Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The great eight: A look at the most likely Stanley Cup winners

We're heading down the homestretch of the NHL season. Every team is down to their final fifteen games or less, the playoff races are tight, and we're starting to see some separation between the contenders and the pretenders.

While most of the league is either battling for the bottom playoff seeds or already looking toward the offseason, a handful of teams have begun to separate themselves from the pack. And while it's always possible that we'll see a Cinderella run from an underdog, history tells us that when the Stanley Cup is eventually handed out in a few months it will go to a team from the top of the regular season standings.

So let's get to know a few of those teams. Here's a closer look at the eight teams that look like they'll be heading into the postseason as the Stanley Cup favorites.

Pittsburgh Penguins


Greatest strength: The returning Sidney Crosby won't need to worry about being reinjured by an opponent's body check this time, says Gary Bettman while sitting calmly in the rafters holding a sniper rifle.
Potential weakness: Opposing penalty killers can expect an easy time of it when facing the combination of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, since the powerplay will only ever last six or seven seconds max.

Boston Bruins


Greatest strength: Lead the league in goal differential with a +58, although in fairness that does go down to +3 if you take away their five games against the Maple Leafs.
Potential weakness: Are starting to get a bad feeling that they misunderstood Tim Thomas when he personally assured them that he'd make sure the whole "refuse to go to the White House after winning a championship" incident would never happen again.

Philadelphia Flyers


Greatest strength: Have recently been putting a real emphasis on closing things out properly, although so far those things are just Nicklas Grossmann's nameplates.
Potential weakness: Teammates report that they'd feel a lot better about Ilya Bryzgalov's three recent shutouts if he didn't always respond to their post-game compliments by looking around in confusion and asking "Wait, did we play tonight?"

St. Louis Blues


Greatest strength: Often have the benefit of facing demoralized opponents who hear the start of the sentence "Tonight we play the Blue…" and get all excited thinking it's going to be Columbus.
Potential weakness: While Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak have been almost unbeatable since Ken Hitchcock took over, at some point somebody might notice that the rulebook says they're not technically allowed to both play at the same time like that.

Nashville Predators


Greatest strength: Every player on the roster believes with absolute certainty that they have a chance of beating out all these other teams, which experts agree is just completely adorable.
Potential weakness: While occasional distractions on the road are just part of the job for superstar players, it's still not cool how all the owners of every big market team the Predators visit keep "accidentally" leaving giant bags full of money in Ryan Suter's locker.

Detroit Red Wings


Greatest strength: The injury-plagued team has recently received several moving sympathy cards from around the league reading "So sorry to hear about all your all-stars being hurt" although come to think of it some of those may have been sarcastic.
Potential weakness: Opponents continue to demand suspensions whenever Niklas Kronwall launches himself into any player he catches with their head down, but maybe those cry-babies should just find a different way to listen to the national anthem.

New York Rangers


Greatest strength: Their forwards and defencemen are known for fearlessly hurling their bodies in front of any shots directed at Henrik Lundqvist, although opponents admit it's kind of creepy how they always do it while yelling "Protect his beautiful face!"
Potential weakness: While players getting hurt is a fact of life and should be expected during the stretch drive and playoffs, it's got to be nerve-wracking knowing you're only 15 or 16 injured forwards away from Sean Avery getting called up.

Vancouver Canucks


Greatest strength: Gained invaluable experience during last year's playoff run, and should also be well-rested thanks to the three days of offseason they got afterwards.
Potential weakness: Roberto Luongo admits that while it's nice to hear coaches and teammates say they have full confidence in him and aren't looking to bring in a goalie with a better reputation for coming through in the clutch, he'd still like to know why this Connor Crisp kid is suddenly hanging around.




33 comments:

  1. Connor Crisp line was a beauty!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For a moment I thought he meant Coco Crisp. Or Sugar Crisp.

      Delete
    2. The Oakland A's have a player with that name, don't they?

      Delete
    3. Coco or Sugar?

      .

      .

      .

      (yes, Coco)

      Delete
    4. Connor Crisp? Who is th-

      Oh. Oh yeah, him. Oh my. Ouch.

