Jun 2, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT
Kudos to New York head coach Alain Vigneault for getting out quickly in the “no no, we’re the underdog” challenge:
Like with PIT and MTL, AV declares LA the favorite. “Throughout these playoffs, and it’s not going to change now, we’ve been the underdog”
— Tal Pinchevsky (@TalPinch) June 2, 2014
It’s become an annual rite of passage for coaches to try and position their team as the one nobody thought could win. We’ve seen it extensively this postseason, especially out west — in Round 2, Darryl Sutter suggested the Kings were underdogs going into Game 7 against Anaheim, only for Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau to counter with “you can ask anybody who they think the underdog is, and the underdog’s us.”
(The Kings ended up pounding Anaheim 6-2 in Game 7, so I guess Boudreau was right.)
The Sharks tried a similar strategy in Round 1, suggesting they were the underdogs to L.A. despite finishing 11 points clear of the Kings in the Pacific Division standings and holding home-ice advantage. Between what happened to the Sharks and Ducks, it makes you wonder if Vigneault should’ve employed some reverse psychology and anointed the Rangers the favorites, just to shake it up a bit.
Oh, and just in case you don’t think Sutter would even try to position the Kings as an underdog, consider what he said after Sunday’s Game 7 win over Chicago…
Q. Up against the Rangers, what are your initial thoughts on them?
COACH SUTTER: Great goaltending. Great defense. Great forwards. Great special teams.
- Crosby on ice with Penguins teammates 1
- Ouch: Wild reportedly suspend Harding for ‘non-hockey injury’ 23
- Keeping Kuemper: Wild sign goalie to two-year deal reportedly worth $2.5M 14
- Selanne regrets harsh words toward Boudreau 7
- Flyers’ Timonen admits chances of playing are ‘really slim’ 7
- Desjardins (a.k.a. not Torts) makes good first impression on Canucks 27
- Leafs deny rift between Kessel and coaching staff 20
- Injured Crosby, Malkin will miss start of Pens’ camp 12
- Selanne rips Boudreau in book 18
- Just how damaging are heated negotiations between Jackets, RFA Johansen? 38
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (56)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)