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No rooting interest, but still rooting for 'The Game'

Tuesday, 05.25.2010 / 10:55 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

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No rooting interest, but still rooting for 'The Game'
Paul Kukla doesn't have a rooting interest in the Flyers or Blackhawks, so he'll be rooting for great hockey in the Final.
Many of you know I am a Detroit Red Wings fan, and that will never change. But that does not mean I cannot enjoy the hockey that is being played during the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

I can't be like a few of my friends who have stopped watching the playoffs since Detroit was eliminated by San Jose. I enjoy the game too much to just drop it like a hot potato and move on to something else. Besides, what else would I move on to?

I am really looking forward to the Stanley Cup Final and can't wait for the puck to drop Saturday night, just after 8 p.m. ET in Chicago. I am sure if you are a Philadelphia Flyers or Chicago Blackhawks fan, the days between now and Saturday are going to move awfully slowly for you.

 
But the buildup leading up to Saturday will be great. Of course, we will soon be reading about how much better Chicago or Philadelphia is better than the other city. Philly has the Rocky statue, The Windy City has the lakefront. Chicago has The Magnificent Mile, while Philadelphia has cheese steaks.

None of that will matter when the puck finally drops Saturday night. It will only be the on-ice competition we are really interested in. Chicago will be considered the favorite be many of the hockey experts, but who is to say the Flyers cannot pull off an upset and bring the Stanley Cup back to their fair city?

Both teams appear healthy and the break they will experience this week will only help heal all the minor injuries players may have kept hidden from us. The coaching and scouting staffs will have time to break down the video of their opposition and both teams will know the tendencies of every player.

By the time Saturday night rolls around, fans, players and coaches will be ready for what appears to be a great Stanley Cup Final. The play on the ice will determine the winner and honestly, I don't know which team to pick as the eventual champion.

My head tells me take Chicago, my heart says Philadelphia. Both teams can score a key goal when needed, but Chicago has more weapons to score with. Both teams can hold a lead, but Philadelphia still thinks offense more than Chicago does when protecting a lead, and that is a good thing. We have all witnessed our team go into a defensive shell, only to sit back too much thus allowing the opposition to get back into the game.

I won't go any further than this when breaking down each team. You will have numerous opportunities to find all the comparisons in the next few days. But even if you read all of those "team reports," your mind is probably made up by now and you know who you want to win the Cup.

My only suggestion to you is to look at the Stanley Cup Final in one-game increments. Move on after a win or loss and hope your team continues to win or improves after a loss. This is no time to reflect back on the game that was just played, just look forward to the next one.

Before you know it, an elimination game will be before you and the season will be on the line. How will it work out?

Chicago in seven, with the winning goal scored in the last three minutes of regulation. Also, look for a long overtime game during the Final and be prepared to lose some sleep.

Enjoy, watch and root for your team!

Questions, comments or rants, email me at pk@kuklaskorner.com or follow me on Twitter.


Quote of the Day

When we started our journey we made a commitment to our fans to be relevant and to see the Chicago Blackhawks become the best professional hockey organization. There are not two finer symbols of that than Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The commitment we have made to these incredible young men is equal to the commitment they have made to our team, our fans, our entire organization and the city of Chicago.

— Chicago Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz on signing Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane to contract extensions