The Ottawa Senators defied the critics this year by going deep into the playoffs. For years the senators have been a great regular season team but as soon as the playoffs started, they stopped scoring and their goaltending collapsed.
Heading into the finals the Heatley-Spezza-Alfredsson line was the most lethal line in hockey. But unfourtunately it wasn’t enough to score against the Ducks Two Towers on the blueline (Pronger and Niedermayer) and the Ducks experience. The Ducks team consisted of former Stanley Cup winners. (Niedermayer and O’Donnell) They also had players who made in to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals and were hungry for another chance to win. (Pronger and Giguere) The Senators were deficient in Stanley Cup Finals experience.
The NHL has expanded to the US South with mixed results. In order for the US to be successfully in the US hockey must succeed in America’s largest state. Gretzky’s arrival started the growth of hockey in California and with a Stanley Cup victory hockey’s has now made a permanent mark in California.