All hail the champs!
In a somewhat sad turn of events, the St. Louis Blues defeated the Boston Bruins (in Boston) to claim the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup this week. Just a day later, the Toronto Raptors vanquished the injury-depleted Golden State Warriors to win the first NBA Championship trophy for the entire country of Canada, and while these results might seem a little mixed up (wouldn’t it have made more sense if the American team won the NBA Finals and a Canadian team was hockey’s champion?) they offer resolution to those of us who’d been tracking the months-long playoff extravaganza that happens every spring into early June.
I am not sure what to say about the Blues beating my Bruins. They had the hotter goaltender in the final game, and that was really the difference. Jordan Bennington seemed like a brick wall in front of the St. Louis goal, and despite the fact Boston peppered him with 33 shots, they only managed to sneak in one and that goal was most definitely too little and too late. On the other side of the ice, St. Louis made the most of way fewer shot attempts, putting four pucks past Tuukka Rask to lock the win. I don’t have anything negative to offer about the Blues. They are a franchise I rarely even think about. Now they have a Stanley Cup while I get to spend the next few months with a nagging ache in my midsection. There is nothing worse as a sports fan than to see your team come within one win of a championship. Now I guess I am stuck waiting for next year.
The Raptors beating Golden State was certainly a more shocking outcome. The Warriors, after all, are our modern-day NBA dynasty. They were looking for the three-peat and appeared to have a team no one could match up against. Then they lost Kevin Durant and things seemed to even up some. Then, in Game 6 they lost Klay Thompson and all of a sudden, it seemed Toronto had more talent. As we said last week, the fans in Toronto who cheered Durant’s injury certainly did not deserve to see their team win. However, I think they were probably just a few bad eggs. In case you didn’t know, basketball was actually invented by a Canadian, so it seems fitting that the country finally has an NBA title to call its own.
Since we’re talking about the NBA, I wanted to finish by mentioning the trade that will bring Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers where he will join LeBron James in trying to restore some luster to the faded purple and gold. There’s no telling what New Orleans will get from all those first-round draft picks, but the loss of Lonzo Ball should be a good thing for the Lakers. While he seems like an okay guy and a decent player, just being rid of his father seems like a win. Brandon Ingram will be missed, but he can certainly be replaced. The fact of the matter is the NBA is a league driven by stars. If you don’t believe me, look no further than the two teams in the finals. Golden State looked like an all-star team while the addition of Kawhi Leonard dramatically changed the Raptors’ fortunes. If the Lakers can add a little more talent via free agency, it seems like LeBron should have a legitimate chance to win one last championship before his skills have completely eroded.