Saturday, June 14, 2014

A fun Stanley Cup Final and FIFA deals with headaches in Brazil

From where I sit it looks like a classic end to the Stanley Cup final...

For starters I'll claim partial points on predictions. I got the winner and overtime in the last game. I'm honestly pleasantly surprised going 10-for-15 in the post season.  It really isn't much of a surprise that the Kings managed to take the series in 5 games. In fact, what was a bit of a shock was the Rangers were so competitive. New York dominated long stretches of the series. Even at that the end result was never really in question. The Kings are full value for their win and managed to show how good the Western Conference is. Los Angeles won the Cup and a good argument can be made that they aren't the best team in the west. Chicago, Colorado, Anaheim, even the much maligned Sharks are powerful teams. Boston is the only team from the East that would present a real challenge to the top western teams. That being said, it was still a thrilling final. Given the three overtime wins, they played an equivalent of 6 games. It was eerily reminiscent of the 1993 final between LA and Montreal. But this time the Kings were ready and the Rangers just couldn't keep up.

Meanwhile, the World Cup is off to an interesting start to say the least...

The referees managed to overshadow everything for the first two and a half games. That is until the Dutch decided to show Spain some beautiful football. Dubious penalties and cards marred the first couple of games, and even in the early stages of the Netherlands-Spain match the decisions were questionable at best. Then we saw a return to Total Football. The Orjane showed speed, skill, tenacity and a healthy dose of magic in a second half that was as stunning as it was fantastic. Thankfully, it seems the onslaught of goals from Holland managed to settle everything down. Subsequent matches have shown pace and style, but little in the way of controversy. I know I'm a couple of days late, but here's my picks. It will be a challenge to take Brazil off their perch as favourite, but their road to the final will probably run through either Spain of Holland. Germany and Argentina seem set for a smooth run through to the semi finals. Naturally both England and Italy have their supporters, but will be hard pressed to find themselves in the late round matches. But who will win? Argentina feels like a safe pick. But I'm a proud Dutchman. So, I'm following my heart and picking Holland to finally remove their names from the list of also rans.

At least that's how I see it, and I sit in the cheap seats.

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