What The Cup Means To The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers

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What The Cup Means To The Chicago Blackhawks and Philadelphia Flyers
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

With the Stanley Cup Finals set for the 2010 season, it has come down to the Chicago Blackhawks of the Western Conference and the Philadelphia Flyers in the East.

Both teams have not visited Lord Stanley's Finals since the 1990's (Chicago in1992 and Philadephia in 1997), and have not won the prestigious Cup in much longer—1961 and 1975 respectively.

Both hockey clubs would love to end these streaks for their respective cities, as they are both hockey-craving enviroments that are sure to draw great ratings on television for the upcoming series.

What exactly is at stake for both teams?

 

Blackhawks

The Blackhawks are a team with a plethora of talent, combining a load of skilled players with unique physical play and finesse.

The Hawks have had masterful goaltending in Antti Niemi, and leadership from Canadian gold medalists Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith. They finished one point short of having the most points in the Western Conference, but they swept the team that eked them out (Sharks).

The Blackhawks can erase the longest drought in the league and culminate the worst-to-first magical story the team has been on in the last three or four years. It can also give Joel Quenneville the respect as a outstanding coach—as some thought before this season that he could not coach well in the playoffs.

There are no aging veterans that are in search of their first cup win on the team a la Ray Bourque, but they have players like Brent Seabrook and Keith who were there when the building was one third full, and can come full circle by hoisting the trophy.

 

 

 

Flyers

The Flyers are a team that has come from from the brink of elimination all season to get to the point that they are at currently.

Simply making the playoffs came down to the last day of the season, and a save by Brian Boucher in a shootout versus the Rangers gave them a shot. This is a franchise that has made the playoffs in 14 of the last 15 seasons, but they finally return to the finals after a thirteen year layoff.

Injuries also made many fans think there was no chance that the team could make a run in the playoffs, but a dominant showing against the Devils in the first round turned some heads. In the second round the team's amazing resiliency was shown with an unimaginable come back from a 3-0 hole to the Bruins.

In their victory over Montreal, third-string goalie Michael Leighton who started his career with the Blackhawks (in the lean years behind Jocelyn Thibault) reminded fans of the Bernie Parent days.

They have a coach that took over his position during the season, in Peter Laviolette, who hopes to continue this magical run. They too do not have the older player in search of their first cup victory; Kimmo Timonen, an assistant captain, may be the first to receive it after Captain Mike Richards, as Chris Pronger has already won it with Anaheim.

 

Expectations

It will be an exciting series between the first non-original six team to win the Stanley Cup and the Original Six team that hasn't won it in so long.

In thinking about the outcome of this tight series there are only two certainties: there will be a winner and a loser and the United and Wachovia Center's are going to be very very loud.

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