Well, here we are! And how can you not be excited by this matchup?
Boston, following an absolutely fantastic game against Tampa, rises as the Beast from the East to tackle Vancouver. An original six team that hasn't drunk from the Cup in 21 years versus one carrying the banner of a nation and representing a city that has never even held the goblet.
The stories within the story that will unfold over the next 4 to 7 installments are legion.
Boston Goalie Tim Thomas travels to the arena where one puck took away his dream of Olympic Gold to set things right. In the opposite net, they guy wearing that coveted medal, still feeling the need to prove to some that he deserves it.
Up front for Vancouver, the indescribable Sedin twins, unmatched at their ability at breathtaking playmaking, embodying the speed and sheer beauty of the game. Facing them, names like Krejci, Ryder and Lucic, known as much for toughness and tenacity as their eminent scoring skills.
Monsters like Raffi Torres and Zdeno Chara, who eat pain for breakfast and dish it out for lunch and dinner. Busted heroes like Bergeron and Kessler who simply refuse to quit. And up and comers named Tyler Seguin and Dan Hamhuis that nobody expected to shine so brightly.
This is a series so special that one of Canada's corporate giants has changed its name…
While in Boston, the local Tim Horton's franchises are this morning likely changing their first names to "Nathan".
It's time for the BIG SHOW! And here at the IWHP that means the moment has come to unpack THE SIDESHOW! The annual Props Competition.
But to catch you up first on the feature attraction…
Tim Stubinski would appear to hold a commanding lead. But when you look down the list of which poolies still retain which players, things start looking a lot tighter. And I'm not putting it past any of the first ten names in the standings from coming out on top of the heap.
Your current standings…
As for the rest of us -- and anybody reading this who wants to get into the action, we need to pin our hopes on:
THE PROPS COMPETITION
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 will definitely not be decided until well after 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 faceoff of Game One on Wednesday night June 1st.
Your six Hockey Propositions are:
1. The 2010-2011 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. Boston Goalie Tim Thomas enters the final round with a .929 Save Percentage. Vancouver's Roberto Luongo's average is .922. At the end of the final series, the Highest Goalie Save Percentage will belong to:
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) Henrik Sedin (Vancouver)
b) Ryan Kesler (Vancouver)
c) David Krejci (Boston)
d) Nathan Horton (Boston)
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?