So who would have picked the Oilers to be in the Stanley Cup Finals?
Not me. I didn’t even give them a chance against Detroit. Not many did.
However, tonight the Oilers return to the Cup final for the first time since 1990.
In what league can the 8th and last place team to barely qualify for the Playoffs beat 3 quality teams en route to a birth in the final? The new NHL. It seems the new rules and regulations that promised to make the NHL a more even playing field actually delivered on that promise.
It also proves that once the playoffs start the regular season really does mean nothing.
The best part of it is the Oilers are similar to the Canadiens in certain ways. A few key acquisitions to start the year (Pronger, Peca) a lucky/smart goaltender change at the right time (Roloson) and good coaching = a Stanley Cup birth.
It seems the Canadiens shared 2/3 of those qualities but not quite all of the pieces needed.
Who’s to say the Canadiens can’t complete the missing pieces of their puzzle in the off season and be the next Cup contending 8th place finishers?
The Oilers are not only representing Canada but every small market middle class team’s chances.