2013 Stanley Cup Final: PHT staff picks
None of the six PHT staffers accurately predicted this year’s Stanley Cup Final.
Everybody -- Mike Halford, Jason Brough, Joe Yerdon, James O’Brien, Ryan Dadoun and Cam Tucker -- picked the Pittsburgh Penguins to win the Eastern Conference finals over the Boston Bruins which, as you may have heard, didn’t happen.
Things were a little better in the Western Conference.
Halford, Brough and Tucker all nailed the ‘Hawks over Kings -- though they all had them winning in seven games, not five -- bringing the overall postseason totals to...
Halford: 1-1 (4-0 in Round 2, 8-6 overall)
Brough: 1-1 (3-1 in Round 2, 11-3 overall)
Yerdon: 0-2 (3-1 in Round 2, 8-6 overall)
O’Brien: 0-2 (4-0 in Round 2, 10-4 overall)
Dadoun: 0-2 (3-1 in Round 2, 9-5 overall)
Tucker: 1-1 (4-0 in Round 2, 10-4 overall)
As for the commenters?
Buffalomafia, devilsarethebest, jhuck92, govtminion and hockeydon10 all deserve major credit for being the only people to pick the Bruins.
(Of course, nobody picked the B’s in four.)
But hey, that’s the past. Let’s move onto the future and take a look at PHT’s staff picks for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
Halford: ‘Hawks in 7
For the record, this pick featured more waffling than the Denny’s breakfast menu. I went with Chicago on PHT Extra, then started talking up the Bruins on NBC Radio, but am now going back to my original choice, Chicago. (I think.) No, definitely Chicago -- I like the fact the ‘Hawks have home-ice advantage (9-1 at the United Center this postseason) and some important scorers rounding into form. Patrick Kane in particular -- he has five points in his last four games, the same number of points he had over his previous 10 games.
Brough: Bruins in 6
I’m going to do what I should have done the previous two rounds, and that’s pick the Boston Bruins. Everyone knows about their defense and goaltending; that’s been talked to death. But the B’s are scoring, too, with 3.12 goals per game in the playoffs. I also have to wonder if this is going to be the series that Chicago gets exposed for having Michal Handzus as its second-line center. Maybe that’s unfair, since he’s been better than expected since coming over from San Jose. The importance of that second-line center role can’t be understated though, especially with the attention the Bruins will be paying Jonathan Toews.
Yerdon: Bruins in 6
It’s almost impossible to pick one team over the other but when you look at them, it’s the little differences that pile up. Tuukka Rask has been better than Corey Crawford. Patrice Bergeron makes for a slightly better second-line center than Michael Handzus. Brad Marchand is a more effective pest than Andrew Shaw. Throw in Zdeno Chara’s dominating presence and I think this is made for the Bruins to win. That said, I’ve been pretty bad at predictions in the playoffs so Chicago proving me completely wrong wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
O’Brien: ‘Hawks in 6
Joel Quenneville nailed it when he said this series is “good for hockey.” And not just because it features two big, history-rich markets. In this salary cap era, you won’t find many teams that are as balanced and skilled as the Blackhawks and Bruins. Both boast multiple scoring threats, Norris-quality top blueliners and underrated No. 1 goalies. Boston proved it could take down a star-studded team, yet Chicago didn’t deal with Pittsburgh’s roster instability and uncertainty. It’s a tough call, but the Blackhawks were easily the best team of the 2013 regular season, so they get the nod.
Dadoun: Bruins in 7
Really, you could go with either team and have just as much of a chance of being right. They both have star players with a proven track record of success in clutch situations while still sporting four strong lines. On top of that, nothing they’ve done this year is easily comparable because the condensed schedule has kept the East and West separate until now. That said, I like the Bruins shutdown defense, the consistency they’ve gotten out of David Krejci and Nathan Horton, and the fact that they’ve succeeded thus far without Tyler Seguin breaking out. He’s the best player on either team due for a hot streak.
Tucker: Bruins in 7
Last round, the Bruins once again demonstrated a naturally ability to shut down and frustrate the big guns -- in that case, it was Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Look for the Bruins to do the same to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane as this Stanley Cup series progresses. They’ve also shown an ability to wear down the opposition with that physical style and they’ll do the same thing in this series. Tuukka Rask has been exceptional in net, as has Corey Crawford. If Rask continues his form and outplays Crawford, the Blackhawks will run out of answers.