Cleat Geeks

Ask the “GEEKS”; Stanley Cup Final

We have four resident hockey writers currently contributing for and I asked them to answer two simple questions. 1) who will be hoisting the Stanley Cup at seasons end? 2) Why. Here are their responses.2015 Stanley Cup Final

From Gaby Garcia

gabbyGarciaI believe the Chicago Blackhawks are going to win the Stanley Cup this year. You may think it’s because I’m from Chicago and a huge Chicago sports fan, so I’m biased. I do think it’s their time again; they have made it this far after a rough season. Jonathan Toews has been unstoppable in the playoffs and Corey Crawford has been better than ever recently. The Lightning will be a tough opponent, but I don’t see them beating the Blackhawks to win it all. Tampa has awesome speed, but the Blackhawks have an awesome defense, good enough to stop them. The Blackhawks have the experience and they check all the boxes required to be the champions again this year.

From Emma Braxton & Elizabeth Atwood

As a neutral hockey fan between the two teams it’s a tough prediction. If you believe that the team with the most experience will come out on top then the facts would leave you to have faith in the Blackhawks. This is the team’s third trip in six years. They aren’t old, but they are certainly wise in their runnings. Compared to the Hawks, the Lightning are a young team to say the least. They also haven’t had as many chances in the finals with their last opportunity being in 2011, and their last win being in 2004. While the Bolts are going to have to keep an eye on the Hawks’ attack, Chicago may have to look after the Lightning’s power play. The Lightning scored at least one power play goal in their last five of seven games against the Rangers, and while it might be argued that the Hawks have a stronger power play than the Rangers, the Bolts still come out with a high and strong statistic.As for the goalies, neither of the finals’ goalies are typically consistent. Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks, has been pulled a few times but, has bounced back. Ben Bishop has had two shutouts in the past five games but, allowed five goals in the other three games. Out of the two, the advantage would most likely fall to Bishop, looking at the facts. Lately he has been rock solid and has put the shakiness behind him.

The edge would be given to the Hawks according to the facts here.

From Andrew HeliotisandrewH

Ever since Lightning captain Steven Stamkos entered the league in 2008, he has long flirted with the idea of being one of the top two or three best players in pro hockey. Now in his 7th season and playing in his first Stanley Cup final, this is Stamkos’ first real chance to prove he can captain a successful franchise and make a lasting impact on the league. Stamkos already has a scoring title under his belt, but he needs a cup. If he and the rest of the Lightning can continue to dominate goaltenders in the postseason – like what happened to King Lundqvist last round, the Lightning will not only win the Stanley Cup but be in cup contention for many years to come.

From Justin Brown

justinBrownCome Playoff time, you have to throw the stats out the window and view it from a greatly different stance. Common sense is replaced with perseverance; schemes, replaced with heart. It’s the time of the season that one push or bounce can change the outcome of a game, and ultimately the series. In this year’s final series, there really isn’t a cut and dry “underdog,” (though fans of each side may state otherwise) but for all intense purposes I’ll make my pick. 

I am definitely pulling for the St. Louis native, Ben Bishop and the Tampa Bay Lightning, though history shows that until proven otherwise, the Blackhawks are just one of two teams (L.A. Kings) in recent history that have more than proven themselves. This may be the greatest advantage of either team in this series. A proven contender in Chicago, against a very young and talented Tampa Bay team. 

The matchup will be an overall tight series and I don’t expect it to go any less then at least 6 games. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see a blowout game or two for either side. For those that believe in the West (cumulatively the greater Conference in the last few years) and don’t watch too much of the East; don’t expect the Lightning to collapse, especially with Tampa’s Bishop backstopping the net. Bishop is well known for rarely ever having two shaky/goal ridden games in a row. For this reason, I’d say the advantage in net belongs to the Lightning, even though Chicago’s Crawford has settled in nicely after a very shaky beginning to this year’s 1st Round of the Playoffs against the Nashville Predators. 

The Lightnings top forwards in Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan and Tyler Johnson will definitely give the Hawks Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa a run for their money and I expect that each of the rest of the club’s forwards will fall into place with consistency. If the Lightning can emphasize one glaring weakness of the Hawks, it’s Chicago’s depleted D core. Mix that in with Tampa’s ability to score at will all year and they’re definitely not outmatched.

Looking at the whole, will the foundational experience of the Hawks be enough to collapse this young Lightning team? Again, until proven otherwise I’m going with the Hawks in 6 (Possibly 7).

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