It’s still the best thing in all of sports, the Stanley Cup playoffs, the handshake lines, the presentation of the Stanley Cup. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen the winning captain lift the Cup and then hand it off to teammates, but every one of them thrills me to no end.
1) Game over, season over.
2) I told you the Devils PK stunk, and I was convinced when the Rangers scored those PPGs against them. They finished up with 22 PPGs allowed in 24 post-season games, and an embarrassing 73 percent kill rate. Awful.
3) And as some of those goals were scored, and some of the other great chances LA had in this game, I couldn’t help but think that those shots wouldn’t have gotten through against the Rangers. I guess I just got used to seeing shots contested and blocked and altered all season long, but that’s what jumped out at me on many chances last night. The Devils’ D-men kind of ole’d them. And now those who decried the Rangers’ shot blocking, well, here’s another team that didn’t do it and paid the ultimate price.
4) Nice going there by Steve Bernier. Had to be the worst five-hour plane ride as any hockey player has ever had to endure. To tell the truth, I had to make some phone calls and missed the penalty and the three PPGs live. Saw them all later on. But the officials sure got that one right, and a bunch of others right … and a few wrong.
5) Captain America Dustin Brown was awful in Game 5, and that’s what captains do — they play their best the next time out. That’s what Ryan Callahan did after his stinker in the ECF. He was the Rangers’ best player the next game.
6) What’s up with these NBC guys who say Game No. 6 and period No. 2, when everybody else on the planet says Game 6 or period 2, or second period? And how about Brown dropping an F-bomb on Pierre McGuire on live TV?
7) I hope NBC doesn’t mess up my U.S. Open viewing this weekend as much as it messed up my hockey all year. Nice job running out of there before the celebration was over. Geez. What’s the hurry? Horrible.
8) How about Milk Carton Clarkson thinking he could run around like a clown and get away with it?
9) Where’s all our Devils trolls today?
10) Three American-born Conn Smythe Trophy winners now. Two from Connecticut.
11) I really do wonder if Martin Brodeur will go out this way. I kind of hope he doesn’t. I’d love to know what he said to Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick in the handshake line, but he sure had a lot to say. Like I mentioned earlier, the handshake line is one of the greatest things in sports.
12) I’ve said it many times. I wish the NHL would start a tradition by which the captain of the previous Stanley Cup champion comes out onto the ice with the commissioner and presents the Cup to the captain of the new champion. I just think it would be so cool, especially since it has become that the champion “owns” the Cup for the year.
13) As True Blue Mike pointed out late last night, another team that began the season in Europe has won the Cup. That’s four Cup winners in a row now.
AP photos, above.