In Rory Boylen's ideal Cup final, Sidney Crosby would face off against Evgeni Malkin. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Let’s build the ultimate 2008 Stanley Cup final.
Like Dr. Frankenstein building a glorious marvel of scientific achievement with parts gathered, based on these playoffs, we’ll build a fantastic display of sporting competition with what we’ve seen so far.
Of course it would go to Game 7.
Of course John Stevens would be coaching against Mike Babcock.
Of course it would be played outdoors, in front of a white Winnipeg backdrop (all right, so that part isn’t based on the playoffs, but along the Red River is the only place it’s a dry, minus-50 degrees Celsius in June, right?).
And, of course, getting the polar bear out of the arena, the camera zooming in from a hot-air balloon above would witness No. 87 Crosby leaning over to face off against No. 71 Malkin. The two superstars, finally, would be able to settle the ultimate debate: Who would you rather have representing the jersey on your back?
Each would need a scoring winger, so while Alex Ovechkin next to Crosby is what gets any fantasy GM’s bow-tie spinning, for the ultimate series I’m putting Ovie next to his motherland brother. Disappointed? Well, Brenden Morrow is going to be taking Crosby’s passes around the net when this sucker goes into overtime.
So while both of those duos are instantly dynamic, the epic masterpiece now has a little Canada-Russia rivalry scraped in to boot, eh.
We have scoring, playmaking, speed, and we even have a gritty edge. Now we need some productive leadership.
Brendan Shanahan gets the nod to stand in front of the net on the Ovie-Malkin line to add some good old Canadian backyard bandy. And to best match up with Shanny’s tactics, slide in the slightly younger Tomas Holmstrom to cruise, creep and crash the crease.
On defense, a good mixture of intimidation and innocuous domination would best complement the scoring talent up front and still punish any who dare cross the blueline and into their domain.
The additions of Stephane Robidas and Brian Campbell add an odd but ample couple to support Crosby’s line, while Nicklas Lidstrom and Mike Komisarek would befuddle at both ends.
And the Pièce de résistance, the heart of the debate: the acrobatic Marty Turco vs. the twitching Marc-Andre Fleury. Let’s switch them up halfway through.
The rest of the team?
Give me two all-stars who will score and aren’t afraid to drop the gloves: Ryan Getzlaf vs. Jarome Iginla.
Get me two vets thirsty for a sip out of Lord Stanley’s mug: Jeremy Roenick vs. Owen Nolan.
Put together a loot bag full of happenin’ coming-out parties: R.J. Umberger and Ryane Clowe vs. Johan Franzen and Brandon Dubinsky.
Reinforce the fortification with stalwarts Zdeno Chara, Shea Weber, Dion Phaneuf and Mattias Norstrom then download the “heads-up” affect with Cory Sarich and John Erskine.
Add a wild card X-Factor: Gary Roberts vs. Peter Forsberg, and subtract it by about 20 years: Milan Lucic vs. Torrey Mitchell.
Don’t forget the catalysts to get the blood boiling: Steve Downie vs. Sean Avery.
And what would the best possible Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final be without two legends who could be taking their curtain calls: Jaromir Jagr vs. Joe Sakic.
Now we just need Bob Goodenow to pull the wool tuque over Gary Bettman’s eyes again so he can throw sticks and divide the spares.
Then, charge up Don Cherry by suggesting this game doesn’t belong in Canada…
THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
Rory Boylen is THN.com's web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.
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