If The Stanley Cup were given to the organization with the best home goal song, then every year the Ducks are in it would end with them hanging championship banners in Anaheim. But thankfully that’s not the case. (Imagine if it were, though??) No, lately The Cup seems to end up in the bare hands of the team with the right amount of experience, toughness, and speed, not to mention being beneficiaries of having healthy guys on the ice at the right time. This is why teams with high-flying offenses and ridiculous goal differentials eventually get gutted by teams that they don’t play down to.
The Blackhawks have consistently been that kind of team for the better part of a decade. (The Kings are right there, as are the Rangers, but…come on.) They also have a front office that is one of the best in all of the four major league sports, and oh yeah, they have a guy named Pat Kane playing out of his goddamn mind with a classic “eff-you” season this year as well. So that’s why The Infuerno is picking the Hawks to defend their title, to earn their fourth Cup in seven years, and to become the first club to go back-to-back since the Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998.
Speaking of the Red Wings, they (and the Penguins, despite goalie issues) are getting hot at the right time, which is why I have the two of them meeting in the conference finals. There’s no way the Capitals avoid another of their signature postseason collapses, and quite frankly I just hate pretty much the rest of the teams in the East. In the end, Detroit meets Chicago in a Great Lakes battle, with the Hawks hoisting The Cup in the Madhouse at the end of a seven game series.
So there. My full bracket is below. Who do YOU got?