<editorsnote> Nerds, meet my buddy Derek - I met him when I was professor for a day at CSF. Really rad dude, and he wants to come on board to help explain to us nerdy folk the wild world of sports. Smart dude, and knows his shizzy shiznat. I only have one more thing left to say ... HIT IT DEREK!!! </editorsnote>
It's nice to be here writing for all of you once again this week! Last week’s article was stuck in limbo as the NBA and NHL playoffs slowly developed towards their finals, but we have finally reached the climax of these epic stories. As I had planned from last week, today's post is going to be the wrap-up of the NHL playoffs which ended last night (Monday), and the introduction to the NBA championship series which begins tonight at 6pm/9pm PST/EST on ABC.
The NHL is known for it's never ending parity. As long as you get to the big dance, you have a great chance to make a deep run into the postseason. This has never been more true than this year when the eight seed and lowest ranked playoff team, the #Los Angeles Kings, made their seemingly impossible run into the #Stanley Cup championship series. Unfortunately for the Kings, this parity has never once favored them and their franchise is without a single NHL championship. Maybe their luck would change this year?
The first challenge that this team of destiny faced was the number 1 seed and highest ranked playoff team (by record) in the Vancouver Canucks. Vancouver entered that series as the obvious favorites, and left as the clearly overrated losers. There was hardly even a fight in the series as the Kings advanced by a 4-1 game lead (series was best of 7 games). The hockey world was left slightly stunned. They are used to seeing upsets, but any time a number one seed is beaten it is shocking.
The Kings advanced and their next opponent was the number 2 seed St. Louis Blues! Experts favored the higher seeded Blues, and they didn't believe there was a way these Kings could pull off a second upset. On the other side, the Kings were sitting in their locker room saying, if we can beat the one seed, we can definitely beat the two seed. The Kings could not of been more right. They swept the Blues by a series score of four games to zero, and actually improved on their spectacular showing in the opening series. At this point, nobody could deny that the Kings were a team of destiny.
The team that the Kings had to play for a spot in the Stanley Cup finals was the third seed Phoenix Coyotes. The Kings once again dismantled their opponents and didn't even allow the Coyotes a moment to breath. They beat them by a score of 4-1, and after game five the eight seed LA Kings walked into the Stanley Cup Final with ease. If you hadn't noticed to this point, the Kings were required to defeat the number one, two and three seeds in their league in order to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. Not only did they have the most difficult path possible, but they won with ease and never looked back.
Finally, after the dust settled and the majority of the battles had concluded, two teams remained. The eight seed LA Kings representing the Western Conference and the six seed New Jersey Devils representing the Eastern Conference. Amazingly, once again, the Kings didn't even blink! As I wrote in my previous post, they won games 1 and 2 by the same scores of 2-1 in OT. Then, as the Devils fought for their lives, the Kings crushed their hopes once again and defeated them by a huge score of four to zero.
Then, out of nowhere the Devils showed signs of life and won games 4 and 5 to put the series at three games to two. Then the Kings put a foot down and decided to stop messing around. Last night, to win the Stanley Cup, they defeated the Devils by a score of 6-1 and took the first ever Stanley Cup home to a great hockey city in LA. As a fan of all local teams it's really fun to see the Kings win it all, but it's even better to see the fans who have never been able to appreciated a championship finally reach the promise land. Congratulations to the LA Kings on their first ever Stanley Cup Championship!
For the entire playoffs the Kings went 16-4 and only lost on the road once. Congratulations to the Stanley Cup MVP for the Kings, Jonathan Quick! Their goalkeeper was absolutely spectacular all playoffs and he goes home as the best player in the series.
As one series ends, another begins. The NBA playoffs feel like they are damn near as long as the regular season is. All the way back at the beginning of the playoffs many experts chose the #Heat and the #Thunder to match-up in the NBA Finals, and for once the experts were right. Neither team had an easy road to the finals at all. The Thunder lost the first two games of their semifinal series against the #Spurs and it looked like they were going to fizzle out in the playoffs once again. That young energy proved to be impossible to match-up against in time, and after the Thunder took a punch to the face they got right back up and won four games in a row to punch their tickets to the NBA Finals.
The Heat had an even more difficult path to the finals. The veteran, experienced Boston Celtics are always a threat once the playoffs begin and that proved to be true once again. Even though it is obvious that the Heat have more pure talent, that wisdom of the Celtics was enough to counter that. The series was pushed all the way to a winner take all game seven, where the Heat prevailed in a game that really came down to the last few minutes.
This gave basketball fans everything they dreamed of. The two most exciting teams in the NBA have to be the Heat and Thunder. Both teams are insanely fast, talented and flashy; and that is exactly what basketball fans love to watch. The problem is, most of the team these flashy teams aren't actually good enough to make it to the finals. For once, that flash and swagger has produced not one, but two phenomenal teams that will now face off in a seven game series for the rights to say they are the best basketball team on the planet. May the best team win.
My prediction is going to be the Thunder in seven games. Both teams are so good that I don't see how it is possible to pick the series at anything less than seven games, and at that point it is basically a coin flip to determine who takes home the trophy.
Congratulations to the Stanley Cup MVP for the Kings, Jonathan Quick! Their goalkeeper was absolutely spectacular all playoffs and he goes home as the best player in the series.
Tweet me your picks @DerekJ_AllDay and I will get back to you. Thanks for reading!