We are approaching mid-May and the Stanley Cup playoffs are heating up. The Conference Finals are set to begin on Thursday with Ottawa visiting Buffalo in the East followed by the Ducks battling the Red Wings in Detroit on Friday. Although saddened by the Rangers getting ousted by the Sabres in six games, Buffalo showed me why they were the best team in the regular season. I must say that I am not too surprised with the finals match-ups as all four teams truly deserve to be where they are at this point in the season.
For all of us Coyotes fans, we’ve seen the Anaheim Ducks eight times this past year and know what a force they can be, especially with those two guys along the blueline, I think their names are Pronger and Neidermayer; they’re pretty good. Teemu Selanne, Andy McDonald, Chris Kunitz, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf upfront equal one word – scary.
The speed and youth of Anaheim will prevail against a Detroit team that, although put up the most points in the Western Conference in the regular season, is still in a transition mode from losing Steve Yzerman, Brendan Shanahan, Brett Hull and Sergei Fedorov. I don’t think they have enough to get past the Ducks, who have all the components you need when it comes to winning a championship. My take: Ducks in six.
Moving to the Eastern Conference, I learned just how good the Buffalo Sabres are in their series versus the New York Rangers. They roll four lines and have a player on their team that might be as clutch as we’ve ever seen in Chris Drury. Already a Stanley Cup winner with the Avalanche in 2001, Drury is the captain of this Sabres team, which features tons of speed, skill, grit and are backstopped by a goaltender in Ryan Miller, who is an absolute brick wall in net. He burst onto the scene a year ago and his star is shining bright in Buffalo. A hot goaltender can take you a long way in the playoffs and Miller, along with an extremely talented team, will once again prevail over the Ottawa Senators. Last year the Sabres defeated Ottawa in the second round in five games, this season it will take Buffalo seven to advance.
I’m really looking forward to the Conference Finals, I think it should be a wild ride, however, right now I’m thinking about another sport. No not baseball and Roger Clemens signing a 28-million dollar deal with the Yankees. I’m thinking about lacrosse. That’s right, I said it, lacrosse. In case you weren’t aware, the Arizona Sting are in the National Lacrosse League finals and are playing for the Champion’s Cup this Saturday. This is their second trip to the finals in three years and they have learned a lot from their first experience in 2005.
Arizona forward “Dangerous” Dan Dawson is as good as they come. He was the second leading scorer in the NLL this season with 107-points, second only to John Grant’s 111-points with the Rochester Knighthawks, the same team the Sting will battle on Saturday. What a match-up this will be: Grant versus Dawson, Sting versus the Knighthawks, I am really looking forward to it. If you have never been to a lacrosse game, this is the game to be at. So get off the couch and come see a sport with the physicality of hockey, the up-tempo pace of basketball and enough “oohs” and “aahs” to last you until October when the Coyotes lace up the skates for opening night. Oh by the way, you can hear me call all of Saturday’s exciting action live on THE FAN AM 1060!