North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

"Redneck Hockey" – sign seen at Game Seven

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As far as Game 7’s go, it was nothing special. It didn’t have huge amounts of drama attached to it (1985 Smythe Finals: Edmonton vs Calgary), it wasn’t especially exciting (1985 Adams Final: Quebec vs Montreal) and it didn’t have even have anything that will endure it to showings on ESPN Classic (1993 Western Semi-Finals: Toronto vs LA Kings)… But it was a good game, by modern day NHL Standards, which I guess counts for something.

And it sets up the first WHA-team NHL finals – the former Hartford Whalers (now the Carolina Hurricanes) vs the only team still playing in it’s WHA home, the Edmonton Oilers. It’s a series that pits two of the smallest NHL markets against each other, and will surely be the most profitable Stanley Cup to date – right?

Why couldn’t the NHL have rigged the playoffs? They – if you believe the ugly rumors, anyway – rigged the Western Finals, when Kerry Fraser (under orders from the NHL brass not to have an all-Canadian Finals) overlooked a horrific Wayne Gretzky high stick; or when the Smoking Man manned the Video Replay booth in 1999 and let a goal count despite the fact that Brett Hull was clearly violating a rule that was both pointless and revoked the nest year.

Right – so why not rig it this year? They want people to get into the NHL, so why not have a team that has a following in? Do you know a Carolina fan (who isn’t a bandwagon jumper)? Or someone who says “Yes, I cheer for the Edmonton Oilers and I have every year, including the ones where we sucked really bad or managed to blow playoff series’ to Calgary, New York or Dallas!”

I don’t. And I’m not so sure I’ll watch this final series either. (Okay, that’s a lie – I’ll watch game four on; but if there’s a NBA Finals game on, it’s getting preferred treatment).

My prediction: Carolina, just because I refuse to type the words “Mike Peca, Stanley Cup MVP candidate” at any point ever again.

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Written by M.

June 1, 2006 at 10:36 pm

Posted in Hockey, nhl, playoffs

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