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2010 Stanley Cup Finals: PHT's finals predictions

May 28, 2010, 3:13 PM EST

Everyone has their predictions for the Stanley Cup finals, where they
try and determine which team will win and in how many games. You’ll see
plenty of that tonight and especially tomorrow as we gear up for Game
1.

We here at Pro Hockey Talk decided to take things a bit further,
predicting not only the winner of the series but also a number of other
topics as well. Once again, I’m sure than I will get none of these
right.

Best goaltender:

James: Antti Niemi - It doesn’t really matter
which goalie is better, in the grand scheme of things, because the team
effect will make all the difference in this one. Michael Leighton will
deal with such a barrage that Niemi will look better. That’s all that
really matters.

Joe: Michael Leighton – I don’t believe that Antti
Niemi will be counted on to save the Blackhawks’ skin at all and while
what I believe the end results will make it seem like Niemi was the
star, Leighton is the guy that’s going to have to look the part, lest
his team lose by five goals a night.

Brandon: Michael
Leighton
– I think that both goaltenders will look great, but I just
have this feeling that Leighton will get more chances to show his
ability. Niemi will be solid, but Leighton is going to have a lot more
pucks to stop. He’s also the more athletic of the two, so while Niemi
will be solid Leighton will have more “wow”.

Biggest difference-maker:

James: Chris Pronger – Not necessarily a bold opinion,
but I think the gap-toothed elbow thrower can help the Flyers maintain
some dignity. Will he make enough of a “difference” for them to win the
series, though? Well, no …

Joe: Dave Bolland – He may not show up on the stat
sheet at all times with goals or assists but “The Dirty Rat” is the guy
doing everything else out there so Kane, Toews, Sharp, and Hossa can all
get free.

Brandon: Jonathan Toews - He’s been the
best player in the playoffs so far and I don’t see how that changes.
Despite the great depth of the Blackhawks, I doubt Chicago will have a
very easy time against the Flyers unless Toews continues to play at such
a high level.

Unsung hero of the Cup finals:

James: John Madden – He’s a great penalty killer but
has a Mike Grier-like deficiency when it comes to cashing in on the
many breakaways he creates. His lack of scoring will keep him from
drawing much praise, but he can do just about everything else.

Joe: Jordan Hendry - I’m sure you’re asking yourself,
“Who the heck is Jordan Hendry?” Hendry is basically Chicago’s sixth
defenseman and while he’s not getting a ton of minutes (Average time on
ice 8:15) or playing all that well (he’s a team low -4) he is allowing
Dustin Byfuglien to both be a forward and wreak havoc on everyone else’s
defensemen.

Brandon: Claude Giroux – The man has come alive in
the postseason and if the Flyers have any hope of knocking off the
Blackhawks he’ll have to continue being hot. He’s allowed the Flyers to
use two productive and effective scoring lines in the playoffs,
something this team will desperately need in the finals.

Storyline no one is talking about:

James: How about Joe Quenneville possibly breaking the great
drought of Cup winning coaches with awesome mustaches? It’s been too
long since Ken Hitchock represented the ‘stache.

Joe: The emergence of Claude Giroux. In the playoffs, he’s
scored at a point per game pace (8 goals, 9 assists in 17 games) and has
exploded on the scene as a top six forward on a team top-heavy in
scoring talent. While Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Danny Briere are
going to get the headlines, Giroux is the guy flying under the radar.
For the Flyers, his emergence has spurred them on to the Finals.

Brandon:
How another mid-season replacement coach can win the Stanley Cup. Last
year, Dan Bylsma took over the Penguins, turned the team around and took
them all the way to the Stanley Cup. Now, we have Peter Laviolette, who
took the Flyers after a horrible start to the season and while the
Flyers barely made the playoffs, he’s given this team all of the hope
and motivation it needs.

Top goalscorer:

James: Marian Hossa – For some reason, I just have a
weird feeling Hossa will have a good series. Eh, I’m probably just
saying this because “Jonathan Toews” or “Patrick Kane” just seems too
obvious, though.

