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June 16, 2015

Pucks On The 'Net: 2015 Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks

Congratulations to the very deserving 2015 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. They play the game beautifully and have definitely earned the title of hockey's best team.

Some final thoughts on the Stanley Cup playoffs

  • Duncan Keith was the unanimous choice as the Conn Smythe trophy winner as the playoff MVP. With the possible exception of Scott Niedermayer in 2007, I don't think we've seen as spectacular of a performance from a defenseman since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers back in 1994. Historically speaking, Leetch and Keith are excellent comparables.
  • Patrick Kane finally broke his scoring slump, setting up Keith's opening goal and cementing the victory with a beauty in the third (what a pass from Brad Richards!). He failed to score a point in the first five games of the Final, and looked like disengaged perimeter player. Somehow he always comes through in the end.
  • Kimmo Timonen's fine career comes to an end with the Stanley Cup over his head. He was one of the most underrated players of his time. It must be a bit of a bittersweet time for him though. He missed much of the season with blood clots and never regained his form. He was used so sparingly in the playoffs because he clearly had trouble keeping up. It must have been a bit embarrassing for such a great pro, but he finally gets to hoist the Stanley Cup.
  • Corey Crawford stood tall in game six, a game which I considered to be easily the most entertaining of the series. Crawford continues to not get enough credit for his contributions to this dynasty.
  • Steve Stamkos really impressed me in these playoffs. He had his trouble scoring in the final, or even making a physical impact. Earlier in the playoffs he really impressed me with an Eric Lindros-like physical game that I did not know he had.
  • Ben Bishop apparently had a pulled groin, but he was amazing in defeat. Victor Hedman will win a Norris Trophy soon (there's a lot of good young defenseman in the league right now, isn't there?) and while Tyler Johnson and Nikolai Kucherov show impressive offensive pizzazz, Ondrej Palat's all around game impressed me. All three struggled in the final due to injuries, and that likely was the difference maker.

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