Hey all! Well, the Stanley Cup Finals are finally upon us! It's hard to fathom that just a few months ago, we were all gearing up for Winnipeg's first NHL regular season since 1995. While we continue to lament the fact that the Jets will be using their summer to shake the rust off their golf swing, purchase new fishing tackle or spend cool summer nights boating on the great lakes of Minnesota, two teams have distinguished themselves as Conference Champions and will now battle in a best-of-seven series which will award the 2012 Stanley Cup trophy. Will it be the Devils or the Kings that will be crowned the league's champion in a matter of weeks?
Stick around for the Conference Final picks of Trevor, Ben, Gabe, Ryan, Tim, Graham, Derek, Daniel, Ryan P. and a 25 cent Canadian quarter. Feel free to point out just how wrong we are and how awesome the quarter is.
After the Conference Finals, here are our "expert" standings:
2011 25 cent Canadian quarter 9-5, Trevor 9-5, Gabe 8-6, Graham 7-7, Ryan 7-7, Tim 7-7, Ben 6-8, Derek 6-8, Daniel 2-0, Ryan P. 0-0.
2012 Stanley Cup Finals
New Jersey holds season series 2-0.
Why New Jersey will win: The Devils have essentially mirrored the play of the Kings these playoffs, only with a little less size in their line-up. Therefore, it's fitting that these two teams are meeting in this years finals. While The Devils haven't been as dominant as the juggernaught Kings, they to have relied upon their third and forth lines to provide a scoring punch. If superstars Zach Parise and Ilya Kovalchuk continue to light the lamp at a fevered pace, the Devils will be there in the end.
Why Los Angeles will win: The Kings have obliterated every team in their path en route to their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance since the Gretzky Era in 1993 (lest we forget, Maple Leafs fans). They are riding the stellar play of goaltender Jonathan Quick and have been able to find scoring up-and-down their line-up thus far. Los Angeles has posted a 12-2 record and have yet to lose a road game this playoffs. They are playing scary good hockey and there is no reason to believe that trend won't continue.
Gabe's Take: I think what's most impressive is that I predicted the outcomes of all 14 series correctly so far, and that my preseason picks (Chicago over Washington) were so accurate. I don't really have a horse in the finals because I get a Stanley Cup ring either way.
Fun Fact: The 2011 25 cent quarter, Ben, Gabe and Graham have all correctly predicted the Los Angeles Kings to win in every round thus far.Conversely, Tim has nailed the Devils in each of their series, while the 2011 25 cent quarter has continually picked the opposition, going 0-3 in the process.
Trevor's pick: New Jersey in 6.
Ben's pick: Los Angeles in 6.
Gabe's pick: Los Angeles in 6.
Ryan's pick: Los Angeles in 5.
Tim's pick: Los Angeles in 6.
Graham's pick: Los Angeles in 5.
Derek's pick: Los Angeles in 4.
Daniel's pick: Los Angeles in 5.
Ryan P.'s pick: Los Angeles in 5.
2011 25 cent quarter picks: Los Angeles.
Ed. Note: Due to multiple posts today, we will delay Altitude Check until tomorrow. Also be sure to check in for lots of May 31 Jets coverage as we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the NHL's annouced return to Winnipeg.