We’re not capable of changing the past (yet). We know what happened. Chicago won the Stanley cup, on Philadelphia ice. Leighton let in a soft goal, and was pretty bad in the Finals. But sports fans always love playing the “what if?” game. If this were different, that were different, the outcome would be different. It’s a fun argument, but one that can never be resolved. Still, here goes…
- Ray Emery never got hurt?: He’s already played in a Cup Finals. He’s been a winner at every level. Even in Russia, he excelled. Is he a top notch goalie like Ryan Miller, or Ilya Bryzgalov? No, of course not. But he’s miles ahead of Michael Leighton, Brian Boucher, and all of the other back-ups that played for the Flyers. If you look back on the regular season stats, yes, Leighton’s are superior. But let’s not forget that most of Emery’s games were played under John Stevens. The same coach who didn’t push the players, who changed line combo’s too often, and just didn’t know what he was doing. If all else stays the same, except Emery is healthy and plays throughout the season and the playoffs, maybe we’re the champs.
- Jeff Carter didn’t get hurt, twice?: He wasn’t the same player after the first injury as he had been before. He wasn’t skating as well, and his production certainly went down. Of course his fitness level wasn’t the same, either time he came back. He was firing shots, but just couldn’t light the lamp consistently. Maybe if he doesn’t get hurt, he plays more effectively, and helps pick up Richards and Gagne. Maybe with a healthy Carter the Flyers don’t rely solely on Leino-Briere-Hartnell in the Finals.
- Simon Gagne doesn’t get hurt?: While not the same scoring threat as Carter, he’s pretty close. When he came back against Boston, he contributed a ton. But as the playoffs progressed, he started to disappear. Another victim of poor fitness due to a foot injury? Maybe. So if he’s not hurt, and is able to play, again, things can be different. Maybe Boston doesn’t go 7, maybe it goes 5 or 6. Maybe he scores a few more in the Finals. Maybe he covers Kane, and Kane never gets any Finals goals.
- Mike Richards played in the Finals like he did in the first 3 rounds?: He pretty much disappeared, when the team needed him to keep leading. He tried to do other things, but scoring a few goals would help.
- the Flyers had won Game 1?: Both teams played like shit, but both teams managed to score a bunch of goals. The Flyers held a few leads, but a combination of no defense, and poor goaltending kept letting them slip away. What if the defense had played a little bit better. Keep Chicago to only 4 goals, and end up with a split. Now you go home, take a 3-1 series lead, and the Cup is pretty much ours.
I could keep going all day and night. I’m not even saying all of the above needed to happen for things to be different. But any of the above, and it’s a whole different story (possibly). Of course, every team can say the same things about things that went wrong. Oh well, it doesn’t matter. Still, looking back, it’s amazing to see how things could have changed if just one twist along the road had been slightly different.
To other things I want to mention:
- Jonathan Toewsas Conn Smythe winner: He was almost invisible in the Finals. I know, he won faceoffs, and did little things to help the team. That’s not what got him the C, or the contract. Sure, the team still won a Cup, so it’s nitpicking. But I think Patrick Kane was a bit more deserving of the award for playoff MVP. He had 1 less point, but spread his contributions out a bit more. And let’s not forget, he did score the Cup clinching goal. Maybe it was the ugliest, most anti-climactic goal ever, but it’s still the most important goal.
- Adam Burish: This bench-warming, scumbag, piece of shit decided to talk trash on Pronger after the final game. A reporter asked him what he thought of Prongs, and he called Pronger the biggest idiot in the league, and said if he saw him again, he’d probably punch Pronger. Hey Burish, your biggest contribution to the ‘Hawkswas when the coach benched you so someone else could play. You’re a no-talent asshole, talking trash about a future hall-of-famer. Pronger accomplishes more each season than you can dream of accomplishing in your career. You’re a nobody, a never-was, and history won’t have the chance to forget you, because you do not exist. Fuck off!
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