preview based on ten critical categories that everyone else is overlooking.

Did they touch the trophy?

Detroit: Acting captain Henrik Zetterberg refused to touch the Clarence Campbell Bowl.

Pittsburgh: Captain Sidney Crosby picked up Prince of Wales Trophy, skated it over to teammates, then took it home and made sweet tender love to it for three straight days.

Edge: Detroit

Fan Participation:

Detroit: Fan spend entire playoffs cheering on home team, debating every nuance of each game, and counting down the days until they can once again cheer the hoisting of a Stanley Cup.

Pittsburgh: Fan spend entire playoffs sending photoshops into The Pens Blog.

Edge: Even.

The Malkin Factor

Pittsburgh: Media unanimously agrees that Evgeni Malkin is the most unstoppable playoff performer in NHL history.

Detroit: Media will unanimously agrees that Evgeni Malkin is the greatest playoff choker in NHL history as soon as he has one bad game.

Edge: TBD

Playoff Beard Quality

Detroit: Entire team looks like Hagrid from the Harry Potter movies.

Pittsburgh: Sidney Crosby looks like Adam Morrison's kid brother.

Edge: Detroit


Pittsburgh: With a win, perhaps NBC will finally start paying some attention to this Sidney Crosby kid.

Detroit: Stanley Cup drought now up to a franchise record 12 months.

Edge: Even

Does Marion Hossa play for them?

Detroit: Marion Hossa does play for them.

Pittsburgh: Marion Hossa does not play for them.

Edge: Pittsburgh.


Pittsburgh: Are relatively healthy, assuming nobody has tried to skate around Alexander Ovechkin lately.

Detroit: Have been without future Hall-of-Famers Nik Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk, forcing team's other twelve future Hall-of-Famers to somehow carry the load.

Edge: Pittsburgh

Defensive zone strategy

Pittsburgh: When an opposing player enters the defensive zone, the team reverts to a passive zone system, attempting to keep the puck on the perimeter and use speed and skill to create turnovers for quick strike counter-attack offensive opportunities.

Detroit: When an opposing player enters the defensive zone, Niklas Kronwall kills them.

Edge: Detroit


Pittsburgh: Roster includes former Leaf Hal Gill, who was signed as a free agent by John Ferguson Jr. and coached on defensive positioning by Paul Maurice.

Detroit: Have no ex-Leafs on roster.

Edge: Detroit

Strength Implied by Logo

Pittsburgh: The penguin, a pathetic little creature that waddles around helplessly, can't fly, and is easily gobbled up by seals and other predators without so much as putting up a fight.

Detroit: The red "winged wheel", a symbol of Detroit's auto industry.

Edge: Pittsburgh


  1. Good stuff once again. The Pens also make the mistake of having former Ranger Pascal Dupuis on the roster, but I still think they win in 5. The Wings balance out the Ranger bad by having Mikael Samuelsson on the team. Granted he would score just as much with the Rangers, but he would be doing it on the first line.

  2. The "strength implied by logo" bit had me in stitches

  3. Wings in 4? Of course I'm saying that Monday.

    Hal Gill LOL

  4. While the first few comparisons had me smiling, the Kronwall line had me laughing at work and the rest of it from there did nothing to stop that. Awesome!

  5. I really think a new stat needs to be added for the sake of Detroit(just like pulling the nets out from the boards so Wayne could score 219 pts). That stat is the FDB, which stands for Fortuitous Dasher Bounces. I think Detroit has won more than one game with this practiced procedure. Game One being a huge example. So

    Pittsburgh - Old busted arena being replaced next year

    Detroit - Rocket science being applied to dashers behind each net

  6. hahahahahahahaha i love your blog

  7. Um, of course Crosby touched the Prince of Wales Trophy. He didn't last time, and they lost. Might as well change it up. And yes, I'm writing this from the benefit of hindsight, but I felt the exact same way back in 2009.