The Ottawa Senators will have a minimum of 9 days off before the Stanley Cup Finals start. In the meantime, they await patiently at home, practicing their dance moves so as to stay sharp for whomever their dance partner will be. Will it be the Red Wings? Older, more experienced, so much wisdom to impart but may have to be home before Golden Girls reruns start? Or will it be the Ducks; young, energetic, full of youthful enthusiasm but let's face it, could probably beat you up if you looked at them the wrong way.
Whomever the Senators draw, it should be an interesting battle. Frankly, most people had doubts that the Red Wins' geriatric legs could get them past the Flames, let alone the high-flying [swimming?] Sharks. Now they're giving the Ducks a run for their money, and many believe that the Ducks have not been playing up to the level that their capable of. We can all sit here and run the numbers, and handicap the series player-by-player, position-by-position, as I am often prone to do. But what about the other side of the series? As we all know, hockey is a tough sell due to the general political correctness and the Melba Toast blandness of the characters involved. Therefore, every insignificant back-story and subplot must be taken into consideration when deciding which team would make for a more compelling final.
I have the displeasure of choosing between two teams that I dislike greatly. Were it up to me, I would have preferred the building spontaneously combust due to having to stuff the collective egos of Chris Chelios, Dominik Hasek and Chris Pronger all into one building. Frankly, I'm surprised the gates of Purgatory haven't opened up and swallowed them already due to the amount of evil that is present at the same time.
In any case one will arrive at the dance, and one piece of tantalizing tabloid fodder must be selected:
Detroit Red Wings
Hasek was signed by the Ottawa Senators in 2004 to a one-year deal and played exceptionally well before the paper clips and paper mache that was holding his groin together gave in while playing at the Winter Olympics. Rumours swirled during the conclusion of the season that Hasek would be out for the rest of the year, a story denied by both the Senators front office and by Hasek himself. While the Senators were down 3-1 to the Buffalo Sabres in Round 2 of the 2006 playoffs, the team had a meeting with Hasek to ask him to play. In typical Hasek fashion, he pulled the chute on the team and was let go in the off-season by John Muckler.
Now, armed with a deal with some sort of dark force and a new groin made out of Adamantium alloy, he has helped Detroit make it to the Western Conference Finals. That must have been a very nice off-season for him.
Back when the Ducks were still of the "Mighty" variety, Bryan Murray lead the Ducks to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003. In 2004, he elected to step down to his current position as the head coach of the Ottawa Senators in order to be closer to his mother and father, who had been in poor health.
As far as I know, the split was pretty amicable. Were it not for Murray's decision to step down, Brian Burke would never have become the Ducks' GM, and we would never be able to have the privilege to see that happy-go-lucky smile that he always has on.
Andy McDonald will help you choose, while making sure your Thanksgiving meals are without any form of life-threatening disease: