Stanley Cup playoffs have tried very hard to give customers what they want, but so far it’s like a half-in-half-out offer. This gave our Penguin-Rangers three overtime in 2 days but then a negligible list of 11 overtime games that averaged less than seven minutes. It promised us the first great battle of the Everglades but Dad (Tampa) swept us over the kids (Florida). It promised us Alberta’s first great fight in 31 years but the series lasted only five games after a great 9-6 opener. It gave us Toronto Maple Leafs, but it also gave us the leaves that fell apart in the first round (you can decide which of these people wanted).
Thus, the Colorado-Edmonton at the Western Conference could be the last chance to get the cup really right this year. Nathan McKinnon vs. Connor McDavid is presented each year by the Internet Dollars for the crown of the best player in the world. Gabriel Landskog vs. Leon Drysitol for Best Adjutant. Mikko Rantanen Vs. Zach Hyman for the best guy you didn’t plan to target but would be compelled. The best team in the game vs. the team that was considered the best team in the game since McDavid was drafted seven years ago. Jared Bedner vs. Jay Woodcraft in a coaching battle that you never thought about. Mike Smith vs. Mike Smith. If it is not seven games and with multiple overtime, we will be cheated.
Compared to the Eastern Conference Final, where Tampa Bay, trying to win its third cup in three years, battling the New York Rangers, wanting to win their third cup since the start of World War II, the West is looking for that gem as a crown. Thunderbolts are like watching a snake eat: it is not very fun except for the part of the jaw that is detached. In addition, they are all excited for the return to Braden Point, whose core temperature never rises above 63 degrees. And the Rangers are Eger Shestarkin taking more shots than more than 100 goalkeepers and Chris Kraider is waiting to pinch a defender very aggressively.
Edmonton is the successful overchiever who fired his coach midway through the season because the Oilers were the only Oilers, in 10th place and far ahead of Vancouver and San Jose. Colorado is a scary underachiever who hasn’t reached this post-season level in 20 years.
But don’t think anything of that. Those of you who don’t watch hockey much because you think it’s still more interesting to argue why Andre Igudala was named the 2015 NBA Finals MVP just want to know about McKinnon and McDavid. You want to see them on the ice every minute where there is ice to play and you want to be unreasonably angry for every second of every 38 minutes of the game that they are not playing. You want to know what all this fuss is about and you’ve been told that these guys can explain it to you without a word exchange.
It won’t be so easy, to be honest. They both play a third of the game because asking too much is too much to ask, so you have to do what you hate the most: pay attention. Don’t worry too much about missing it though; TNT McMinnon-McDavid will rum your pihole with bathroom plunger. This time, though, the network can be forgiven for its dog’s pursuit of painfully obvious. This is the biggest and last best moment of the cup this season. There is no more pressure than that. There is no World Cup full of summer you have to lose.