      Delete
  2. "Protect his beautiful face!"...priceless. Had to google Connor Crisp, but remembered the story quickly; well done.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Noticed that the Great 8 isn't on one of the great eight teams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey, it's not Teemu's fault that the Ducks stink.

      Delete
    2. I believe he is referring to Ovenchicken

      Delete
  4. Sean Avery will never get called back up.... Hartford let him off their postseason list and told him don't bother coming to practices/games... Next stop, Vogue you fruitcake!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. doing a hell of a lot more with his life than you are. and making a hell of a lot more money doing it.

      Delete
  5. I would be more afraid of the devils than the flyers. Flyers have so many young players, and rely on Giroux and Hartnell to carry their team. JVR and Briere have been disappointments this season. Devils have two complete lines and with Clarkson who will get to 30 goals by the end of the season on the third line they be dangerous. And seriously wtf is kovy on has to be something. Only real weakness for devils would be if Brodeur see's a dunkin doughnuts or if he finds out his brother has a new wife.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://memebase.com/wp-content/themes/vip/cheezcommon2/ragecomic/packs/surprised/images/WhatYouDidThere.png

      Delete
    2. Damn, I guess you can't direct link... sadface

      Delete
    3. First thing's first - JVR has been plagued by injuries all year; hard to be a star when you are concussed or have a broken foot. Briere is in a slump, it happens, he'll snap out of it. As for G & Hartnell carrying their team? I suppose besides their significant contributions, the Flyers' success has nothing to do with Simmonds & Talbot, like Hartnell, having their best years in the NHL yet, or that Jagr is working his ass off like he's 20 not 40, or that Bryz has had a humongous big turnaround into a shutout machine, or that Voracek is quietly amazing, or that Kimmo the Warrior is Kimmo the Warrior, or that the rookies are killing it, or that they are all doing this despite the significant loss of Pronger, or that Grossmann has wasted no time in dominating & giving new life to the D-men, or that they are the highest scoring team in the league, or that they are doing all this with a very different roster than last year...seems to me like the Flyers might have a little bit more going for them than just Orange Jesus & #hartnelldown. Just sayin'.

      Delete
  6. That Kronwall line sounded like a Pronger joke. New successor or using up some old material? Either way, great stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No Kronwall recently hit a guy with his head down.

      Delete
  7. We're currently auditioning for the role of Scary Defenceman Character. Zdeno Chara had an excellent audition, but we're open to having others come in to read for the part.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sami Salo. Dude has one nut.

      Delete
  8. Actually, DGB, I'd be interested to hear your opinion on the latest Kronwalling against the Flyers (or his hits in general), past the hilarious line in this post.

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Protect his beautiful face!" absolutely killed me. Magnificent.

    ReplyDelete
  10. But the Flyers have Claude Giroux passing to Claude Giroux, with Claude Giroux screening the goalies.

    ReplyDelete
  11. The mental image I formed after reading the Penguins' strength was pretty hilarious. Fantastic all the way through.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great job, DGB! I think you'll have enough Bryzgalov material to last you for years. :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. The NYR one is golden.

    And you know it's spring time when the Luongo = playoff choker jokes start popping up. I'm a Lu fan, but it almost wouldn't feel right if I didn't see at least one Luongo jab, hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "Protect his beautiful face" I started crying I laughed so hard.

    ReplyDelete
  15. All the Flyers need is Giroux, GO FLYERS!

    ReplyDelete
  16. OMG, this was both really smart & really hilarious. Nice work, DGB. Also, GO FLYERS!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I had to look up the NHL's retired numbers to double check. Are you f---ing kidding me, Calgary? How can you justify retiring Mike F---ing Vernon's number but not NHL HALL-OF-FAMER Al MacInnis? One of the top 50 all-time point scorers, one of only 5 defencement with over 100 points in a season, the 3rd-highest scoring defenseman of all time.

    I don't know what kind of crack the Flames are smoking down there in Cow Town.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I am not a hockey mania but I admit that because of this exciting sport, the skating and smashing, inspires me to watch more extreme sports.

    ReplyDelete