Thursday, June 07, 2007

Quacking up!!

OK - tell me you watched last night???

Tell me you saw Scott Niedermayer pass the Stanley Cup to his brother Rob? Every kid that plays this game and has a sibling doing the same dreams of that moment.

Tell me you saw Teemu Selanne crying with his wife on the bench embracing after he realized his dream? A kid from Finland - where they dream of winning Olympic medals first and foremost, raising the cup over his head with a smile wider than the Pacific Ocean.

Tell me you saw the Cup skated around the rink and you don't realize why this is the GREATEST trophy in sports.

Scott Niedermayer was the only Duck to have won before so it was great to watch all the newbies with the trophy. By the way, great story on on the brothers with the cup.

As my loyal readers know, I picked the Ducks to win the cup in August. I put some money down in Vegas and it came in nicely. I then picked the Ducks to win the series in five against Ottawa - heck, I even called scores for most of the series and described the games. No, I don't have any mighty powers that gave me the vision to see the future. I did have the vision to see one thing - Brian Burke built a team based on goaltending, defense, speed and strength. And they were too big, too strong and too much for Ottawa's finesse team.

Burke is a brash man with incredible vision. I can tell you that he went into the 1999 NHL Draft with Vancouver with a few picks and he was brash enough to tell all his fellow General Managers that he was "the only one who was going to walk out of the draft with the Sedin twins." Know what - he was right. He was the only one with enough players and picks and the smarts to get the deal done with the Edmonton Oilers for Chris Pronger. Heck he stole Francois Beauchemin from Columbus (and don't think Beauchemin won't thank him forever for getting him out!).
Asst. General Manager David McNab found college kids along the way like Andy MacDonald and Dustin Penner and thus a solid Cup contender was born.

Oh by the way, how the hockey world could have been different. The three finalist for the Atlanta Thrashers GM job - Don Waddell, Dallas' Les Jackson and Burke.

Obviously you need breaks along the way and the Ducks got most of them. Twice they had to play without Chris Pronger due to suspension and they won both of those games. They have never lost a Stanley Cup Finals game at home and they clinched every series this year at home.

Now Burke will be the first to say that his predecessor, Bryan Murray, left him an incredible team when he went to Ottawa. If you saw Murray's post game interview, he knew that he got beat by his own team after waiting his whole career to get to the finals. Sorta unfair.

As great as it was to see the Ducks win, I felt bad for Murray. One of the class acts in the sport and when his own team knocked a puck in their own net they cut to Murray and it was if he was going to start laughing because he couldn't believe what he saw. Hopefully he will have another kick at the can, but if he doesn't bring a tougher, more physical team ... the same result will happen.

And by the way, I keep hearing folks talking about the rest hurt Ottawa and that a bunch of them were hurt. Last night, Scott Niedermayer won the Conn Smythe trophy, played a ridiculous amount of minutes throughout the playoffs and did it all with supposed hairline fracture in his foot. Odds are he had one for a while and it looked like it hurt him at times ... but hey, somehow he got through it. Why now in losing to I have to hear from the Canadian writers about injuries to their team. Heck - last night, Pronger separated his shoulder DURING THE GAME and he came back to play well in the second and third periods. It's the playoffs, everyone is hurt and banged up. Get over it.

Sorta like I have to get over the fact that the season is over... have to wait till September to see more hockey... ughhhhh!

For the best coverage of the cup post game - TSN.CA and ESPN.COM

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