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Here's who Mully thinks is heading to the Stanley Cup finals

With all of the different league playoffs, he says there's been spectacular hockey every night
2022 03 07 hockey-ice-rink-zamboni-pexels-tony-schnagl-6468601

The NOJHL champion Greater Sudbury Cubs finished up their season at the Centennial Cup held in Oakville. Sudbury got off to a slow start to the championship tournament and finished up the tournament on a strong note. The Cubs were 1 and 3, which was good enough for 4th in Group A.

Group A was won by the Ontario Junior Hockey League champion Collingwood Blues. It is the first CJHL National Championship for an Ontario-based team in 17 years.

Between the PWHL, NHL, and Major Junior hockey playoffs, we've been fortunate to see some spectacular hockey being played every night. Add in the IIHF Men's World Championship and it's a dream time for hockey fans.

Watching the Canada/Czech game had me exhausted after just a few minutes of play. The pace from the drop of the puck was absolutely frenetic. Yet the score was 0-0 after two periods.

Cozens' overtime shorthanded game-winner was a dramatic end to a fascinating hockey game. As has been the case for many of Canada's World titles, the team continues to get stronger with every outing.

Czechia/Canada at any level seems to provide some of the best hockey you can watch. I have always thought the Czechs and Finns have got that perfect mix of European and North American hockey that always seems to produce good hockey.

As a coach I always found three things (not including thuggery) that could make me nuttier than I already am. 

  1. Too many men penalties. From U/16 to pro that penalty is usually from a lack of awareness or a lapse in readiness. Or maybe it is too many failed math classes. Either way, I find it amateurish, embarrassing and unacceptable.
  2. Guys milking shifts AKA too long a shift. Unless you are caught out by extended pressure and can't get relief, there is no excuse for being out too long. It is selfish and disrespectful.
  3. Coasting to the bench on line changes. Changing on the fly is an important part of the game and teams that do it well gain a tactical advantage. In watching NHL games I am always amazed at how coasting to a change is so rampant. How often do you hear this during a game? "Well, a horrible change by the Tigers is really what led to that goal." Too many times, if you ask me. Fresh guys are waiting to jump on and guys are coasting to get off. Bust your butt to get off! You are either tired (see above) or friggin' lazy. Games are tight and teams need any advantage they can get.

I always remember when the Finns were here for an event a few years ago. A friend came up to the coffee shop to tell me Finland was practicing on-the-fly line changes over and over in practice. I went down to the ice to watch and lo and behold they were going at full tilt practicing line changes. I remarked to my friend that either they had a bad line change that cost them or it is a skill/tactic that they feel is important to practice. Pretty sure it was the latter.

I keep hearing about a lack of good available goaltenders in the NHL. One suggestion. Have you tried more scouting in Latvia? Just a thought.

OK, for most hockey fans now the fun really begins. The best four teams remaining in the Stanley Cup playoffs are ready to face off. Florida and Dallas are supposedly the early favourites. Could very well be. But I really like New York. Superb goaltending, a solid D corps, fast high-end forwards, some younger players who have seriously elevated their game, and enough maturity and toughness to handle Florida's physicality. This series has all the makings of a classic Eastern-style grind 'em up series. I'll take the Rangers.

Out west? Dallas has a deep, deep team. And right now nobody has a more wicked combo of rejuvenated veterans playing their best hockey in years and two super stars in the making young guns playing at break-neck speed and efficiency.

All Edmonton has is those two forwards and some guy sending missiles at the net. But for the 9,000th time, if Edmonton gets the tending they will win the series. Rangers/ Edmonton finals, says Mully. So that pretty much guarantees a Florida /Dallas Final.

Later skater.

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