Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kings vs Devils: The 2012 Stanley Cup preview

Dustin Brown attempts to confused Martin Brodeur with
a rarely seen trick play he calls "remaining upright".
It took an eight-month regular season and three rounds of playoffs, but we're down to arguably the most unlikely Stanley Cup final matchup of all-time. With the presumptive favourites all on the sidelines, the #6 seed New Jersey Devils and the #8 seed Los Angeles Kings will take to the ice tomorrow to begin the battle for the Stanley Cup.

How did we get here, and who has the edge? Let's compare the two finalists by breaking down the key matchups.

Coaching

Devils: Peter DeBoer became involved in a heated screaming match with John Tortorella in the conference finals but that probably won't happen again this series, according to the five Sutter brothers cracking their knuckles behind the Devils bench.
Kings: Darryl Sutter is trying to draw on the experience of losing in the 2004 finals, according to players who are starting to get tired of the constant "make sure you shoot the puck as far over the goal line as possible" drills.

Offense

Devils: Team officials have enjoyed watching Zach Parise play the best hockey of his career, although they admit they could do without his post-game ritual of immediately sprinting up to Lou Lamoriello's luxury box and scrawling another zero at the end of his free agency contract demands.
Kings: Struggling star Jeff Carter is having a miserable playoffs and probably wishes he wasn't even there, Rick Nash keeps telling himself bitterly.

Defense

Devils: They focus on using their speed to create turnovers in the transition game and attack with an aggressive forecheck that pins the other team inside its own zone. Or, as everyone will spend the next two weeks calling it out of force of habit, "the neutral zone trap".
Kings: While they acknowledge that he's a great player who plays in all key situations, the team's other five defencemen still say it's not cool how they all have to wear jersey nameplates that read "Not Doughty".

Goaltending

Devils: The players badly want to win now for 40-year-old goaltender Martin Brodeur, since based on his recent play he probably only has like nine or ten good years left.
Kings: Jonathan Quick has been amazing to watch all season long, say the five Kings players standing at the other blueline before mumbling that they should probably get back there and help him eventually.

Special teams

Devils: Have struggled badly on the penalty kill, which could be bad news during the three of four minors the referees will probably call during the series.
Kings: Have fired home a lot of goals in powerplay situations, and for this series are even thinking of trying to score one when it's their team that has the extra man.

Fan support

Devils: The team has tried to cover their arena in the color red, presumably by giving each fan a copy of the team's financial statements.
Kings: Are attracting so much celebrity attention that at this point the only 20 people in the crowd at home games who aren't famous in Los Angeles will be the Kings players.

Key to victory

Devils: Have already eliminated Philadelphia and New York and should be able beat Los Angeles too if the players can just ignore distractions, such as all those American TV executives who keep trying to run them over with their cars while screaming "You're ruining everything!"
Kings: Should really think about trying to get a 3-0 series lead, since they seem to be pretty good at protecting those.

Historical precedence

Devils: Have somehow kept the faith despite not making the finals in nine long years, say Maple Leaf fans sarcastically while pouring lemon juice into their paper cuts.
Kings: Keep asking members of the 1993 Kings teams that went to the Finals for their advice, and are frustrated that everyone keeps telling them "Whatever you do, just make sure you don't end up facing a legendary French-Canadian goalie".




22 comments:

  1. I was expecting a Brown-on-Parise uncalled high stick joke, still very funny though!

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  2. "Darryl Sutter is trying to draw on the experience of losing in the 2004 finals, according to players who are starting to get tired of the constant "make sure you shoot the puck as far over the goal line as possible" drills."


    ...and Flames fans the world over sigh heavily.

    See? Sunday may have been Kerry Fraser day, but the Leafs aren't the only team to have been robbed of a cup by blind referees.

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    1. Meanwhile, Brett Hull sits high in his dark tower, smiling. "I, too, have known bad calls in my day," he whispers, as he stares at a team photo of the '98-'99 Buffalo Sabres and begins to laugh maniacally.

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    2. Flames fans need to learn how depth perception works. Yay for Andreychuk!

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    3. What about the replay angle that showed the puck behind the line including white space between the puck and the goal line?

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    4. Go to DGB's Grantland article on the 10 types of Stanley Cup finals and click the link in the section that talks about that. Even though it will probably not sway someone who is extremely vested in it like you, it is compelling enough to appease someone like me who was fairly neutral about the incident.

      I'm curious what you think about the argument.

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  3. "...and are frustrated that everyone keeps telling them "Whatever you do, just make sure you don't end up facing a legendary French-Canadian goalie"

    Oh, goddammit. Now I'm more worried.

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  4. You should be.

    Go Devils!

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  5. Wayne Gretzky, on the upcoming Finals matchup: "Well, on the upside, there's no way you could possibly be up against a more game-breaking goaltender than Patrick R- oh. Fuck."

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  6. Sean, can we talk? I need to tell you something very important. You're getting too damned predictable.

    Why the hell do you keep writing stuff that contain amusing obscure facts, amusing obscure connections, amusing historical similarities and gut-busting jokes? You really need to try harder to suck. Even Damien Cox, on occasion, writes something that is outside of his standard non-quality puke drivel. I remember reading a column of his once that made sense. Accordingly, can you please do a post or two that aren't so got-damned entertaining?

    Regards.

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    Replies
    1. ooooohh I get it, it's phrased as an insult, but is really a compliment!

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    2. You're so clever

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  7. The 'offense' part was the best!

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  8. The "Fan support" is right on. Gold as usual!

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  9. Gold

    "Kings: While they acknowledge that he's a great player who plays in all key situations, the team's other five defencemen still say it's not cool how they all have to wear jersey nameplates that read "Not Doughty""

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  10. I don't really care who wins as long as Brodeur clears a puck off Richard's face and into Carter's. I can't be the only one that wants to see that right?

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  11. I think this is your best post ever.... still laughing as i try desperately to press the right keys.

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  12. Somewhere, Patrick Roy is winking.

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  13. Anje Kopidor and Brad Doty will prevail!

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  14. Looks like the Kings took your advice re: Keys to victory, DGB.

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