I thought we’d see a much more confident and assertive Devils squad than the one that showed up in a 6-1 drubbing in Game 6. You could make up all sorts of excuses about the refs, but the one call they needed to get right, the dangerous Steve Bernier hit on Rob Scuderi, they did get right.
When the Kings pumped a third powerplay goal past Martin Brodeur, the game was over. It’s one thing to pump one, maybe two, pucks past playoff MVP Jonathan Quick, let alone three. When Jeff Carter glided in from the blueline and floated a rolling puck over Brodeur’s right shoulder and put the Kings up 4-0, you might as well have started engraving those names on the Cup. But good on the Kings, well deserved, especially Mike Richards and Darryl Sutter.
One of the worst things about the NHL is that teams like to mimic each other. Once a team wins a Cup, the other 29 teams will want to “borrow” that winning formula. When the Red Wings won Cups, it was because they had hardened, experienced veterans who knew what it took to win. In the years of Brodeur and Roy, and the Conn Smythe-winning performances of lesser stars like J-S Giguere and Cam Ward, everyone felt elite goaltending was the magic ingredient. That notion was destroyed pretty quickly when Cup finalists Philadelphia and Chicago trotted out Antti Niemi and Michael Leighton. When the Bruins won the Cup, everyone wanted to get tougher. (Which is also yet another reason why dealing Hodgson for a project like Zack Kassian, whose skill set obviously doesn’t and hasn’t meshed well with the skill-heavy Canucks, was a terrible decision.)
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