Colgate Around the Hill: Stanley Cup Questions

By Christian Long

Class of 2013

The NHL has seen a very competi­tive regular season thus far, resulting in an extremely tight playoff race amongst both conferences. Despite the consen­sus of the Western Conference being a bit tighter and more competitive top-to-bottom than the Eastern Conference, I am going to say that the Stanley Cup winner will be the Eastern Conference’s Boston Bruins.

With some very strong moves towards the trade deadline that included the ac­quisition of a top-two defenseman in To­mas Kaberle, the Bruins have been hot as of late; they recently completed a 6-0 road trip, the first seen in the NHL since 1983. Despite the loss of top playmaking center Marc Savard for the rest of the sea­son, due to a concussion, young forwards have stepped up to lead the Bruins. Their improved play, along with potential Vezina Winning goaltender (and former Vezina Winner) Tim Thomas, makes the Bruins tough to beat.

I would look for the team to stay hot and use their strong physical presence, along with strong defensive outputs ev­ery evening, to take them all the way to the Finals. I believe that Boston will be victorious and, ultimately, will hoist the cup after a great finals and tight season.

By Adam Settle

Maroon-News Staff

Last year, the Philadelphia Flyers were two games away from winning the Stanley Cup with a currently unemployed goal­tender and only four legitimate defense­men on the team. Flash-forward to today, and the Flyers are sporting two top-10 goaltenders in veteran Brian Boucher and newcomer Sergei Bobrovsky to go with a rock solid defensive core led by bad boy Chris Pronger and the Finnish flyer Kimmo Timonen.

Not only have the Flyers retooled their half of the ice, but the Orange and Black are also the deepest team at forward, with scoring coming from everyone on the ice. That was before the Flyers even added former Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg from Toronto before the trade deadline. Captain Mike Richards reminds Philly fateful of the great Bobby Clarke, and the magician Claude Giroux wields his blade like an extension of his arm. Oh yeah, and that does not even include last year’s leading scorer Jeff Carter and the walking two points of Daniel Briere. The Penguins are banged up, the Lightning are too young, the Red Wings have goalie concerns heading into the second season and the Canucks have yet to show they can play under the bright lights.

At this point, the Flyers can win whenever they feel like play­ing up to their competition, and with the team in hot pursuit (cruising, really) to a number one seed they may be fully rested and ready for anoth­er deep playoff run. The only differ­ence is that this time, with their im­proved roster and level of play, they are going to win it all.

By Jordan Plaut

National Sports Editor

While both the Eastern and Western Conferences have been extremely com­petitive this season, the level of play in the West clearly exceeds that of the East. One of the teams that has steadily emerged from the daily, bloody battles is the San Jose Sharks.

For the past few years, the Sharks have dominated their conference dur­ing the regular season, rising above the likes of Chicago and Detroit. However, inevitably, they always seem to choke in the playoffs. Up until last year they had consistently failed to even win a playoff series. Their rise to the confer­ence finals, before defeat at the hands of the Blackhawks, showed that the Sharks were finally ready to take the next step. This year, the steady epic­ness of Thornton, Marleau and Heatley was thwarted early, leading to unchar­acteristic struggles for the Sharks. How­ever, San Jose has charged back into contention by winning 13 of their last 15 thanks to improved play from the front line as well as likely Calder Tro­phy winner Logan Couture. The rookie has played exceptionally well all season and, with the formidable Antti Niemi in goal, the Sharks have surged into the company of Detroit and Vancouver.

If the Sharks stay in their current po­sition in the West, they could be more relaxed heading into the playoffs than in past years. Without the pressure of be­ing number one, the Sharks might just ascend to the top when it matters most.

By Rebecca Silberman

Maroon-News Staff

So far this season, the Boston Bru­ins have looked wicked good and are mad poised to take the Stanley Cup. The team has only just returned from a freakishly dominating 6-0 streak on the road, which they ended by trounc­ing the Senators 1-0, and has that I’m-going-to-win-and-I-dare-anyone-to-try-and-stop-me swagger in their stride. In the Ottawa game, Tuukka Rask made 33 saves, earning his second shutout, as the team matched a franchise-high win streak last achieved in 1971-72. Since we now have to compare this team to a roster with names like Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito, I’m thinking this road trip was a good omen for the rest of the Bruins’ season.

Also, with 81 points so far, the team has a commanding lead in the Northeast. All in all, it looks like this year’s Stanley Cup is going to go to Boston. Assum­ing, that is, that the Ottawa Senators are unable to bounce back from their latest loss and their last place standing in the Eastern Conference (only second to last in the League though, keep trying Ed­monton), to take it all. Hey, anything is possible.