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Pang Breaks Down the Stanley Cup Finals

Friday, 05.28.2010 / 11:43 AM
By Darren Pang - St. Louis Blues Online / View from the Booth
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View from the Booth
Pang Breaks Down the Stanley Cup Finals
The Chicago Blackhawks will win the Stanley Cup, and I believe this is actually good for the St. Louis Blues.

Why is this good and why will they win?

About Panger
Darren Pang recently finished his first season as the Blues' TV color analyst, working alongside John Kelly in the booth. He also provides commentary for NBC and Canada's TSN network. Fans can follow him on Twitter @Panger40
It is important for our young core players to play against Stanley Cup Champs. They will see what it takes to win first hand. For six games next season, Blues players and management will be reminded that the Hawks won. It makes you want it SO bad yourself. It turns animosity into bitterness, then into jealousy and then finally into competitiveness. That's when you get a core group of players that either respond or wilt, and my money is on the Blues players responding, because they want it, too.

Here's why the Blackhawks are going to win it all: they have depth at the forward position and bring offense in waves.

1st Line: Dustin Byfuglien, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane
Big Buff will be a handful, even for the All-World Chris Pronger, to handle in front of the net. He is a distraction that has decent hands and has been much more disciplined of late.Toews is the best center in the NHL. If I start a team, I start it with him right now. Kane is a water bug. He makes plays and scares the daylights out of any “D” pairing.

2nd Line: Tomas Kopecky, Patrick Sharp, Marian Hossa
Sharp is the difference maker on this team when they need something special. The key shorthanded goal against Vancouver in Game 2 reeks of big moments. Hossa has lacked confidence and yet they are in the Finals. All he has to do is score early in series and look out. Somehow Kopecky has slid up the depth chart and has performed well with this line.

3rd line: Andrew Ladd, Dave Bolland, Kris Versteeg

This line will have their hands full checking the Mike Richards line of Philadelphia, but Bolland has proven to be not only a pain in the neck for all the top players he faces (just ask Daniel Sedin and Joe Thornton), but he can also make a play. He has hockey sense. Versteeg has a lethal wrist shot and battles for pucks while Ladd gets to the front of the net, plays hard and can be a physical force. Plus, Ladd won a Cup with Carolina in 2006, also with current Flyers Head Coach Peter Laviolette.

The Hawks also have depth role players in Ben Eager, John Madden, Adam Burish and Troy Brouwer.

I also like their Top 2 pairings on the blueline with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, and while Nik Hjalmarsson and Brian Campbell have improved their play with each series, the unheralded play of veteran Brent Sopel has been the biggest surprise as far as I’m concerned.

The goalie, Anti Niemi, has been terrific. Although he looks like a goalie that has very little technique, he has great battle. He doesn’t get down, he comes back strong after bad games and goals against and his legs are excellent down low, post to post. Look for Philly to “buzz his ears” with shots up high.

Joel Quennville is just a darn good coach. Period. This will be a very competitive battle behind the bench as Laviolette is so good at in-game adjustments and emotion and passion behind the bench.

But still, I say Hawks in 6 games.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
A. Steen 68 33 29 17 62
T. Oshie 79 21 39 19 60
D. Backes 74 27 30 14 57
J. Schwartz 80 25 31 28 56
A. Pietrangelo 81 8 43 20 51
K. Shattenkirk 81 10 35 1 45
V. Tarasenko 64 21 22 20 43
D. Roy 75 9 28 -1 37
J. Bouwmeester 82 4 33 26 37
V. Sobotka 61 9 24 14 33
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 18 6 2 .922 1.96
R. Miller 25 30 4 .918 2.64

 
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