Hockey's journey for Lord Stanley's Cup is near its end for the 2010 season. The final matchup pits the Chicago Blackhawks against the Philadelphia Flyers. As someone who knows nothing about hockey, this is disappointing for a couple reasons:
First of all, the top-seeded Washington Capitals were taken out in the first round. From what I understand, this is not an uncommon occurrence, this choking by D.C.’s hockey squad. I guess that makes the Caps the Tony Romo of the NHL?
Second, the team that took out those top-seeded Caps—the Montreal Canadiens—then took out the defending champs the Pittsburgh Penguins in an epic series that saw alternating teams take turns winning, until the last game. After building all this goodwill as the obvious choice for the People's Champ, the Montreal Canadiens promptly got punked out of the playoffs, avoiding a sweep by a mere one game. The Flyers smashed the Habs, with the lone exception of Game 3.
On the other side of the bracket, San Jose started off by taking out the only team that I know enough to root for by virtue of physical proximity, the Colorado Avalanche. This, then, shifted my alliances to those same Sharks, seeing as they represented the Left Coast—and were a lot closer than the remaining teams. When San Jose took out the Detroit Red Wings (can it really be considered Hockey City, still?), I thought I'd found a hot team to ride. Chicago put a quick stop to those thoughts, though, as they swept the Sharks. Though the games were closer than the 4-0 mark reveals.
So, what now for a hockey neophyte? Moving past the disappointment, it appears as though the City of Brotherly Love will be the underdog against the Blackhawks. The games start tomorrow, so that gives us all a little time to do a little research if we don't just want to go for the team with the longer odds. The first two games will be on NBC (apparently Philly's home venue only ranks Versus?) and hockey looks great in HD. Plus, two American teams vying for a traditionally Canadian sport's trophy? We can't go wrong.