Seven Reasons Why You Need To Watch This Year’s Stanley Cup Finals
Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals is tonight at the Prudential Center in Newark. And it's on a channel you can find (NBC, at 8 p.m.)! Here are seven reasons you should be watching.
1. This is technically one of the “worst” matchups in Stanley Cup history, but in the best way possible: The Devils entered this postseason as the ninth overall seed in the field of 16, while the Kings were ranked 13th. What does that mean? The teams’ combined seed of 22 is the second highest in league history. The only time that number was higher was in 1991, when Mario Lemieux led the Penguins (seventh overall) past the team with the least points entering the playoffs, the Minnesota North Stars. BUT: this matchup between the Devils in Kings is the first time to produce two teams with the highest seed among them being a nine. What does that all mean? This matchup and Stanley Cup playoffs is all about parity. Close games + close results = fun to watch.
2. Martin Brodeur is starting his 200th career playoff game tonight, and this could be his last hoorah: Brodeur said he intends on coming back for his 17th season with the Devils next year, regardless of the result of this Stanley Cup. But it's likely this will be Marty's last appearance on hockey’s grandest stage. To give you a little background on Brodeur, the guy is pretty good. He holds the records for most career wins, most playoff shutouts, most minutes played, and most regular season shutouts. He is a four-time Vezina trophy winner (league’s top goaltender), a two-time Olympic gold medal winner, and a three-time Stanley Cup champion. He was the victim of this haunting chant. Oh yeah, and the guy that’s going to be in between the pipes across from him? His last name is Quick.
3. These two teams already hate each other, even if they don’t know it: This offseason, the Kings made some big moves, the biggest being a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers bringing all-star Mike Richards to the Staples Center. Then, at the trade deadline, the Kings acquired Jeff Carter from the Blue Jackets, only months after Columbus picked up Carter from... you guessed it: the Flyers. Well, between 2005 and 2011, Richards and Carter played a combined 914 games for the Flyers, and in that stretch, 34 against the Devils. The teams also met in the 2010 playoffs, when the seventh seeded Flyers upset the number two Devils in the first round, 4-1. In that series, Carter and Richards torched the Devils, combining for three goals, eight assists, and two game-winning goals. Basically, the pair almost single-handedly eliminated the Devils. And don’t think this New Jersey side will forget their faces, just because they're wearing different color sweaters.
4. We’ve got Canada, and we’ve got AMURRICA! Who can forget the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, when the American hockey team almost pulled off the second Miracle on Ice? Well, two goalies that probably won’t forget that Olympic tournament are Brodeur and Quick, who were both backups for their countries (Canada and the US, respectively). While Quick rode the pine behind tournament MVP Ryan Miller, Brodeur was sent to the bench after a shaky start. Still, they were on the benches as the gold medal was decided. Wonder if they remember…
5. We’ve got AMURRICA and, and we’ve got AMURRICA: This will be the first time an American-born captain accepts Lord Stanley’s Cup from the NHL Commissioner in the last 13 years. Zach Parise and Dustin Brown both have freedom flowing through their veins, and soon (one of them) will have a Stanley Cup in his mitts. Last time an American-born captain accepted the trophy? 1999, when the Dallas Stars’ Derien Hatcher hoisted the near 35-pound prize above his head.
6. Zach Parise and Anze Kopitar are the two best players you don’t know about: Parise garnered some attention from his performance in the 2010 Olympics. Kopitar is a bona fide superstar that is somehow going unknown while playing in Los Angeles. Either way, these two kids (Parise is 27, Kopitar is 24) will be marquee names in the league for years, and one of them is about to begin his legacy by winning a Stanley Cup. Kopitar has scored 25-plus goals in the last five seasons, and minus last season when he only appeared in three games, Parise has scored 31-plus goals in his last five campaigns. They’re both two-way players who aren’t scared to hit a guy or take a hit. It should be fun to watch them go head-to-head.
7. This is the first time the Kings have been to the Cup since 1993, when some guy named Gretzky got them there: To be clear, the Kings have never won a Stanley Cup. The team reached the finals once with Wayne Gretzky in 1993, when the Montreal Canadians took it down in five. While Gretzky won four Cups in nine seasons with the Oilers, he won zero in eight with the Kings. So Los Angeles is looking for its first crown (well, hockey crown). The Kings are a 45 year-old team still looking to lose its Cup-card.