2009 NHL Conference Finals: The Beginning of the End of Fun

Jason HitelmanCorrespondent IMay 28, 2009

DETROIT - JUNE 4:  Members of the Detroit Red Wings and the Pittsburgh Penguins shake hands following game six of the 2008 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Mellon Arena on June 4, 2008 in Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

That was just downright boring.

After two fantastic rounds, culminating with 3-of-4 series going to a seventh, deciding game, I guess I thought we'd be in for a treat.  This is what the hockey world was waiting for—two blockbuster Conference Finals, right?

Wrong.

So wrong, in fact, that I, a hockey-loyalist, through strikes and lockouts, sighed and grumbled with the prospect of watching Game Five of the Red Wings-Blackhawks series.

At least it went into overtime.

And Zetterberg's visible fear of the Campbell Trophy provided me with some entertainment.

I guess I should have known better.

The Penguins-Capitals Game Seven defined anticlimactic, I suppose it was just a foreshadowing of lopsided hockey to come.

I knew, going into the Semis, that the 'Hawks didn't have a shot—I was just hoping that they'd put up a bit of a fight.

Marty Havlat, the team's best regular-season scorer and a powerhouse this postseason, decided to stay off of his skates after Niklas Kronwall sent him to another galaxy.

Nikolai Khabibulin's injury opened the door for Cristobal Huet, a gentleman who has never won a playoff series.

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That's all she wrote.

Oh, and the Red Wings are a much more complete, well-seasoned team.

I really thought that the Carolina Hurricanes had a chance to advance; they looked a lot like a team of destiny.

With two upsets already behind them, why couldn't they notch another one?

Evgeni Malkin—that's why.

And so, the hockey fans that were waiting to watch exciting, competitive play got to see a four-game sweep and a five-game mismatch.

Lovely.

If that's not bad enough, after watching a full season and three rounds of playoffs after the last Stanley Cup Finals, nothing has changed.

"It's deja vu all over again."

Whatever happened to parity?

I wanted to see some new blood, not the same old Swedish faces.

Or more of Sidney Crosby's horrendous playoff beard.

On the brighter side of things, if Malkin scores some goals, I'll get to see his parents kiss each other—and strangers that are near them.

And witness the well-oiled hockey machine that is the Detroit Red Wings repeat as Stanley Cup Champions.

The Pens pushed it to six last year, and the pundits say, with both Geno and Crosby rolling, they have a legitimate shot.

I ask you, if the Red Wings win it in six or less, will those very same pundits be shocked?

Don't expect many exciting games, just be glad that you got to witness two rounds of hockey that were jam-packed with goals, greatness, upsets, and overall competitive nature.

And, if you're a Penguins fan, be happy that Sid and the boys paraded around with the Wales Trophy.

I'll reserve my joie-de-vivre for the Draft.