If you have been reading the blog throughout the playoffs you are not suprised the Ducks are Stanley Cup champions. They had the deepest, most well rounded team in the NHL and showed their mettle by beating Ottawa in 5 games. It's the first time a team from California has won the Stanley Cup and try this on for size...the last 3 cup winners are Tampa Bay, Carolina and Anaheim! The folks north of the border and in the northeast are in disbelief. Also interesting is the fact that besides captain Scott Niedermayer no other Anaheim player had won the cup before.
Anaheim combines super drafting in recent years with hall of fame caliber veterans. Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger and Teemu Selanne teamed up with Andy McDonald, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Dustin Penner to lead the SoCal charge. JS Giguere was solid throughout the cup run and is now an unrestricted free agent. Think earned him self a few bucks? A big congrats goes out to original Panther Rob Niedermayer. After coming up short with the Cats back in 96 Robbie cashed in this season. Adding to the win was his teaming up with brother Scott. Rob is one of the all time good guys and it's great to see him get is name on the big trophy. If you subscribe to the theory good things happen to good people you have just witnessed a case of it.
Ottawa , meanwhile, had a great playoff run but were simply outplayed in every facet of the game. The biggest key in my mind though was Anaheim's physical domination. I thought the Sens could not match the Ducks toughness. Nearly equally to blame was the lack of production and good play from the Senators biggest stars. Not only did Dany Heatley, Daniel Alfredsonn and Jason Spezza not score enough, they did not play well enough overall. Give Anaheim some credit for that though.
The focus now turns to the draft, trades and free agency. The 2007 off-season is here and with the Ducks winning the cup it is easy to see this time of year is ultra important. The Panthers will be busy signing their own players, a few other teams' players and trying to hit in the draft with 3 picks in 1st 2 rounds. The blog never sleeps so keep on coming back all summer long. The 06-07 season is done...just 4 months until the opener and I can't wait!