21 June 2006

Hockey: Southern style

If two states south of the Mason-Dixon, east of the Mississippi win the Stanley Cup back-to-back, and Canadians and northern folk won't recognize it, does hockey still belong only up North?

This year marks the second consecutive season a Southeastern division team has won the Stanley Cup. Sure, neither of the finals had powerhouse clubs like Detroit, Dallas, or Colorado, but guess what? Those teams lost in their divisionals. "The Eastern Conference is weak." But you don't see the Eastern Conference of the NBA winning their championship even though it is by far weaker (the Pistons have been the only non-Michael-Jordan Eastern team to win the NBA finals since Boston in 1985).

Let's hope this puts to bed the idea that the South is only good for college football, sweet tea, and 'nana pudding. There's a good and growing hockey product developing here in the South. Two Cups. That's two cups more than two of the original six since the time of expansion. And by the way, remember, Carolina started in Hartford. Which of those two cities has been more successful in terms on winning in the playoffs? 'Nuff said.

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