Panthers vs. Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Finals. Are you pumped? –

So who are we pulling for here? What storylines do we care about? Are there any storylines?

You’ve got a recent expansion team going up against a Florida team that has a couple of former Flyers in Sergei Bobrovsky, Alex Lyon, and Radko Gudas. Not sure anybody here gives a shit, but it would be cool to see Bob lift the Cup. He’s played really well lately. The Panthers are a Wild Card team that knocked off Boston in round one, so there’s an angle to carve out, but Russ notes that it’s hard to call this a Cinderella run considering Florida won 58 games and led the NHL in points just last year.

The only other point of focus is that one of these franchises will win its first title. Same for the captains in Mark Stone and Alex Barkov. That makes this better than seeing the Blackhawks or Penguins in the finals again.

I suppose we could be angry that the Knights are a fantastic organization and the Flyers haven’t won it since the 70s, but a lot of NHL teams can make that same claim. Toronto, Buffalo, and Vancouver fans probably feel the same way.

As a brief exercise, we asked readers and XL staffers to name as many current Knights and Panthers as they could, and we came up with this:

  • Kinkead: Jonathan Marchessault, Mark Stone, Jack Eichel, Alex Barkov, Aaron Ekblad, Matthew Tkachuk, Sergei Bobrovsky, Radko Gudas, Carter Verhaeghe, some guy named “Duclair,” and Alex Lyon
  • employee 1: “nobody”
  • employee 2: “Bob, Jack, and Tkachuk off the top of my head”
  • employee 3: “I couldn’t name five non-Rangers”
  • employee 4: “Keith Tkachuk’s kid”
  • employee 5: “Bobrovsky and Tkachuk were the only ones I got”

I just wrote “employee” to spare these people the embarrassment. The best effort was from a Boston Twitter follower who plays fantasy hockey:

It’s probably going to be the worst-rated Stanley Cup Finals in a long time. No big market teams, no household names, none of that. The hockey will be good, though, so maybe we can watch and enjoy as neutrals. Better than the Phillies pitchers tossing up meatballs.