Ahh, the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The cruel mistress that causes nothing but grief for Oilers fans after an abbreviated run last year. That doesn’t have to be the case. I am here to lend you some watching points to help bring you back to the NHL before the long summer ahead with no hockey.
The Vegas Golden Knight. The Oilers’ Pacific rivals (that we beat three out of four times this year) have blitzed the competition in the playoffs. Three losses in the entire playoffs thus far for a team that didn’t exist and every other joke that you could ever imagine about an expansion team going to the Cup Final. They feel like an underdog as a result of the expansion moniker, but they have refused to play like one up until now. With 109, the Golden Knights have blown through expectations, won divisional and conference championships throughout. If that’s not all enough to make you cheer for them, here is four more.
The taxi-cab coach
Gerard Gallant, the softspoken every man coach of the Golden Knights has taken a meteoric rise from that strange night on November 27th, 2016 when he was fired as head coach after a 11-10-1 start to the Panthers year. The now iconic scene of him being forced to take a taxi cab to the airport:
— Patrick Roy (@patrickroy22) May 22, 2018
This has become a beacon of hilarity in what was a bad day for the guy. He now sits four games away from his first Stanley Cup win as a coach. The man that led a group of expansion draft castoffs to immortality.
Former Oilers: Brad Hunt, David Perron, Griffin Reinhart (kinda)
Where the Capitals have strength in talent, the Knights have strength in numbers and talent. Brad Hunt spent a minute in the organization, before being let go to the greener pastures of the Chicago Wolves (and the St. Louis Blues) in free agency a year ago. Then there is
the worst trade in the history of bad trades and one of the most asinine things that our current sitting GM has ever done and should no longer have a job because of it and instead should be forced to sit in the purgatory of hockey life assistant GMing for some tier three British ice hockey league because that’s where bad GM go when they have no other options left Griffin Reinhart. The man you either love to hate or hate to love the move because defending it can be hard. He was worth a first and a second rounder just two short years ago. Now, he sits in Chicago with the Golden Knights farm team and watches as his big club runs amok. Finally, there is the short-lived Oiler, David Perron. He has been lending his talents to Southern Nevada for the whole season now. The last time we saw him in the Oil drop sweater was 2015, but everyone loves DP.
Touched the trophy
If you haven’t been around here (NHL fandom) long, welcome to the show, but also NHL players are super superstitious. The thought of touching any trophy (except for all the person trophies at the end of the year strangely enough) means you are given that trophy and what it stands for respect and caring. That’s stupid and bad. No one wants to win some trophy showing you were the best in your conference. You want to be the best of every conference. Right? Well:
There you go, those Capitals are happy being the best in the East. Boo Caps, boo.
Marc-Andre Fleury proving the doubters wrong –
His numbers speak for themselves.
Is Fleury guaranteed the Conn Smythe regardless of the outcome? ?
15-6, 1.62 gaa, .945 sv%, 5 so
12-3, 1.68 gaa, .947 sv%, 4 so pic.twitter.com/DUxxswIMU6
— Tim and Sid (@timandsid) May 21, 2018
Being mentioned in the same sentence as J-S Giguere’s 2003 Conn Smythe winning (after losing the finals) is praise enough. It’s not very hard to make the case that Fleury is already a shoe-in for the award, regardless of the result. He has absolutely shut the door on multiple teams again and again. He will now face one of the toughest offensive groups in the league led by Ovechkin. It will be exciting to see if Fleury can buck the moniker that he can’t perform in the clutch of the playoffs anymore.
Check out my bandwagon guide for the Washington Capitals that went up this morning.