Joe: Jonathan Toews – While the wealth gets spread
around pretty equally on Chicago, and I don’t see why that won’t
continue, Toews is, simply put, the man and while a guy like, say,
Dustin Byfuglien is going to have his hands full dealing with Chris
Pronger, Toews will enjoy having the extra room to maneuver.

Brandon:
Jonahan Toews – He did it against Vancouver and against the Sharks,
there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to roll against the Flyers.

Most penalty minutes:

James: Dan Carcillo is my first instinct, but since he might
get scratched for a game or two, why not Chris Pronger?

Joe: Chicago is really good at being physical and talking crap
and Philly is equally as good at it. I’m going with a wild card here
though and I’ll run with Chicago’s Adam Burish.

Brandon: I
would say Dan Carcillo, but he may not get enough minutes. I’ll roll
with Chris Pronger.

Predict the winner:

James: The Flyers are on fire, but look at the frail offenses
they faced in the playoffs so far. Simply put, the Blackhawks are a
completely different animal. Their offense is deep, their defense can do
it all and Niemi is making a name for himself. That being said, my
debate wasn’t “Flyers or Blackhawks?” but rather “Chicago in 4, 5 or 6?”
Chicago wins it in 5.

Joe: Philly hasn’t played a team this good since they played a
motivated and trying to get in the playoffs Red Wings team in early
April. If I wanted to be a real jerk and disprove myself, I could say
they haven’t played a team this good since they played Chicago in March,
but I won’t be that guy. Chicago has been a runaway train of hockey
awesomeness for the last two series and I don’t see why the 18th best
team in the league is going to get in their way. Chicago wins this
series in five
and I don’t think it’s going to be all that close

Brandon: This is a tough one, although it seems that no one is
willing to give the Flyers a chance at all with this one. I know
everyone thinks the Blackhawks will just roll through the Cup Finals,
but I just can’t discount the Flyers after the postseason they’ve had.
So I’ll go in the other direction. Flyers stun the world, win in 6.

  1. Shoosh - May 28, 2010 at 4:03 PM

    I’d like the Flyers to win so they can show the Wings what coulda, shoulda been done : ))

  2. brent - May 28, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    flyers is 6. Flyers will also come out and dominate game 1. They will win 6-1 in the united center and make everyone stop doubting them.

  3. AJW - May 28, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    I’ll tell you who won’t win the Stanley Cup – The Montreal Canadians. And it serves them right for having boorish fans who booed the playing of the Star Spangled Banner for both of their home games during the Flyers series. Am I the only one here who is getting sick and tired of this crap coming out of most Canadian cities these days?

  4. Jeffrey - May 28, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    Go Chicago!!
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  5. Jeff - May 28, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    GO CHICAGO!!
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  6. Francis - May 28, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    I agree with James on Hossa being a top goal scorer in this series. There’s no reason to believe he will be, not by past performance, but it just seems like it’s time for him to bust out some points. he’s been taking the puck hard to the net for the last few series’. Feels like he’s on the cusp of a good scoring streak.
    He’ll have to contribute something if the Hawks are going to win.
    http://shootshoot.net

  7. jw - May 28, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    Flyers?? Seriously, they have had a great run but it stops against Chicago. No team can stop the Hawks, especially, the much slower, less talented Flyers. Philadelphia wont be able to handle the Hawks offense and will implode by game two. Hawks win in 5. Canadians are classless fools!

  8. Al - May 28, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    For those old enough to remember W.C. Fields, they’ll remember the words on his tombstone: “I’d rather be here than in Philadelphia”. PITTSBURGH Al

  9. John - May 28, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    You must be on drugs. Can I have some of what you’re smoking?

  10. Pat - May 28, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Actually, W.C. Fields’ tombstone reads just has his name and dates of birth and death. The line you’re thinking of goes: “On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia”, meaning he’d prefer being in Philly over being dead, but just barely.
    I’ve been to Pittsburgh. It ain’t so great.

