Now that the NHL’s Final Four have been determined for the East (CAR, PIT) and West (DET, CHI) I'd like to weigh in with my proverbial two cents as to how I think matters will shake out.
In the East, although Carolina goalie Cam Ward is on a big hot streak, I’m picking the Pens to win in seven games. As for the West, I’d like to mention how sick I am of hockey journalists (like Yahoo Sports’ Jim Fox) already talking down to the Blackhawks, calling them (in Fox’s case) the “little brother” to Detroit’s “big brother” – this, from the same “expert” who predicted a Vancouver/Pittsburgh Stanley Cup Final, and look how that turned out.
Do the Hawks have their mitts full with Detroit? No question. The Red Wings are (IMO) the best franchise in NHL history over the past quarter-century. Yet they also needed seven games to eliminate an eighth seed in the Anaheim Ducks. So I don’t buy suggestions that Detroit is going to hang the Hawks out to dry like yesterday’s boxers, especially when in prior matches both Calgary and Vancouver tried to intimidate the Hawks, and instead ran themselves ragged trying to keep up with a much younger team.
Truly, the Wings, their fans, and the media all sound very overconfident and ripe for an upset by a punchy, and very well-coached squad which few sports talking heads are giving much respect.
Therefore, I’m picking the Hawks to upset Detroit in six games, and go onto meet Pittsburgh in the last round – which is ironically the same team the Hawks faced the last time they reached the Finals (and lost) in 1991.