Jun 8, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Members of the Chicago Blackhawks pose for a photo with the Western Conference championship trophy with NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly after game five of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. The Blackhawks won 4-3 to win the series four games to one. Mandatory Credit: Scott Stewart-USA TODAY Sports
Middletown, N. J. – If you have never watched NHL hockey before there is never going to be a better opportunity than to jump on the bandwagon and start immediately following the greatest game in the world.
The spectacle that is the NHL playoffs never ceases to amaze the hardcore fan but every year even attracts the casual and never was. In a post-lockout shortened season, this has truly held true this season. Attendance and TV ratings are up as fans came back in droves, surprising even the most skeptical that thought it would be a long road back for the league in repairing its image (yes, admittedly, I was one of those).
An original six matchup awaits us in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time since 1979 as the Chicago Blackhawks eliminated the defending champion Los Angeles Kings last night at United Center to win its third round playoff series in five games. They will take on the Boston Bruins beginning Wednesday night in Chicago as the Hawks go for their second championship in four years.
Another report card awaits you today for Travis Hamonic followed by a great piece by our staff writer Eric Bordin on celebrity rooting interests. Next up in our off-season tour of the Fansided network is another cross town rival, the New Jersey Devils.
- Fan appreciation giveaway (EyesOnIsles)
- Summer suggested reading guide (EyesOnIsles)
- Our summer report card grades Michael Grabner (EyesOnIsles)
- Off-season Q&A takes a look at our NHL site, Too Many Men On The Site (EyesOnIsles)
- Why Stephen Weiss has Garth Snow written on his forehead (Islanders Optimism)
- Could this be preceding an early move to Barclays? (IPB)
- Not to please the hardore fan but the revenue stream, is a change to black in Isles future? (IPB)
Around The Twitter-Sphere
- Eric Hornick, the best statistician in the business, reminds us just how dominating our early 80s dynasty was. If you want your Isles stat fix, there is no better follow on Twitter.
- John is a respected, proven and credentialed member of the hockey media so this could have some legs. Scuderi is a Long Island native and might be coming home to help the Isles get to where the Kings are.
- Nice reminder to all those complaining about potential changes to the way the business is run ,especially color schemes. This is ALL about making money and increasing the revenue stream. I truly have renewed faith in management and know that once that happens, they will spend on players.
- Anna points out one of the factors that makes the NHL playoffs what they have become – the greatest championship tournament in sports. Seven grueling games between two adversaries who battle for 60 (sometimes more) frenetic minutes. There is no way this series IS NOT awesome! Everyone, regardless of rooting interest, needs to tune in.
Around The NHL
- Patrick Kane commented after game two of the Western conference finals that he had to step up his game in response to criticism about his lack of production. Well he did in a big way. A huge tying goal that led to a game four win and a hat trick in last night’s game five sends the Chicago Blackhawks back to the Stanley Cup finals. A marvelous game played by both teams showed off the league’s outstanding quality as the Kings fought back to tie the contest with just 9 seconds remaining in the third period and Jonathan Quick pulled for an extra attacker. But Chicago would not be denied on this night the chance to clinch in front of their home fans. A great defensive zone chip by Bryan Bickell led to a two on one heading the other way in double overtime and Jonathan Toews slid a sublime pass that Kane one timed past a helpless Quick. Some would argue that the soft goals Quick allowed in the series final two games (to Bickell and Duncan Keith) were too much for the Kings to overcome but I would counter by pointing out that Los Angeles would not have even been close to a return trip to the finals without him. My hats off to the now former champs for a great season and playoff and congratulations to the Blackhawks and the great city of Chicago. It is going to be an epic championship series between Chicago and Boston.
The three amigos post-game
Look for our Stanley Cup preview on Tuesday. It has been well documented that I have followed the Blackhawks as my secondary rooting interest since they drafted Patrick Kane in 2007 and I know and interact with many great fans on both sides of the spectrum so I am kind of in a no win situation. What I can promise is that I will look at the series objectively and give my opinion and prediction. Nothing personal. ?