Hey all! While we in the keystone province lament our second April without a playoff appearance by shining up our golf clubs and working on our swing, sixteen fortunate teams will vie for their chance to win this year's Stanley Cup trophy.
A lockout abbreviated season left many scrambling -- or in some cases stumbling -- towards the finish line, and though there are a few clear-cut favourites, it's anyone's guess who will emerge as Stanley Cup represenative for either conference.
Luckily for you, the vast unknown of the playoff landscape wasn't enough to deter your local experts from submitting their second annual round-by-round-previews. So with that, stick around for the Stanley Cup Final picks of Trevor, Derek, Ryan, Tim, Dan, Graham, Phil, Ben, Garret and a 25 cent Canadian quarter.
Feel free to belittle our projections and praise the the awesomeness that is Canadian currency.
After the Semifinals, here are our "expert" standings: Tim 12-2, Ben 11-3, Garret 11-3, Phil 11-3, TJ 11-3, Derek 10-4, 2012 25 cent Canadian quarter 9-5, Dan 9-5, Graham 9-5, Ryan 9-5, Trevor 4-2, Gabe 0-0
Stanley Cup Final
Chicago Blackhawks (1) vs. Boston Bruins (4)
These teams did not meet in the regular season.
Why Chicago will win: The Blackhawks are making their first trip to the Stanley Cup Final since last winning in 2010 and have arrived as the Western Conference representative by showcasing a mixture of balanced scoring and timely goaltending. Patrick Kane has awoken after a slow start to these playoffs and for Chicago to be successful, both he and Jonathan Toews will have to be compelling factors against Boston.
Why Boston will win: Tuukka Rask has been stout all playoffs and is four wins away from winning not only hockey's chalice but also taking home the Conn Smythe award. Like Chicago, the Bruins have received timely goals from up-and-down their line-up, but the line of Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Nathan Horton has been particularly good all postseason.
TJ's pick: Chicago in 7.
Derek's pick: Chicago in 6.
Ryan's pick: Boston in 7.
Tim's pick: Chicago in 7.
Dan's pick: Chicago in 6.
Graham's pick: Chicago in 6.
Phil's pick: Chicago in 6.
Ben's pick: Chicago in 7.
Garret's pick: Boston in 5.
Trevor's pick: Chicago in 5.
Gabe's pick: Chicago in 7.
2012 25 cent Canadian quarter picks: Chicago Blackhawks.