  11. peepsaf - May 28, 2010 at 9:44 PM

    Nice point on Hendry, Yerdon. Never thought of it that way.

  12. phillyjeffsr - May 28, 2010 at 10:25 PM

    Is somebody that lives in Pittsburgh really commenting on the City of Philadelphia? Nobody could, or would want to, even find your “city” on a map. It has been insignificant since the death of the steel mills. So just keep on living in nothingness and stay out of a discussion between two real towns. Although I do like your new motto: “Hey everybody, at least we are not Detroit.”

  13. Canadian - May 28, 2010 at 10:50 PM

    Dude I agree. I resent them being called Canadian… Damn french people…
    My heart wants the Flyers to win, But my brain tells me the Hawks will win in 5!

  14. Hawks fan - May 29, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    Kill yourself please, my Hawks are going to bend that ass over and tap it. Hawks in 5, and that funny 6-1 prediction for game one deserves a round of applause to your obvious lack of reality and common sense.

  15. StakeX - May 29, 2010 at 1:08 AM

    I think its going to be Chicago in 4 or 5… and if Phily does win a game, its going to be game 4 when its all but over anyway and the Hawks let off the gas just a little.
    Now I’m not just saying that because I’m a Rangers fan, and I hate Phily reguardless of what happened at the end of the season. I’m saying that because I’ve watched pretty much every playoff game, and I’ve seen how the Flyers have had this trip to the cup handed to them. They faced a tierd and un-organized Devils team that was not playing anywhere near as good as a 2nd seed should play. Then they should have lost to Boston, and were only let back into the series by a total breakdown by Boston in both the series and game 7. Then their trip the the cup was sealed when they ran into an offensivly challanged Montreal that was clearly running on an empty tank after going 7 games with two different teams they simply shouldn’t have beat. So while the Flyers do deserve some credit, especially against Boston… they have clearly been on easy street most of the playoffs.
    Chicago on the other hand is coming off a dominating series sweep of the Sharks who were the number one seed in the West and playing pretty damn good. Looking at the two teams, their talent, their strengths, and how they have gotten here in these playoffs its hard to think the Flyers have any real chance. The only time this series is ever going to have the appearence of looking close is the few seconds after the very first faceoff of game one… after that its going to be The Chicago Show.

  16. Joe - May 29, 2010 at 5:15 AM

    Brandon, I predict your intelligence will be proven and you’ll have some bragging rights with you buddies! Mo is on our side and experience rules the day.

  17. Jeff - May 29, 2010 at 6:14 AM

    All this talk about the Flyers getting lucky and having an easier trip to the Finals is a bunch of BS!! To the Rangers fan that says he is picking Chicago because he thinks they are the better team is full of S***! He is picking Chicago because the Flyers eliminated his team and is just trying to play it off like he is being objective! I hate to say it but Chicago hasn’t faced any adversity in making it to the Finals which in case you fools don’t know, really measures the worth of the team as a whole!! Hell they haven’t faced any adversity all season long! Simply put, Chicago and Philadelphia are pretty evenly matched when it comes to stats, but what is going to make the difference is something no one ever factors into games or series in sports and that is the will and the heart to win. Chicago was predestined to be here and yes they made it, Philadelphia was a long shot to be here, but they made it and all of these “experts” that aren’t giving Philly a chance better get ready to swallow their pride and admit they screwed the pooch because Philly is going to show them, Chicago fans, and the Blackhawks that they are here to win and not going to get rolled over like everyone says they will. The curse of Hossa will continue yes both Toews and Niemi are goign to find out that they are human and can be stopped and beaten!!!!!!!!! Flyers in 7. GO FLYERS!!!!!!

  18. peter - May 29, 2010 at 6:34 AM

    It’s a form of intimidation by the crowd, nothing against the U.S. just trying to get some spark out of the game.
    Booing the national anthem has become o.k. in Canadian public opinion, heck we boo our own national anthem sometimes. It seems to have the desired effect just by getting your reaction!

