As the NHL's postseason play heats up, many hockey fans are looking forward to the finals.
Countless fans of every team will cast their vote on who they think should, will, needs to, deserves to, or won't win Lord Stanley's Cup this year.
This season, hockey fans get the treat of having several championship caliber teams pitted against each other as they battle back and forth in an attempt to achieve hockey greatness for a year.
Sitting atop their respective divisions, the New York Rangers (Eastern Conference) and the Vancouver Canucks (Western Conference) are the on-paper favorites to be in the finals. Many a fan will dismiss this right off the bat based on their personal alliances, but rest assured that it would be a finals for the ages.
Both the Rangers and the Canucks have proven they are the best their respective conferences have to offer.
The Canucks are President's Cup Champions for the second year in a row, a title that would have been taken from them had the Rangers not lost their final two games of the regular season. (That's a storyline that is compelling in its own right.)
Both are championship-caliber teams. This statement should be met with little resistance. Anybody that thinks otherwise is either crazy or has information that the general public does not.
This being said, if these two clubs were to meet in the finals, hockey fans of all allegiances will be satisfied. That is, as long as you're not a fan of the losing team.
The above picture is a photo taken during the riots in Vancouver that ensued after the Canucks lost last year's finals to the Boston Bruins. The riots added insult to injury, leaving the city to have to deal with not only losing a shot at their first championship, but the fallout from a full scale riot as well.
Vancouver, the club and the city, would like to do everything in their power to not only seek redemption for their loss last season, but to avoid another full scale riot in their fair city. Who's to say that a finals victory won't lead to another riot, though?
The Rangers, on the other hand, haven't made it to the finals since they won it all in 1994. The team and its fans are desperate for another cup, and the team will be determined to grant them their wish and end this dry spell.
Granted, the Canucks have never won a cup, but you can't miss what you never had.
Joking aside, both teams will be determined to come away with a championship. This can only translate to great hockey for the fans.
This past season, the two clubs only played once, back in October when the Rangers won 4-0.
Despite this one meeting and what they've seen on TV and film, the two teams are alien to each other. This lack of history going into the finals allows one to create any scenario without much interference from what actually happened.
This also allows the teams to lay into fresh meat and create new enemies, an intriguing idea when looked at from the perspective of the fan.
Above all else, it's a matchup that will be new to most viewers. How the opposing offenses, defenses and coaching will play off of and work against each other would surely make this a memorable Stanley Cup Final.
With such a deep pool of talent between the two teams, no one can say that it's going to be a boring series.
Henrik Sedin is leading the league in assists with 67 and has a total of 81 points to his credit so far. His brother, Daniel, isn't doing too bad, either, with his 67 points, including 30 goals. Then you throw Alexandre Burrows into the mix, and you get another 52 points with 28 goals.
On the Rangers' side of the puck, Marian Gaborik has 41 goals on the season with 76 points. His 41 goals puts him at third in the NHL for that statistic. Couple him with Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan who, together, have over 100 points on the season, and you have two high powered offenses.
Nobody in their right mind would turn the channel on a high-speed shootout for the cup. That's what this matchup has the potential to be, and that's why this final would be an amazing thing to see.
Both teams have a certain something in their past that adds a special flavor to this matchup.
For the Rangers, they bring not only the storied history that makes up the club, but the fact that the last time they sat atop the Eastern Conference was in 1994. Coincidentally, 1994 was the last year the team won the cup.
For the Canucks, one only has to look back a season. This club went to the finals last season, but lost. Any team that makes it that far, only to lose, will be out for blood if they have another shot at taking it all. Add to the mix that the team has yet to hoist the cup, and there lies an interesting thought to chew on while waiting to see how the playoffs unfold.
Not saying that either of these things will impact the result for sure, but wouldn't the story for either side be great if either were to win?
EAT IT CROSBY!!!
Doesn't the title of the slide say it all?