NHL Week in Review (May 21-27)

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The Stanley Cup Finals are set and the two teams involved in the final series could not be more different.

One on end is a team from a traditional hockey market that has had plenty of experience in these big games.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are the defending champions and they came into the season as favourites to win it all for the second year in a row.

The other team is a team from the south that is not a place known for hockey and has never been at this point in the season.

Nashville is not a hockey power but they have been an emerging market and came into the season without much hope of winning anything.

The Penguins were one of the top teams in the east while the Predators barely made it in as a wild card team.

Both teams could not be any more different and those differences are reflected in the two biggest names on either team.

There is the superstar that will go down as one of the greatest players in the world but does things in the most hockey-player way possible.

Then there is the flashy young defenceman who takes over and gains fans in both cities that he has been so far.

Sidney Crosby and PK Subban are the perfect reflections of the differences between these two teams and both will be under the spotlight.

Crosby is considered the greatest player in the world and he continues to put up amazing numbers as he will be among the greats whenever he walks away from the game.

There is no doubt about his skills on the ice but off of the ice, he is still a bit more of a mystery.

He doesn’t necessarily love the spotlight, although knows that it comes with the territory, and when asked about anything usually gives the typical canned answers.

There is very rarely a time when Crosby is outspoken on any topic as he tends to play it safe and prefers to concentrate on the being the best player in the world.

That is the Penguins in a nutshell as they are a team that prefers not to stir the pot and instead hopes to just concentrate on being the best.

They have that ability too as they are a traditional hockey market where the fans are already around and in winning they only grow their fan base.

Since Crosby has arrived they have done a lot of winning and despite there being a very good group around there is no doubt that Crosby is the linchpin for the team.

He represents the Penguins and he hopes to represent them well when he hopefully lifts the Stanley Cup for the third time.

In Nashville, Subban is different than Crosby in many different ways and unlike Crosby, he often gets flack for that difference.

He is not considered the best in the world but he does have a great offensive ability from the blueline.

That ability sometimes gained criticism when he made mistakes and gained him the label of defensive liability which didn’t fly in a traditional market like Montreal.

Last off-season he was traded to Nashville and although it was a shock for the Canadiens to trade one of their top players it was also an interesting change.hockey-sidebar

In Nashville hockey has never been the top sport but someone with the personality of Subban can fit right in.

They embraced him right away and not only for his unique play on the ice but his larger than life personality off of the ice.

Unlike Crosby, Subban loves the spotlight and doesn’t mind giving interviews and letting people into his world off of the ice.

That personality fits with a team that is far from traditional and a city that tends to embrace the unique.

The Preds are hoping to shock the system rather than follow it and Subban hopes to be a big reason for bringing the Stanley Cup to the city affectionately known as “Smashville.”

Although both players have massive differences that they will display in the Stanley Cup Finals they do have one big similarity.

Both have made an impact on their teams as Crosby has been the difference in bringing the Penguins back to their Lemieux-era success while Subban was a big addition that has helped the Predators find their way to their first Stanley Cup Finals.

These players will look to make a big impact as they are four wins away from having their names etched into the Stanley Cup.

For Crosby, it will be the third time his names is put onto the Cup while Subban looks to get his name on the Cup for the first time.

Two teams and two stars from different worlds are left to compete for the ultimate prize in hockey on the line.

 

Overtime

Battle for the Conn Smythe

It is the same debate that comes up every year in the playoffs as the battle for the Conn Smythe Trophy is a fun topic to debate. As the season enters its final series the list of potential playoff MVPs is getting shorter and as the Stanley Cup Finals begin only a few names remain including Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne and Pittsburgh forwards Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

Canucks Selling?

The Vancouver Canucks did not have a great season and that seems to be leading to rumours about them selling and rebuilding. A lot of those rumours are around their young defenceman Chris Tanev as many believe he would be a great chip to play in order to rebuild. The Canucks have said that they will not trade Tanev but many still think it is their best option.

KHL Bidding War

 The KHL made a legitimate run at the NHL for a few years in trying to be the best league in the world. They couldn’t quite keep it up and are now struggling to keep all of their teams playing but that hasn’t stopped them from continuing a bidding war. Dmitry Orlov is one of those players as he is apparently in talks with the KHL to return to Russia.

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