Hodgemail: What's your favourite Cup final matchup now? Staff
5/1/2011 4:13:19 PM
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And then there were eight.

With the Nathan Horton's overtime goal on Wednesday night, the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings and San Jose were all set to play Round 2.

And that still leaves many great combinations and storylines for the Stanley Cup Final.

But which storyline would be the most appealing to you?

Would you like to see Joe Thornton - a former Bruin who recently accused his old team of getting favourable on-ice treatment from the NHL - take the opening faceoff in Boston?

There's also a good chance to see a Stanley Cup rematch. How does Detroit/Washington sound? Red Wings vs. Flyers? Or a Detroit-Boston showdown we haven't seen since the days of the six-team league?

How about teams searching for that ever-elusive first Cup - Capitals vs. the Canucks? Caps vs. Sharks? Capitals against the Predators?

A conference champion final between Vancouver and Washington? A Cinderella matchup between fifth seeds Tampa Bay and Nashville?

Or to tug at your Canadian heartstrings and say - Canucks vs. just about anybody?

Here was Dave's question to you: "Of all the possibilities involving eight remaining teams, what would be your favourite matchup in the Stanley Cup final, and why?"

And here are the answers that Dave liked best:

"A Vancouver-Washington final would match the two conference champions and two teams that have never won the Stanley Cup. The winners would really celebrate."  - Ben in Perth, Australia

"Lightning-Red Wings would be 'The Grasshopper vs. the Master' - Stevie Y returns to Detroit." - Randy

"The only true hockey fans are Original Six fans. So bring on the Bruins and the Wings." - Doug

"Never mind the Original Six, I want Detroit and Boston so Nicklas Lidstrom and Mark Recchi can face each other in a perfect setting that allows us to cheer them, maybe for the last time." - Chris in Sioux Lookout, ON

"Tampa Bay-San Jose means Teddy Purcell vs. Ryane Clowe or Detroit-Boston gives us Danny Cleary vs. Michael Ryder. Did I mention I'm from Newfoundland? - Walter

"Vancouver against anybody." - Tim in Mississauga, ON

And here is Dave's Reply to All:  Some Dream Match-ups are Impossible

Well, we have entered my "first thing I'd do if I ran the NHL" territory. The playoff system would allow any two teams to meet for the Stanley Cup. Easily done, with the re-seeding, based on points, of the final four teams. Why? Well, Montreal-Boston has been described as hockey's greatest rivalry, right? In years past, there were seven Montreal-Boston finals. There will never be another one.

And there won't be another Montreal-Toronto final - insert joke here that says the playoff system isn't entirely to blame. This year's final could pit Joe Thornton against Boston. It could produce a rematch like Detroit-Washington or Detroit-Philly, if anybody remembers those final series in the late '90's. But the bottom line is this - for 30 years and counting, the NHL too often gets its best playoff pairings before the ultimate matchup. It needn't be that way.


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