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Pros and Cons of the remaining Stanley Cup Playoffs teams

With the Washington Capitals season coming to an abrupt end Wednesday night at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens fans immediately began looking for their next fix. Some looked to the Caps’ AHL affiliate- the Hershey Bears- to fill this gap. Some threw in the towl on hockey altogether, and immediately dusted off their Nationals gear. Others spun in a circle, looking as lost as Alice in Wonderland.

But after committing to the longest season of any other sport, and being smack-dab in the middle of the Stanley Cup playoffs, we couldn’t cash our chips in. Only problem- we aren’t sure to who to root for. We phoned friends, polled the audience, and used whatever else the other third lifeline was to determine the pros and cons of each of the remaining teams.

So take a look. Leave your thoughts in the comments section. Be sure to vote in our poll, which is nustled neatly under the aptly named “poll” widget along the right side of our main page. And be sure to tune in tonight as the puck drops on the Eastern Conference semi-finals at 7PM on Versus.

What are you waitin’ on? Chrismas?! Make the jump!

WESTERN CONFERENCE:
San Jose Sharks
Pros:
- If we can root for the Sharks, and help them pull out some victories – perhaps the hockey gods will smile upon us in the coming seasons.  Remember, it was just one year ago that the Sharks were in the same position as the Caps:  Presidents’ Trophy winners that were bumped out in the first round.  Good fortune for them this year could mean good fortune for us next year.
- Dan Boyle is now remembered as “the guy who put the puck in his own net in a playoff game.”  I happen to like Dan Boyle, and I’m sure a Stanley Cup would make his faux pas a thing of the past.
- Keeping the San Jose Sharks in the playoffs prevents them from assigning Jason Demers, Logan Couture, and Dwight Helminen to Worcester of the AHL.  Worcester is tied with Manchester in the AHL Atlantic Division Finals 2-2.  If Hershey comes up against Worcester in the Eastern Conference Finals, it’d be nice to do so without worrying about recent NHL reassignments.  

Cons:
- Rooting for Dany Heatley hurts.
- While Mascot SJ Sharkie is geared toward entertaining children, he’s also prone to scarring them for life.
- Rooting for San Jose means a lot of late nights – and I really only like to lose sleep over my own team. 

Detroit Red Wings
Pros:
- Hossa left the Pens to pursue a Cup with Detroit and the Pens won the Cup.  Hossa left Detroit to pursue a Cup with Chicago.  Wouldn’t it be kind of nice to see him get smacked in the face again?
- The City of Detroit has hit some hard times.  The city deserves something positive in the wake of the economic crisis. 
- Cameron wore a Red Wings jersey in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Cons:
- It’s the Red Wings. 
- Does anyone else watch that series on the NHL network about what players and coaches do with the Stanley Cup?  Remember Mike Babcock dressed as a cowboy and dancing in a barn?  I like that he did it for charity, but I don’t ever need to see him do that again.  
- I prefer my calamari fried and served with a side of Fra Diavolo sauce – so I can hardly condone their obsession with octopi throwing.

Chicago Blackhawks
Pros:
- It’d be nice to see some of the Young Guns from the Western Conference get some accolades.
- Their Winter Classic Jersey was sick.  I’m not usually a fan of Chicago’s style – but I have to give credit where credit is due.
- The “Blackhawks Mini Olympics” videos.

Cons:
- I can root for the Blackhawks.  I can’t root for Hossa.
- When I go to Toronto and head to the Hockey Hall of Fame, I really don’t want to have to see Huet’s name on Lord Stanley’s Cup.
- Any city that willingly puts a mural of one of their “Young Guns” faces on the side of a building, but manages to butcher Johnathon Towes’ nose, making it resemble Tyler Kennedy’s is a laughingstock  Poor, poor Johnny.  Oh yeah – they also put the Stanley Cup in that Mural – and Karma is a bitch.

Vancouver Canucks
Pros:
- I still very much enjoy the “Swedish Twins” Bachelor Party commercial from a few years ago. 
- The Caps/Bears ties in Vancouver – Matt Pettinger, Lawrence Nycholat, & The Bears’ Ashton Rome’s big brother Aaron Rome.
- Maybe if they make it to the finals and lose (circa 1994), we can watch their fans burn stuff again!

