Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Was the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals the Greatest Ever?

So was the 2013 Stanley Cup Finals the greatest ever? That’s a good question and I think an argument can be made that it was. Since my hockey viewing began 34 years ago, I can only speak about that time frame.

I’ve watched many Stanley Cup Finals over the years but something about these playoffs and the finals was different. One of the reasons is the lockout shortened season. With only 48 games being played by each team, every game mattered and about half way through the season it felt as if we were in playoff mode.

So when the playoffs started in April, the intensity of the games and every series was evident. At least it was to me. The quality of play and the drama that unfolded from series to series was incredible.

I was glued the television set every night and I couldn’t have asked for better entertainment. Once my Minnesota Wild were eliminated, the Chicago Blackhawks became my team.

What an amazing season the Hawks had. They raced off the starting block right off the bat. They won the President’s trophy (NHL club with the most regular season points) and they made it look easy.

For me this year’s finals was the best. It was the most amazing that I’ve seen. Both teams were evenly matched and three out of the first four games went into overtime with one game going well into the third overtime period.

Each game was tightly contested. There wasn't any room for error. Each game went down to the wire and you never knew what would unfold at any point, right until the final buzzer sounded.

Last night’s game six was the icing on a great finish to the series. With Boston up 2-1 with about 1:30 left on the clock, Corey Crawford left his net for an extra skater and it proved to be a game changer.

The Blackhawks scored with about 1:16 left in the game and 17 seconds later the unthinkable happened. The Hawks scored the game winner. There was still 59 seconds left in the game but you could tell that the wind had been let out of the Bruins sails.

They were done for the season. Tuuka Rask the Stanley cup playoffs best netminder (in my opinion) had been beaten. He wasn’t able to stop the flurry in the last 17 seconds of game 6. The Hawks led by Jonathan Toews and supported by Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Bryan Bickell and the rest of their teammates were too much for the Bruins.

Let’s not forget that Corey Crawford played very well during the playoffs but was at his best during the finals. I think that Crawford proved he’s a winner and can play well when it matters the most.

Even though these finals didn’t go to a seventh and deciding game, the six that were played made it felt like 20 games had been played. In fact, due to all the Overtime periods that had been played during the series, the teams played an equivalent of over 7 games. The intensity and drama of every game is unmatched in my opinion.

Yes my friends this was the greatest Stanley Cup finals in my hockey viewing lifetime!

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