I'm not really sure how to feel about this year's Stanley Cup Finals.
Even though we've got two teams that have given us recent playoff heartbreak in the Bruins and Blackhawks, and even though at first glance this does seem like a really, really unappealing pairing between two of the last three Cup winners, I'm having a hard time getting too upset about it.
On the one hand, you've got the Bruins. Ugh, the Bruins. Won it all two years ago effectively ruining our good feelings from 2010, and in doing so swept us in such an embarrassing fashion that it led to the front office blowing up the team. And yes, as Travis pointed out, they have an owner who happened to be the ringleader of the lockout and also happens to generally be an awful human being. So I totally get hating them.
And then you've got the Blackhawks. F*cking 2010, f*cking Patrick Kane, f*cking Game 6 overtime. The worst. The absolute worst. And the tanking, and the 2007 lottery that should've been ours that made it all possible, and then the garbage from this year with the Blackhawks being The Franchise That Brought Hockey Back...I can certainly understand not liking them too. And no, they'd never really be my first choice to win the Cup either.
But now that I've got the hate out of the way (and boy, there was enough hate in those two paragraphs to make me consider scrapping this article), I'm actually really looking forward to this matchup.
Maybe it's just because we were two series away from the possibility of a Penguins-Kings finals that would likely have caused Philadelphia to implode upon itself, and missing that possibility just makes the alternative look good. But this should be a fun series.
I don't really mind this Bruins squad. Maybe I'm just sympathetic after watching them roll the Rangers and Penguins in consecutive rounds, but they just don't bug me as much as I think they should. They've got Jaromir Jagr, who we should all love because he's basically just the best. And other than Brad Marchand, there's no one else on the Bruins who really annoys me that much. Chara? Rask? Bergeron? None of their best players really strikes me as much of a heel.
Same with the Blackhawks. That above paragraph aside, I think they've been fun to watch through this postseason. Good, quick, skilled players all over the ice, solid depth all-around, and a pretty good goalie in Corey Crawford. They can win in a lot of different ways. And again, other than Patrick Kane for obvious reasons aforementioned, none of their best players seem particularly unlikeable.
Sure, I'll probably regret writing this every time I see a reference to the 2010 Finals (and rest assured, there will be a few of those) or hear Chelsea Dagger (mute button, please!). But I don't know, I can't really get mad when the best teams that aren't my favorite team's biggest rivals reach the biggest stage, and Chicago's almost certainly the best team in hockey this year.
Admittedly, the fact that one of these two is already about to win its second Cup of this four-year-old decade is kind of gag-worthy. They wouldn't be my first choices, by any stretch. And again, if you can't watch it or can't root for either side for a specific reason, such as Jeremy Jacobs' existence or Patrick Kane's existence, I get that.
But I'm able to watch this without having to dread seeing one of its captains raising the Cup, and I think I'm OK with that. Neither of these teams winning is going to set off an obnoxious national-scale hey-let's-point-and-laugh-at-the-Flyers-fest. Maybe this crappy season's lowered my standards a bit -- or maybe this season's made me overly bitter and I'm trying to compensate for it, which seems more likely -- but that's where I am.
All of that said, that's just me. I still don't have a good feel at all about how most Flyers fans want this to turn out. So vote in the poll below. One or the other, please. And throw a prediction in the comments if you'd like.