Friday, May 28, 2010

The lesser of two evils

Or, who should you cheer for in the Stanley Cup Finals?

If you're Canadian, chances are, you're a fan of hockey. If you're a fan of hockey, chances are you'll watch the Stanley Cup Finals. If you're watching the Stanley Cup Finals, chances are you'll want to cheer for somebody. We're here to help.

The case for Chicago:

If the Blackhawks win the Cup, chances are Jonathan Toews will win the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP. Toews also won the Top Forward award at the Olympics. Any 'True Canadian™' like Toews is easy to like, and we love to see kids from small towns across Canada recognized in the United States as sporting heroes.

Also in that column, Duncan Keith could potentially win Olympic Gold, the Norris Trophy and the Stanley Cup in the same year. He wasn't as prominent in junior as his teammate Brent Seabrook, so since his early accomplishments are blasted in our precious ears every single time we watch a game on TSN, it's good to appreciate his play as one of the best two-way defensemen in the game rather than meaningless accomplishments he had as a 12-year old.

Chelsea Dagger: The catchiest goal song in hockey has lyrics about a British prostitute, one classy enough to be too expensive for former realtor Ken Jowdy.

The case against Chicago:

As easy as it is to like the Canadian trio on that team, its two Americans piss us off to no end. Dustin Byfuglien constantly screws our fantasy teams by playing like a defenseman on years where he's listed as a forward and playing like a real bad defenseman on years where he's listed as a defenseman.

The case for Philadelphia:

One of the few things as annoying as Philadelphia sports fans are Boston sports fans, so it was fun to see that 3-0 series comeback in the second round. It's also worth noting the Flyers probably spared the beautiful city of Montreal from rioters by ensuring that they didn't get further than the third round.

If Philadelphia wins, the chances that Peter Laviolette ever returns to the TSN panel is pretty well slim-to-none.

Michael Leighton's rise to prominence is awesome. This is a journeyman goaltender, one of the best Cinderella stories of the playoffs, who proves that you should continue doing what you love and never give up, a perfect embodiment of the transcendence of sports. Also, it means that if you're a Leafs fan, there's always hope in whoever Brian Burke/Ron Wilson choose to go with next year.

The case against Philadelphia

Daniel Carcillo:

The stupid shootout. The way the Flyers made the playoffs. The stupid, stupid shootout that everybody hates decided the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Chris Pronger. Seeing him win one Cup was sickening enough.

When Kate Smith was alive, she sang a song called 'That's Why Darkies Were Born.' To see her more than once singing pre-game on the video board goes beyond gimmicky.

Deal breakers:

For Calgary fans... If Chicago shell Leighton, then his free agency value diminishes to the point where the Flames might be able to sign him as a backup goalie. He could be the next Roman Turek. Verdict: Chicago.

For Edmonton fans... Chris Pronger. Verdict: Chicago.

For Montreal fans... Usually it's wrong to cheer for an Original 6 rival, but these are special circumstances. Philly eliminated the Habs, and a Blackhawk win means that rival Toronto will have the longest Cup drought. Verdict: Chicago.

For Ottawa fans... Have we forgotten this one yet? Verdict: Chicago.

For Toronto fans... See Montreal. Verdict: Philadelphia.

For Vancouver fans... Chicago has knocked the Canucks out in the last two playoffs. About the only thing less popular in downtown Vancouver than Dustin Byfuglien right now is Roberto Luongo. Verdict: Philadelphia.

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