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I just really want the Penguins to lose.

The NHL finally gets a Stanley Cup Finals between two major teams that non hockey fans might actually watch.

I hope Niklas Kronwall does this to a couple penguins.

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The question is: am I referring to the Red Wings or the Penguins?

Red Wings vs. Penguins looks like a foregone conclusion for the Stanley Cup Finals, which should make hockey fans, TV executives, and the NHL all happy.

Both teams are playing on a different level from everyone else.  The Penguins have an incredible 11-1 record in the playoffs, with their only loss coming against the Rangers in game 4 of that series.  The 11-2 Red Wings, meanwhile, are riding a 9-game winning streak and look pretty much unstoppable.

The only question left for the conference finals is whether both teams will sweep.  The Red Wings and Stars play game 4 tonight in Dallas, while Pittsburgh and Philadelphia play their game 4 tomorrow in Philly.

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The NHL handed down fines to each player, but the amount of each penalty was not disclosed.

I’m a little bit surprised that there were no suspensions. A butt-end to the face is very dangerous. Osgood is lucky he isn’t being suspended.

And what Ribeiro did to Osgood wasn’t all too different from what Chris Simon did to Ryan Hollweg last season, which got Simon a 25-game suspension. Don’t get me wrong, what Simon did was definitely worse. But really the only difference was that Simon was more malicious and hit Hollweg in the neck/face. Ribeiro hit Osgood in the chest. You’re telling me that Simon should get 25 games and Ribeiro should get ZERO?? That’s incredibly inconsistent.

In my opinion, it is completely unacceptable to 2-hand chop someone no matter where you hit them. There should be no place for that in hockey and Ribeiro is lucky he won’t miss any games.

Here is the article from espn.com

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After a fairly boring 3rd period, things got pretty interesting after the buzzer sounded to end game 2 of the Western Conference finals.

Chris Osgood used the butt-end of his stick to poke Dallas’ Mike Ribeiro as he skated through the crease at the end of the game. Ribeiro then turned around and, from behind the net, with 2 hands on his stick, slashed Osgood across the chest.

Here’s a video from TSN.

It’s clear that Osgood gets Ribeiro with the butt end of his stick as Ribeiro skates past the crease. But even if he got poked in the face, I think Ribeiro completely overreacted. You just don’t 2-hand chop someone across the chest. Especially not the goalie.

If I had to guess, I would say he’s going to be suspended for at least a game. The TSN commentators don’t think the NHL will suspend Ribeiro, but considering the recent emphasis the NHL has placed on end-of-game fisticuffs, my money is on a suspension.

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Starting next season, the NHL will revert back to the system used before the lockout.  Each team will play the other four teams in their division six times (3 home games and 3 road games) and play the other 10 teams in their conference four times (2 home games and 2 road games).  The remaining 18 games will be played against the teams in the other conference.  That ensures that each team will play every other team in the league at least one time during the regular season.

Beginning with the 2005-2006 season, the NHL started using a new schedule structure.  The new system had each team play 2 additional games against the other four teams in their division (four home games, four road games).  They still played four games against the ten teams in the other two divisions in their conference (2 home games and 2 road games).  The remaining 10 games were played against ten teams from the other conference (5 at home against one division, 5 on the road against another division).  Teams did not play the 5 teams in the third division of the other conference.  The interconference matchups rotated every season and after 3 seasons, every team had played every team in the other conference both at home and on the road once.

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Well now that my beloved Rangers are hitting the links, I have to decide which team I want to see win the Stanley Cup.

Eric, you’re going to root for an Eastern Conference team, right?

Nope! I was pulling for the Flyers to beat the Canadiens because, let’s face it, I don’t like the Canadiens or their fans. They can be a little… pompous. I also wanted the Flyers to win so that they would play the Rangers and we could get some revenge for booting us from the playoffs in 1997. But now that the Rangers are out and the Penguins are in, do you actually think I’m gonna root for our 2 division rivals?

I guess you have a point there. So now how do you decide between the Red Wings and the Stars?

It’s pretty simple. I just don’t like the Red Wings. At all. I was happy that Osgood and Hasek had amazing seasons. They helped me to second place in my fantasy hockey league (damn you, Marc!). But honestly, they are like the Duke basketball team of the NHL. Unless you are affiliated with them in some way, you don’t like Duke. The reason I actually root for Duke is that Marc went there. That, and the Drexel Dragons suck. Seriously though, they labeled themselves “Hockeytown.” Hockeytown? That’s like the Cowboys being labeled “America’s team.”
So I will be rooting for the Dallas Stars to win the Cup this year. Mostly because Henrik’s twin brother Joel is on the Stars. But also because of the reasons above.

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