  19. BillReese - May 29, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    At least this company can get a group of people who are objective to write this article. What a bunch of gibberish crap. Get the Blackhawks lovers off of your publiciations, unless you are going to have an objective group of non-partisen writers, no one wants to read an article from a bunch of Blackhawk groupies.
    I would not doubt they all have posters of their favorite team in their bedrooms so that they can worship in their very private times.
    I just listenedt to Jermey Roenic on the radio this week, he said he thinks the Blackhawks may win, but he said this series is really too close to call. You’d think a guy who knows what is likely to happen will know a lot more about things than a bunch of Blackhawk groupies would know.
    BR (the REESEmister)

  20. Anonymous - May 29, 2010 at 8:11 AM

    Montreal is NOT a Canadian city.

  21. Dicky G - May 29, 2010 at 9:43 AM

    I couldn’t agree more. The Canadiens fans are complete tools. They boo the Star Spangled Banner, riot and destroy their own town after most “big wins”. Losers.

  22. southsidemike - May 29, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Your countrymen must have no respect for your country.
    If I went to a game here in the US and someone next to me booed ‘O’Canada’, I’d tell him to shut the F up!
    If he booed the US national anthem, I’d deck him.

  23. Ray - May 29, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Being from down state Illinois and knowing the history of Chicago sports, The Flyers will win and serve up another dose of WINDY CITY ANGUISH

  24. neo - May 29, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    AJW: There are boors everywhere, and the Canadian anthem’s been booed stateside, too. I got out to a couple Canucks games this play-off, and heard no such crap here in Vancouver. I actually sing along with the Star-Spangled Banner myself (just not as enthusiastically as Oh Canada). Hawks in 5-6. More Canadians playing for the Flyers, but I’ve got to go with the quality of Keith and Seabrook on defence, ‘Captain Serious Toews’ (with your marvellous mullet-man native son Kane, and Canuck-killer Buff) up front, with Quenneville (way out-coached Vigneault) manning the bench. Enjoy!

  25. Meade - May 29, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Having lived in both Philly and Chicago, this will be great for both cities…though my heart stays with Philly and the Flyers. Just wait until you experience Kate Smith singing God Bless America!

  26. KPphilly - May 29, 2010 at 3:00 PM

    Don’t be surprised if Philly sweeps Chicago. Chicago sure knows how to play crappy as well as awesome.

  27. norm903 - May 29, 2010 at 5:38 PM

    Well, to tell you the truth I hate the Flyers and love the Penguins but since Marion Hossa plays for Chicago I’ve got to root for the Cryers. Everyone in Pittsburgh remembers the Pens gave up a ton to get Hossa in 2008 and he bailed after the finals because he thought he had a better chance to win the Cup with Detroit, not Pittsburgh. Ha ha, the Pennies took it in 2009 and so he bailed out again and went to Chicago. So, go Cryboys, take ‘em down again! No Cup for Hossa!

  28. dee - May 29, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    I find it hilarious that some Pens fans take what Hossa did so personally so that they cheer against an entire team. It’s not his fault the Pens GM traded for him and gave up a ton (what’s interesting is that after this season, I don’t even think any of those guys are still with Atlanta). That’s the price you pay when you try to buy or “rent” a championship. Ever consider it wasn’t so much that Detroit seemed like better odds to win but that he couldn’t stand the Pens coach that they subsequently fired?

  29. drk - May 29, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    Firstly, it’s the Montreal Canadiens with an “e” not an “a”.
    I read a lot of comments about Americans being all upset about the national anthem being booed in Montreal (and some say in other Canadian cities). The anthem is sung because the opposition is an American team and so if there is booing it’s meant to be towards the other team. On the other hand, I can think of occasions when Canadian teams have played in the US where the anthem singer didn’t even know the tune to O Canada and then there was the classic during the World Series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Atlanta Braves when the Canadian flag was hung upside down – really how hard is it to figure out which way the maple leaf should be pointed.

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