Blues Broadcasters Make Finals Predictions

John Kelly, Chris Kerber weigh in on Red Wings-Penguins rematch

Saturday, 05.30.2009 / 11:13 AM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
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Blues Broadcasters Make Finals Predictions
Blues broadcasters John Kelly (TV play-by-play) and Chris Kerber (radio play-by-play) took time recently to give their thoughts on this year's Stanley Cup Finals, which pits the Detroit Red Wings against the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second consecutive year. It marks the first time in 25 years that two clubs have met for the Stanley Cup in consecutive seasons.

John Kelly
Why the Red Wings Will Win

For the first time since the Oilers met the Islanders in 1983-84, we have a rematch in the Stanley Cup Final. In case you have forgotten, the veteran Islanders won four straight Stanley Cups until that rematch in '84, where this time, the young and talented Oilers were too much for them.

The situation is fairly similar this year considering we have a very young and talented Pittsburgh team led by superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin against a Detroit club that has won four Cups since 1997. However, the difference between the 2009 Red Wings and that Islanders' dynasty is that this Red Wings team has rebuilt on the fly and is still in its prime.  With players like Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, the Wings aren't an old team. And with youngsters like forwards Darren Helm and Ville Leino and defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Jonathon Ericsson, the Wings have plenty of young, hungry talent. 
For those reasons, I think the Wings will prevail in seven games, but it won't be easy. I think the unknown factors in the series are the key injuries the Wings have suffered in these playoffs. If defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom and the aforementioned Datsyuk either can't play or are limited in their effectiveness because of injury, the advantage will shift to the Penguins. And like any playoff series, goaltending is always critical. Based on the regular season you'd be inclined to give the Penguins the edge in goal with Marc-Andre Fleury over Chris Osgood, who had a very inconsistent regular season. But in the playoffs, the three-time Cup-winner Osgood has picked up his game and hasn't hurt the Wings at all.
As much as is pains me to say, I think the Wings are the better team and will most likely win their 12th Cup in their 83-year history. However, if injuries and/or average goaltending affect the Wings this young Pittsburgh team will win it all for the first time since 1992.

Either way this should a great series and hockey fans will be the true winners.
  Chris Kerber
Why the Penguins Could Win

Predictions are useless in my opinion because once you make them, there is no accountability if you’re wrong. I’d rather break down reasons why one team can win a series and let you guess who will win.

The stars are better aligned for the Penguins this season. However, astrology aside, the Penguins still have to beat the Detroit Red Wings. The old adage is, “To be the man you have to beat the man,” and make no mistake, the Red Wings are “The Man” in the NHL. They are the defending champions and Lidstrom, Holmstrom, Draper, McCarty, and Maltby are striving for their fifth championship. Common sense should tell us they are the favorite until they are defeated. They have built, rebuilt, aged, added, subtracted, and changed coaches. The result? They still win.

But back to what's important: Pittsburgh can win this series.

The Penguins have a better understanding of what it will take, much like Gretzky and Messier did in facing the Islanders in back-to-back Stanley Cup Finals, losing the first and winning the second.

Malkin is a huge key. His Conference Finals were fantastic and he makes it impossible for Detroit to focus just on Crosby. The Penguins are more balanced with three solid lines for these finals.

The Blackhawks forced three OT games against Detroit with physical play that left key Red Wings injured by the end of the series. The Penguins can do the same. Orpik and Gill have the ability to punish Detroit forwards and they will need to do so. They will be more successful than Chicago if they can be physical and disciplined and stay out of the penalty box.

Pittsburgh has to come out of the gate hard and physical. The NBC-dictated schedule will force a beat up Detroit team to play three games in four nights, and four in seven if you count Game 5 of the Conference Finals. Pittsburgh’s youth can be an advantage here.

The Penguins are a healthier team. The hard early schedule and better health is an advantage for the Penguins.


Click here for the Stanley Cup Finals schedule and broadcast information. Please note that all times listed are Eastern.




1 z - ANA 82 51 24 7 228 221 109
2 y - STL 82 51 24 7 239 197 109
3 x - NSH 82 47 25 10 226 202 104
4 x - CHI 82 48 28 6 220 186 102
5 x - VAN 82 48 29 5 236 220 101
6 x - MIN 82 46 28 8 227 198 100
7 x - WPG 82 43 26 13 223 204 99
8 x - CGY 82 45 30 7 237 213 97
9 LAK 82 40 27 15 218 197 95
10 DAL 82 41 31 10 257 257 92
11 COL 82 39 31 12 209 223 90
12 SJS 82 40 33 9 224 226 89
13 EDM 82 24 44 14 193 276 62
14 ARI 82 24 50 8 165 267 56


V. Tarasenko 77 37 36 27 73
A. Steen 74 24 40 8 64
J. Schwartz 75 28 35 13 63
D. Backes 80 26 32 7 58
T. Oshie 72 19 36 17 55
P. Stastny 74 16 30 5 46
A. Pietrangelo 81 7 39 -2 46
J. Lehtera 75 14 30 21 44
K. Shattenkirk 56 8 36 19 44
P. Berglund 77 12 15 -2 27
B. Elliott 26 14 3 .917 2.26
J. Allen 22 7 4 .913 2.28

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