By Brian Monzo
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I am so sick of the ‘non’ NHL fan saying a sentence along these lines: ‘The NHL is going to love a Sharks-Lightning Final,’ sarcastically reminding us that there is no real history to those teams and no one will watch. For that just reason, I am announcing that tonight, I am a Tampa Bay Lightning fan.
If the Bruins, up 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Final against the Lightning, win tonight, Roberto Luongo will face Tim Thomas in the Stanley Cup Final.
It will be the battle of the two most overrated goalies in the league.
Sure the NHL loves their players, and for whatever reason, love to hype guys like Luongo and Thomas, but if the Lightning can pull off two wins in a row, they league will get to display some of their best talent in the league. Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman and the obvious likes of Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis doing battle against the Sedin twins, Ryan Kesler and Alex Burrows would make for a better Stanley Cup Final. Throw the Dwayne Roloson saga in the mix, and you have yourself a hell of Final.
The league got something they wished for when Vancouver eliminated the Sharks, propelling the best team in the regular season, not to mentioned a Canadian team, into the Finals. I will argue till the death that the NHL is becoming an American sport, but a buffoon could see why it is good for the sport to have a team from the Great White North in the Finals. I can blog about this on a quiet Summer day, but there is an argument that the American talent is growing better then the Canadian talent in the league. Something to think about.
Think about this – how sweet would it be for first year coach/general manager combo of Guy Boucher and Steve Yzerman to take a team that was drafting in the top 5 the last three seasons, and propel them into the Finals? That’s a story. That’s something people would want to see. No disrespect to the Bruins, that’s not what this is about. There is a load of history there. We know that. The fan knows that. Original 6, Bobby Orr, that guy named Bourque and more — but for now, please step aside, and let the fan see what the league should be about — and that’s displaying it’s amazing young talent. Stamkos and Hedman working for Stanley Cup. That’s what I want to see. The league should, and you should too.
Also, a win tonight will force a Game 7 to decide which team represents the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Final. What’s better than that?
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