Hockey Headlines: Canucks/Panthers Trade; Pens or Bolts?

The Sharks are in Uncharted Waters

They finally did it. Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and the San Jose Sharks are in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history, which is remarkable considering the great teams they’ve had. But getting to the end is no easy feat, and you could argue that no one deserves it more than this Sharks team. Missed the playoffs a year ago, fought against their playoff demons and arrived at their destination. [Sports Illustrated], [AOSN]

But this is no Cinderella story. The Sharks are the heavy favorite no matter who they face next. The Blues seemed out-matched in every facet of the game. Their only shot was to have their goalie steal some games, but it didn’t happen that way. The Blues were a step slow to every puck, and just couldn’t penetrate the Sharks defensive structure. Vladimir Tarasenko waited a little too long to arrive to the party, and San Jose’s depth just overwhelmed. [Today’s Slapshot], [The Hockey News]

Who Deserves it More?

The Tampa Bay Lightning are playing without their starting goalie and one of their best forwards. It makes for a good story, no doubt, to see them one win away from their second consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Final. But I would argue that Pittsburgh’s story is a lot more memorable. In case anyone forgot, they’re also playing with a young goalie in Matt Murray, who actually has less experience than Andrei Vaselivskiy. They’ve overcome countless injuries all season long, including the forced retirement of dressing room favorite Pascal Dupuis. [USA Today]

And oh yeah, they’re currently playing without their second-best defencemen, who broke his ankle on a fluke play. For a team that started out the gate so slowly, changed their coach, and had an incredible resurgence, I’d say the Penguins’ story is the one you should admire most. Yes, Tampa lost their captain for the playoffs, but he’s a captain who will likely leave in free agency anyway. I’ll say this. Both teams have put up a fight, the games have for the most part been very close, and it feels like a pick ’em tonight. Who you got? [TB Times], [Trib Live]

In Other News…

Who needs big, strong defensemen, right Florida? [Sportsnet], [CBS Sports]

Is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the odd man out in Edmonton? [Cult of Hockey]

Will Dan Girardi still be a Ranger next season? [Full Tilt NYR]

The NHL concussion lawsuit rages on. [Washington Post]

And finally, this guy keeps his promises. [Yahoo Sports]