Cons:
- Painting a “C” on your goalie mask and calling yourself a Captain…  if this works out for Vancouver, it could start a trend.  While I don’t disagree with Luongo being Captain (he seems to be a great leader for Vancouver) I don’t think the world is ready for “Czarlamov” to take on a whole new meaning.
- Same as San Jose – late nights to stay up and watch their games – and I’ve already lost enough sleep over the Caps.
- Watching to Stanley Cup Playoffs reminds of the Caps loss, watching the Canucks in Vancouver reminds me of Team USA’s loss.  This opens a lot of wounds.

EASTERN CONFERENCE:
Montreal Canadiens:
Pros:
- They’re facing the Pens.
- Now that we’re no longer being victimized by Halak, I’d certainly like to sit back and pay attention to his game instead of cursing at him.
- PK Subban is a beast.  I really noticed him at the AHL All-Star game/Skills Competition this past year.  If Montreal keeps going, I won’t have to notice him in the Calder Cup Finals if it turns into a Hamilton/Bears showdown. 

Cons:
-  I was in Hamilton in 2007 and saw Carey Price raise the Calder Cup.  It’s not pretty to see a snotty nose brat raise a trophy.  Despite playing himself into a backup role, I don’t think I could stomach him raising another cup.  Once was enough.
- You can’t start rooting for people that just a few days ago you swore you’d cross the street to punch in the face
- I think in Habs culture it’s a rite of initiation to paint your face and don a false afro.  I’m not really up for that. 

Boston Bruins:
Pros:
- You gotta love a team that spites a rival by cheering wildly for a foreign national anthem.
- Shouldn’t Mark Recchi be in a retirement home somewhere?  He’s not kidding when he says he plays with/against guys half his age.  You gotta respect the old man.  Personally?  I’d like to see Recchi win a cup just because Pittsburgh told him to “<trade> himself” a few years ago.  That’s a good way to show you still had/have plenty of gas left in the tank, Mark. 
- Have you seen their Bruins Hockey Rules videos?  You should.  Hilarious!

Cons:
- Brad Marchand is a joke.  No seriously, he is. This happened when the Providence Bruins were visiting Hershey this year.
- A vote for the Bruins is a vote for the Red Sox.  Can’t do it. 
- The TD Garden’s policy for serving Alcohol to those from out of State.  Really, TD Garden?  I have to show TWO forms of ID to purchase beer?

Philadelphia Flyers:
Pros:
- Geographically, they’re the closest team to the Capitals.  Emotionally, we have a respect for each other because we share a hatred for the “other” Pennsylvania team.
- I’m a Dany Syvret fan.  He played part of a season with the Bears a few years back.  When he started his first game and the Anthem was being sung, he held the blue line with his helmet on top of his stick and did not move until the Army Unit bearing the US Flag left the ice.  I knew nothing about him, but guessed that he had been raised by an American Military family.  I later discovered that he’s from Milgrove, Ontario.  You HAVE to respect a guy that shows that much respect for another country’s flag/anthem. 
- Do it for Laperriere.  After being named “The Hockey News” toughest player he took a slap shot above the eye that resulted in a concussion and a brain contusion.  Get well soon, Ian. 

Cons:
- Scott Hartnell.  Enough said.
- For the love of all that is holy, no more Kate Smith National Anthem to get everyone going.  Please.
- Philadelphia is where notorious athletes go to be treated like royalty.  TO? Check.  Iverson? Check.  Carcillo? Check.  Pedro? Check.

Pittsburgh Penguins:
Pros:
- I’m a closet Talbot fan.  He works hard, he stands up for his teammates (despite his small size), and takes joy in delivering pizzas to college kids waiting outside for student rush. 
- It’d be good to see our old pal Brent Johnson get his name on the Cup.
- Pens coach Dan Bylsma is proof that an AHL coach with no NHL experience can go all the way.  Kudos to him if he can do it twice.

Cons:
- I’m not being a hater when I say this, but Sidney doesn’t need anymore hardware.  Mario’s basement is full enough.
- I’m tired of Mike Milbury and his man crush on Crosby.  Milbury’s Don-Cherry-wanna-be rants have been on the air long enough. 
- As I’ve admitted before, my husband is a Pens fan.  I will NEVER give him the satisfaction of thinking that he converted me to the dark side.

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