2010 NHL Finals: Philadelphia Flyers- Chicago Blackhawks Sub-Stories
Every Stanley Cup Finals has its stories.
Rookies have led their teams to the Cup, a veteran has finally achieved his dream, and an overachieving team passed all speculation by making it to the Finals.
When it comes to the Flyers and the Blackhawks, there are no limits to the small stories that are sidelined by the David and Goliath matchup.
Here are a few story lines you can share over the water cooler during the next week or so.
Marian Hossa Making His Third Straight Finals
Now this has got to be scary.
I am starting to think there is a curse on the Hossa name, and that the only tournament trophy he will win is the Memorial Cup.
Don’t get me wrong, Hossa is an amazing player who has great skill, but this is his third year in the Finals with three different teams in three consecutive years.
In 2008, it was with the Penguins, when he was acquired via trade from Atlanta, held his own and proved to many that the high price the Penguins paid was well spent.
But the Pens could not hold off the gritty, powerhouse Detroit Red Wings.
In 2009, he passed on a large contract in Pittsburgh to go with league favorite Detroit. This was admirable, and low and behold he played in a rematch between the Penguins and Red Wings; except this time he was on the opposite side.
This time it was Sidney Crosby and company to raise Lord Stanley in a tense seven-game series.
Now it's 2010 and Hossa signed a 12-year contract proving he believes the Hawks are a contender for many years to come. What this series holds for Hossa and his postseason blues can only be answered by time.
Leighton To Be a Starter?
Brian Boucher has been seen practicing for the Flyers recently, which raises speculation on who will be the starter for the remainder of the playoffs.
Will Peter Laviolette call on Boucher when he is healthy or will Leighton finish off the amazing postseason he started against the Bruins and Habs?
Then another question, what will next season bring when Ray Emery returns back to action and they have the likes of Emery, Boucher and Leighton?
Either Laviolette will use the hot streak Leightonen has, sign him for a cheap contract, trade Boucher, or he will toss Leighton for a healthy Boucher and use him as a backup to Emery.
Will Daniel Briere Pay Off His Contract?
When Briere signed an eight-year, $52 million contract with the Flyers, many thought that his offensive spark would continue.
While Briere has been a contribution to his team’s playoff efforts, his overall production is subpar for the $6.5 million he's been paid this year. He was 26-27-53 in 75 games and was injured for all but 29 games last season.
One of the unsung heroes of the Philly/Montreal series, Briere has shown his scoring touch in the playoffs scoring nine goals throughout the playoffs, good for second in the playoffs.
This series he will have to step it up even more than before and show all Philly fans as to why he should be paid $8 million this year.
Olympic Teammates Face-off: Kieth, Seabrook, Toews v Richards, Pronger
As a Canadian, I have a few proud moments: the Canadian space arm, 2002 Olympic hockey games, Avril Lavine, etc.
But the 2010 Olympic gold medal hockey game was by far the most intense and unsurpassed game I have seen on the international stage since the Summit Series.
With former Canadian teammates Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews facing off against fellow Canadian Mike Richards to capture Lord Stanley's Cup, it will be interesting to see how they handle each other.
While I don’t expect to see daisies and kisses thrown each others way, I expect to see a distant respect for each other.
This is truly a Canadian affair, you might as well have two Canadian teams on the ice.
While a Canadian franchise may not be represented in the Finals, my cold-blooded brothers will be representing their country. With 20 Canadians that have played on the Chicago roster and 19 for Philadelphia this season, these teams have more Canadian passports than most teams in the NHL.
Either way this series turns out, be sure to mark a few days off this summer to visit either Winnipeg (Patrick Sharp, Toews, Kieth, Riley Cote), Gatineau (Briere) or Regina (Scott Hartnell).
Did you know Ray Emery is from Hamilton, I am kind of ashamed, yet surprised?
Sharp to Face His Old Team.
Patrick Sharp has had a scary start to his NHL career, but it was all smoothed out when he was traded to Chicago in the 2005-06 season. After that he has been a potent offensive force on a team of up- and-coming forwards and defensemen.
Often an unsung hero compared to Keith, Patrick Kane and Toews, Sharp proves to be a great second line scorer by opening gaps in opposing defenses and allowing his team many chances.
Oh yeah, guess who traded him? The Flyers may be looking back at this as a missed opportunity.
It may be possible that Sharp will take an extra step out with the first shift to prove to his old team why giving a player a second chance may be a smart idea.