Stanley Cup Finals Preview
As these Stanley
Cup Playoffs have progressed, much has been made of the big-screen
origins of the Mighty Ducks’ nickname – even here
at INCH, while predicting their sweep past Detroit (yeah right),
we included the obligatory Emilio Estevez reference.
But if that’s
the only movie on your mind as you watch Anaheim and New Jersey
tangle in the Cup finals, you haven’t been paying attention.
Start with Conn Smythe-in-waiting J-S Giguere,
who has demonstrated the powers of Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty
throughout the Ducks’ improbable run. Of course, it helps
that his pads resemble the plastic suit Eddie Murphy wore in The
Nutty Professor. If the Ducks take home the Cup, Giguere won’t
just be big – he’ll be Rueben from American Idol big.
At the other end of the ice, you’ll hear
more about Martin Brodeur’s Fatal Attraction-like love life
than his goaltending, but he’s clearly the key to the Devils.
Then again, neither of these goalies will have to be spectacular
if the two teams line up on their blue lines, national anthem
style, and just pass the puck back and forth.
That’s what some expect from this matchup,
which has been in the works since the Devils perfected their alternate,
Matrix-like universe, nine years ago. The Ducks are clearly among
the legions of Devils worshippers, as these two teams have been
compared more than The In-Laws and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Hockey
purists bemoan the fact that skilled, skating teams like Ottawa
or Vancouver couldn’t make it this far; apparently, those
teams needed Keanu Reeves.
as Ottawa is, everyone knows that come playoff time they stick
around as long as family of four that accidentally walks into
Old School instead of Finding Nemo. The Sens somehow stumbled
into the third round this year, further paving the Devils’
road to the finals – a “grueling” postseason
that also included cakewalks Boston and Tampa Bay.
Finally, let’s consider the case of the
series’ Grumpy Old Man, Anaheim’s Adam Oates, who
plays the Ray Bourque/Luc Robitaille role of the veteran whose
career won’t be complete without a Cup. No word yet if Oates
would pull a Bourque and take the Cup on parade through Philadelphia,
Washington, Boston, St. Louis and Detroit if he won.
think he’ll ever have the chance. INCH Prediction:
Devils in six.
the Cup Could Visit: Players who win the Stanley Cup
get a chance to spend a day with it sometime during the following
summer. Often that means the Cup finds its way to a college campus.
The Cup gets to go to some great places, and as
you can imagine, it’s treated like royalty wherever it goes.
But we’ve got a couple of road trips in mind, depending
on who wins it.
Keith Carney and Paul Kariya, a couple of former
Black Bears, could swing by Alfond Arena. And no visit to Orono
would be complete without giving the Cup a tour of Pat’s
Out West, Brian Rafalski should share the joys
of Madison, Wisc., with the Cup. If he and the Devils win it,
we’ll ask The Dean to save us a table at the Nitty Gritty.