There's an old actor's adage to describe the shortness of the average Thespian's career, "One day you're standing in the wings -- and the next you're wearing them!"
Likewise, it feels like mere days ago we had 16 teams in the Stanley Cup hunt and now we're down to two.
A lot of people predicted Chicago would be the best of the West. But nobody expected the East would be represented by Philadelphia. For all the Canadian media obsession with the Montreal "Cinderella Story", the real fairy tale seems to be unfolding further South with the Broad Street Bullies eschewing their traditional Ugly stepsister role to slide on the glass slipper.
Winning the last available playoff spot on the last day of the season in a shootout. Knocking out the league's top goalie in the first round. Coming back from 3-0 against Boston and then turning their Cinderella rivals into a pumpkin.
Good as Chicago is, I wouldn't underestimate these guys and the Byfuglien/Pronger battle in front of the net shapes up as being one for the ages.
And since The Infamous Writer's Pool has not achieved similar status this season, it's time to toss in the traditional final round contest -- "The Props".
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, a little history.
Betting on sports has been around as long as there have been guys who needed to pump up their self-esteem by proving they were right about something. And for centuries money changed hands based on who won or lost a contest. Then Las Vegas and the Superbowl were invented. Pretty soon the smart guys who ran the Casinos realized that while you could make millions on who won a football game, you could make Billions with side wagers.
So Proposition Betting was created to give us sports degenerates an opportunity to blow our money on outcomes nobody in their right mind can confidently predict.
You might be wagering on the coin toss (Janet Gretzky's favorite -- seen here at Caesar's Palace with absolutely non-betting husband and Hockey Great One Wayne) or if a touchdown is made by a player whose jersey number is over 30.
Props are also not one bet options. You need to pick at least a half dozen. The odds of collecting on your bet are infinitesimal. But then, you can't put a price on a good time, can you?
So here's how the "Infamous Writers Pool Hockey Props" works…
There are six bets. All are related to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Some require sports knowledge. Some only require guts! The player with the most correct answers wins. And a special piece of Canadian Hockey memorabilia (currently treasured by Yours Truly) will be awarded to the winner.
Should there be a tie -- uh -- we'll figure that out if there's a tie.
But this contest is definitely going to come down to the final game!
Entry is open to all current pool players, everybody who’s been kicking themselves for not getting in on the original action and anybody else who just needs to boost their self image.
Entries must be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org anytime between now and the first faceoff of the Game One on Saturday night.
Your six Hockey Propositions are:
1. The 2009-2010 Stanley Cup winner will be decided in:
a) Four Games
b) Five Games
c) Six Games
d) Seven Games
2. The total number of goals scored in the Final series will be:
a) Less than 20
b) 20 to 30
c) More than 30
3. Chicago's Jonathan Toews enters the finals with a 13 game scoring streak. The current record is a 15 game streak. Toews will:
a) Not break the record
b) Tie the record
c) Beat the record
4. "Hockey Night in Canada" icon Don Cherry always confidently predicts the winner of each game prior to the opening faceoff. For the FOURTH game of the series, he will be:
For non-Canadian players -- CBC's "Hockey Night in Canada" is streaming all games at http://www.cbc.ca/sports, usually in more languages than English.
5. The Leading Scorer in the final series will be:
a) Jonathan Toews (Chicago)
b) Patrick Kane (Chicago)
c) Mike Richards (Philadelphia)
d) Danny Briere (Philadelphia)
6. The Captain of the winning team is the first player to hoist the Stanley Cup and skate a victory lap. The Cup is then passed to each member of his team. And it's usually passed to someone the player with the Cup feels is deserving. The Goalie of the winning team will be:<
a) One of the first six players to hoist the Cup
b) The Seventh to Twelfth player to hoist the Cup
c) One of the remaining players to hoist the Cup
Tough enough? C'mon, suck it up! How often are you gonna get a chance like this?