Thursday, May 30, 2013
Thursday Morning Cupcheck - Welcome to Losertown, Population: Your Favorite Team
Take heart, fans of the four remaining teams: True happiness lies in the journey, not in your season-ending 5-0 blowout loss on home ice.
Good morning, hockey fans! Last week we idly wondered whether Jamie Benn had the stones to captain his bumbling bunch of buttery bumpkins. This week, rather than slap Stephen Walkom on the back for a job well done, we're going to take a closer look at the four remaining teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and tell you exactly why none of them could possibly win the Cup this year.
Alleged Contender #1: The Pittsburgh Supposed Penguins
Regular Season Scoring: Not important
Number of Art Ross Trophies: Irrelevant
Quality of Competition in the First Two Rounds: Seriously? Just knock it off.
Why They Might Squeak Out a Game or Two If They're Lucky: Marc-Andre Fleury. Over his career, Fleury has feasted on the Bruins with a 47-1-3 record or something, according to stats I'm not going to waste time looking up. While typically one-man teams spell disaster in the postseason, the Pens really don't have much of a choice.
Why They Basically Have No Chance: The Penguins' top guns are basically the A-Rod of professional sports: overpaid, obnoxious and disturbingly into chicks that look a lot like dudes. Also, they put up lots of empty points against subpar teams, like their hotter, not quite as divey sisters in Vancouver. Newsflash to Pens fans: if everybody slobbered all over themselves whenever they scored a hat trick against Eric Karlsson, our government would have to tap into our strategic reserves of Pens Fan Tears just to replenish the lost bodily fluids. Let's just hope the "stars" on this team can put their concussions on the shelf long enough to make at least a period or two of this series entertaining: watching the Penguins run their powerplay through Matt Niskanen is like watching undercooked chicken run through Mike Milbury's intestines.
Alleged Contender #2: The Boston So-Called Bruins
Regular Season GAA: Pointless
Number of Norris Trophy Nominations: Why are you bringing this up now?
Quality of Competition in the First Two Rounds: Let's just pretend like those two rounds never even happened.
Why They Might Squeak Out a Game or Two If They're Lucky: Jaromir Jagr. Judging from highlights I remember watching as an infant, Jagr apparently is the most talented member of whichever team he's currently playing for, and it isn't even close unless you count worthless "glam" stats like goals and assists. Jagr is one big-hipped mullet-lacking sunuvabeesh, and his singular ability to hog the puck from all nine other guys on the ice for 45 seconds before turning it over in the corner will fill NBC's highlight reels for decades to come, which is good timing because Jagr only wins one Stanley Cup every two decades or so.
Why They Basically Have No Chance: They say defense wins championships, but what they fail to mention is that Boston's defense sucks. According to advanced stats pulled from this Youtube video, Bruins goalie Tukka "Swanlike" Rask is too busy pooping in the crease like a big boy to give even the slightest effort towards stopping pucks. This is the same team, after all, that allowed the NHL equivalent of Simple Jack to go up 4-1 in the third of an elimination game at home, before the regression to the mean took over and restored balance to the universe. Good luck trying that with a Bettman-mandated 4-to-1 penalty ratio against.
Alleged Contender #3: The Los Angeles Self-Styled Kings
Regular Season Possession Numbers: Please, I'm trying to eat here.
Number of Vezina Finalists: I'm sorry do I know you?
Quality of Competition in the First Two Rounds: Taking 13 games to eliminate Bouwmeester and the Chokers is quite an impressive feat. They should totally put that on their mom's fridge next to all Dustin Brown's illegible crayon art showing him holding hands with Thornton Melon.
Why They Might Squeak Out a Game or Two If They're Lucky: Jonathan Bernier. They say there's no such thing as magic, yet when the 11th overall pick in 2006 works his wizardry from his spot on the sidelines the Kings are nigh-unbeatable. Whether this is because he is the master of taunting his enemies, or more likely simply can control the puck with his mind, this modern-day Caligostro is LA's ultimate weapon in turning a barely-.500 team of boring underachievers into a slightly-above-.500 juggernaut of pain... ful to watch slip-n-slide world champions.
Why They Basically Have No Chance: Whoever thought it was a good idea to replace Dustin Brown and Drew Doty's skate blades with astroglide failed to realize one important fact: like the violence virus from 28 Days Later, that s**t speads like wildfire. Add this to the fact that this team thinks "scoring" is something you do in a bathroom stall at Barney's Beanery, and you've got a perfect storm of ratings gold! Whether the Kings can win a single game may come down to which set of unmarked manilla envelopes the refs fear more: the ones stuffed down Brown's jock or the ones currently under lock and key at NBC's secured vault miles beneath the earth's crust.
Alleged Contender #4: The Chicago Purported Blackhawks
Regular Season W-L: Get that thing out of my face.
Number of Conn Smythe Winners: Would you like to see the huge s**t I took this morning?
Quality of Competition in the First Two Rounds: A couple of teams that were one point away from losing their playoff spot to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Why They Might Squeak Out a Game or Two If They're Lucky: Jonathan Toews. Captain Clutch might be the most Conn Smythy player since former Canucks captain Mark Messier, and that's on a bad day. Fortunately for his last six or seven playoff opponents, his bad days seem to coincide with his game days, as he's scored just 4 goals in his last 32 playoff contests, a James-Neal-Without-Malkin-pace that would put him on the fourth line of most AHL teams. Ah, but those who look at empty glam stats like goals ignore the larger picture of clutching: as anyone who's seen Toews take a shot or try and make a pass on the powerplay knows, he is basically the Optimus Prime of Clutching. How his sticks don't snap in half every shift from his rock-hard clutching is beyond me, unless they're made of lead-lined reinforced concrete and weight around 240 pounds, which would also explain his skating.
Why They Basically Have No Chance: When their third line is not on the ice, the Blackhawks are often mistaken for Disney's Twinkling Fairy Ballerina Princesses on Ice. With their horrifying array of pirouettes, double axels and triple salchows, Chicago's top two lines are about as tough and manly as a twink in a glitter-covered Peter Pan costume making eye contact as he gives a handy to a pink unicorn named Chaz on Ten Dollar Peach Mojito Night. They spend more time on the outside looking in than a dog with bowel problems, and haven't skated up the middle of the ice since the night Richard Daley was concieved. The fact that their third line has scored 90% of their goals, while hilarious, is about as sustainable as Pierre McGuire's standup at the Apollo, with only half as much thrown garbage. Stephen Walkom tried to do the right thing by putting this team out of its misery, but much like the Blackhawks in all but one of the last 45 years, he utterly failed.
So there you have it, unfortunate fanbases of the four remaining teams. Best to start planning the funeral parades and bittersweet cop car torchings now, before the line gets too long.