Epic: Closing Thoughts on Kings-Blackhawks, the Greatest Playoff Series of All-Time

Watching last night’s epic end to an epic Western Conference Final, a few things crossed my mind, and they probably crossed yours…

    • The Chicago Blackhawks and the L.A. Kings are the best two teams in the NHL, and it ain’t even close. That’s not to say New York can’t best Los Angeles – the Kings have, after all, played three seven-game series on their route to the final fight, and no team in NHL history has ever done that. But I definitely wish last night’s Game 7 was the Cup Final’s Game 7. And now I’m ready for a let down when I should be preparing for better puck.
    • Jonathan Quick’s a great goaltender. Drew Doughty’s a terrific defenceman. The Chicago Blackhawks are a great team… but Corey Crawford deserves a world’s worth of credit, and he never gets it. He’s often called a good goalie on a great team, but anyone who says that clearly doesn’t understand justhow difficult it is to be that guy. Ryan Miller couldn’t do it. Roberto Luongo could never do it. Tuukka Rask hasn’t filled Timmy Thomas’s (probably tiny) shoes yet, either. It’s not easy to be the good goalie on a great team, and we should all appreciate Crawford more for how he does his job.
    • That was the best series of hockey I’ve ever seen. End of discussion.
    • Darryl Sutter is the best coach in the game, and I’d consider Mike Babcock his only competition. No other coach in the NHL appears to inspire his players or control his players like Sutter, but he’s obviously not just a heartless dictator behind the bench (re: John Tortorella). Sutter gets the most out of his players and they all play a different style – you’ve got two-way Europeans (Kopitar), mobile d-men (Doughty), stay-at-home d-men (Mitchell, Greene), flashy scorers like Marian Gaborik, and all-around warriors like Justin Williams and Dustin Brown jiving with rookies Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. Sutter gets the most from every one of them and he somehow meshes them so their efforts funnel into the same outcome. He’s a true master of hockey.
    • Also, you should watch this…