It takes a lot for me to cheer for a New York team over a Boston team. Basically, three things need to be in place:
- a salary cap (so New York doesn't try to buy a title)
- a roster of decent human beings on the NYC side
- the Boston team has to have Tom Brady
That is why I was disappointed when the Bruins were eliminated by the New York Islanders in the East final last night - even though I probably should have been rooting for the Islanders the whole time.
Many of these Bruins players have won a title, or at least played in a recent Stanley Cup final. Taylor Hall is not one of them. I could say that I wanted Boston to win one for Hall, but I sometimes forget he's on the team.
It's hard for me to make the case that a team with Brad Marchand on its top line can be considered more likeable. And Long Island isn't exactly New York City. But these Islanders aren't exactly "Saints" themselves. Maybe Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy has a point. Maybe the B's reputation precedes them and the two (French-Canadian) referees swallowed their whistle for the Isles in the series.
Regardless, the better team won. And I should be happy about that, considering that team looks a lot like my favorite team.
Kyle Palmieri played 5 1/2 seasons with the Devils before being shipped to Long Island in an April trade.
Travis Zajac was also included in that trade. The longtime Devil played over 1,000 games for New Jersey in his 14+ seasons with the team.
Veteran defenseman Andy Greene served as captain of the Devils until the team traded him to their tri-state rivals last season.
Former Devils goalie Cory Schneider signed with the Islanders in January but didn't see any NHL action.
And who assembled this Devil-heavy squad? The same man who built a three-time Cup winner in Jersey.
Uncle Lou couldn't lead the Leafs to a Stanley Cup title, which led many so-called "experts" to think the game had passed him by. Time to retire, Lou. Let an analytics whiz kid take over. (How'd that work out?)
It's become clear that no one can build a winner in Toronto. Not Lou, not Kyle Dubas, not John Ferguson. No one. Perhaps the Leafs should give Theo Epstein a call. He knows a thing or two about ending long title droughts with high-profile franchises.
The New York Devils - er, Islanders - take on Tampa Bay in the conf- er, semi final. I'm sort-of a Lightning fan as three of my favorite players happen to be playing for the defending champs. But I'd be happy with seeing one more celebration (or two) at the old Nassau Coliseum.
Thanks for reading!