The last three Cup Finals have had some great moments and some great games. The Flames and Lightning Cup Final was amazing. Edmonton-Carolina provided the same drama; it was Cinderella vs. Destiny. Even last year's Cup Finals, Ottawa vs. Anaheim, had great games (even though the series ended in 5.) But to the average hockey fan, these series wouldn't make them an even bigger hockey fan. I mean, yeah, these Cup Finals that I've mentioned had some great games. To me, the Oilers-Canes series was one the best Cup Finals series I've ever watched. But those average fans couldn't relate to those teams because the teams didn't come from 'traditional' markets. I mean, Tampa, Calgary, Edmonton, Anaheim, Raleigh, and Ottawa. None of those cities are known as "hockey markets" to the average U.S. fans. All they see is 3 Canadian and 3 'Southern' cities.
But when the Pens and Wings win their respective Conference Finals by the weekend, the average hockey fan will have something to look forward to later next week. Detroit-Pittsburgh. Red Wings-Penguins. Motor City-Steel City. Zetterberg-Malkin. Datsyuk-Crosby. Osgood-Fleury. The Joe-The Igloo. How could it not be exciting?? (especially with Doc Emrick doing the play-by-play) Emrick would have a complete heart attack in the close games, nonetheless in overtime.
Two teams on one mission. Neither of these teams would settle for being the ol' saying "we're just happy to be here". Both are craving the Cup. Both have dominated their opponents in the playoffs. (except Detroit in the 1st round :) ) Both are undefeated at home. And both have won close road games in tough environments.
The 'savvyness' of Datsyuk and Zetterberg. The skill and heart of Crosby and Malkin. This series would be made for TV, no matter what anyone says. I honestly believe this would be the most exciting/riveting Cup Final since the Devils and Avalanche went at it in 2001, in which the Avs prevailed in 7.
You also have two fan bases that go way back. Easily two of the most popular teams in the NHL. Don't worry, hockey fans... the 2nd and 3rd rounds may have been a disappointment, but the Stanley Cup Finals will certainly make up for it!!
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