Thoughts on Balls
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The Chicago Blackhawks

 

First, let me get something out of the way.  I am neither a Blackhawks fan, nor a Flyers fan.  This is an unbiased account/observational viewpoint of the NHL and why I think Chicago will win.

 To sum it up, diversity and depth.

 The Flyers are a strong team.  Much stronger than their seeding would indicate.  They have amazing offense with guys like Richards, Gagne and Carter.  They have blueline skill with guys like Pronger and Leino.  They are tough (if not retarded) with guys like Asham, Lappy and Carcillo.  Their only weak spot is in net.

 Hmmm their only weak spot is in net.  Where have I heard that before?  Ahh yes, the Blackhawks.  Coming into the postseason, the only knock on this young team was the keeper position.  Notice how I said "young" there?  That's because they are a young team and one of the knocks last season, was their youth.  With a year of playoff experience under their belts and everyone a year old (and wiser), this team had it all; except an elite keeper.

 Niemi has essentially proved that he (and the team) doesn't give a rat's behind what you think about their goalie situation.  That topic aside, let's get back to the reason why they are going to win.

 No offense to Nashville fans, but I am going to skip that series.  Nobody really thought you were going to win.  Against Vancouver, Chicago didn't have the speed it was said.  Yes, they had Kane, Hossa and Toews... but who else?  Take a look at the lineup of the Sedins, Kesler, Burrows, Grabner, Raymond, Wellwood, etc... all have speed and hands.  They were supposed to dangle around Chicago and beat their weak goalie.  What did Chicago do?  They used size and strength to shut them down.  Vancouver had no answer for Big Buff.  Chicago threw grinders at them every shift almost.  Guys like Bickell and Eager got way more ice time and shut everyone down.  Vancouver got frustrated and stop skating.  Some will blast Luongo for not stealing a game or two, but lets face it.  Everyone on the team sucked.  Everyone on Chicago flourished.

Flash forward to the San Jose series.  This series was a masterpiece for Chicago.  They used BOTH size and speed.  Their offense was clicking.  Their big guys were shutting San Jose down.  Heatley was a non-factor (although he was for most of the playoffs).  Pavelski (who had been on a tear) suddenly turned ice cold.  Rumblings out of San Jose after this massive beating, have the team dropping one of the best goalies in the league (Nabokov) because of another post season collapse.  Again, let's face it.  Chicago outplayed them in every facet of the game.  Nabby was not even close to the main reason for this series loss.

 Chicago is simply deeper and more talented than Philly.  They have more offensive depth.  They have a better blueline.  They both have grinders and both have questionable goaltending.  At best, that puts the advantage for Chicago in two categories, tied at two.  Philly has tougher players perhaps, but that alone isn't gonna bring home Lord Stanley.

 

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