Here's a fellow hockey player's hopeful 2018 champion pick.

The Stanley Cup Finals, Hockey's Most Exciting Time of the Year: Who are You Pulling For?

It's time to hoist the cup in celebration of the 2017-2018 season. Here's a take on these two conference champions and my hopeful winner of it all.


In 1892, the Stanley Cup was reported at face value of 10 guineas, equal to approximately $50. This was the actual price of Sir Frederick Arthur Stanley, Lord Stanley of Preston and son of the 14th Earl of Derby, paid for the trophy. His plan: present it to the "the champion hockey team in the Dominion of Canada." The trophy would then serve as a reminder of Fredericks' time as Canada's governor general. The National Hockey Association, before the NHL, would then take possession of the trophy in 1910 – serving as the catalyst of "an interleague championship series at the end of the season." By standard math, the cup turned 126 this 2018 season. However, this 2017-2018 was a special season beyond just the cup's age.

This season the league introduced a new franchise, the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Without going into too much detail, the team's inaugural season landed themselves in first place in the Pacific division, with a record of 51-24-7. Not only did the Knights have a favorable set up in the expansion draft, but they also made several crucial decisions outside of that draft to enhance the team (i.e., grabbing Fleury as goalie from the Penguins and finesse forward, Marchessault, from the Panthers); as well as having players perform that no one could've expected. If anything, all of the pieces seemed to fit and perform incredibly, at every moment.

Now, let's look at the Eastern Conference representative, the Washington Capitals. The Caps finished their season at the top of the Metropolitan division with a record of 49-26-7, only a two-loss difference from the Knights. As any hockey player knows, your winning record in the regular season means "jack squat" to your performance in the playoffs. When the playoffs arrive, it is essentially a clean slate for everyone – a tournament to show the best of the best, compete to the grit, and hoist the cup in the end. For as long as I can remember, the Caps were a team who continually fell victim to a first or second round knockout, especially to the heavily dreaded, Pittsburgh Penguins. These two franchises have a very deep-seeded playoff history, with 11 total series coming head-to-head. Out of those 11, the Pens won every single series, except for the 1994 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. If you want the true statistics, Pittsburgh's reign of terror includes a record of 40-27 in the postseason over the Capitals. This year, the Capitals met the Penguins in the second round, leading the series three games to two, heading into game six. The hockey stars aligned for the hungry Caps as they managed a 2-1 win over the back-to-back defending champions, sending them home for an early offseason!

It's safe to say that some people flat out don't enjoy hockey. However, if you've ever managed to watch clips of hockey players hoisting the cup in the air in celebration, there's something about that scene that sends chills down your spine. Wayne Gretzky, former Edmonton Oiler, L.A. Kings, and New York Ranger, "The Great One," stated "There's so many good things about the game of hockey, but the greatest things about our sport are our history and our tradition and, without question, the Stanley Cup is probably the greatest trophy in all of sports." So, why root for a team, or more importantly these two particular teams?

Vegas will be the first, and very likely, only expansion team to ever win a championship in its inaugural season, in sports history. Point said, not if's, and's or but's. Washington will win its very first cup since inception in the league in 1974. I've got to say; these are two compelling reasons to root for these teams.

If you've made it this far into this article, it's time to share my hopeful winner. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, I firmly believe the Capitals have every sign of finishing this series in five games. Growing up and watching Ovechkin mature, develop, and excel in hockey has been a spectacle. He is hands down one of the best players in the game. When you come across players like him, you hope to witness a cup before they retire. Ovechkin is on the top 100 Greatest NHL Players' List, 19th in all-time goal scoring, three league MVPs, rookie of the year, and three players' MVPs; yet still no Stanley cup finish. The point here, when you grow up as a hockey player and see the talent of Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Chris Pronger, Teemu Selanne, Pavel Datsyuk, Jaromir Jagr, and plenty of others – you hope to see them hoist the cup; to celebrate a sport of true love. I know many have money and hopes for Vegas, but in the spirit of hockey – my hopes go to Washington and their conquest to win its first championship in franchise history.

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Professional Athletes Are Paid Too Much

Are pro-athletes really deserving of the monetary commission they receive?

For generations, children have aspired to become professional athletes. In the 1920's children wanted to be Babe Ruth; in 2012 children wanted to be Derek Jeter. The list of pro-athletes that influence the younger generation can go on and on. Looking back on elementary school yearbooks, the most common profession for youths has (and will continue to be) a professional athlete. Whether it involves the MLB, the NFL, the NHL, or any other professional league, children tend to pick this profession out of love for the specific sport. Yet, these innocent and uninformed children seem to strike gold by choosing one of the most economically successful jobs in the world.

While professional athletes dedicate most of their life to their respected sport, the amount they are paid to simply play games is absurd. For example, the average salary for a professional football player in the NFL is $1.9 million per year. Keep in mind that that is average, without external endorsements. Therefore, some athletes make much more than that. The crowd favorite Peyton Manning averages $19 million a year. Sports other than football also have averages that are incredibly generous. In the world of golf, the popular Tiger Woods makes more than $45 million a year. These pro-athletes make millions of dollars, most of whom have not received an outstanding education. In fact, some have not even received a college diploma.

Zooming out from the glamorous and indulgent world of professional athletics, taking a look at other professions seems to be much less appealing. How is it that jobs that are vital to the success of the public receive much less commission than jobs that revolve around running to catch a ball? The average pediatrician makes $173,000 a year. The average teacher salary is $50,000 a year. This does not mean that a professional athlete is any less of a hard-working, devoted, deserving professional. This also does not mean that the athletes have not pushed themselves and worked incredibly hard throughout the years to get where they are, but it does mean that there is a line where inequity takes over. Fame and fortune are showered upon athletes. Is it truly necessary to average out millions of dollars per year when people spend massive amounts of time researching and developing new policies, cures, or other ways to improve the condition of the world? The salary and status of professional athletes seems to be a major power imbalance in the world of careers.

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​A Division By Division Review Of April In The MLB

The 2019 MLB season is well underway, so it may be safer to make some predictions.


(All statistics referenced are from

Now that most teams have played at least 30 games, we are about 1/5 of the way through the 162 games for each team, which still leaves a huge amount of baseball to be played. However, a lot of predictions and inferences can be made with this large sample size of April, and while they may not hold up, they do have solid evidence behind them. So with that, let's review the pennant races after April.

NL East

The NL East is shaping out to be a competitive division this year, not because all the teams are exceptionally good, but because the teams are well-matched (excluding the MLB-worst Marlins). The Phillies got off to a hot start but cooled off for a bit and picked up steam again, winning seven of their last 10 to lead the division by 1.5 games over the Braves, who are also heating up. The Mets and Nationals are under .500 and slowing down.

NL Central

This division has been wildly competitive as of late, and going to be in my opinion the most fun to watch over the next few weeks. The red-hot Cubs have won their last 7 games, taking the top spot from the Cardinals, who have lost their last four. The Brewers and Pirates are also very close, 1.5 and 3 games back respectively, and on 3 and 2-game win streaks respectively.

NL West

The Dodgers and Diamondbacks have revived a strong rivalry and have kindled a strong battle already, playing good baseball, with both teams winning 7 out of their last 10. Both clubs already have 20 wins and are only aiming for more. The Padres are also starting to show signs of improvement, but it is likely that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will be the ones battling for their division.

AL East

Surprisingly, Tampa Bay continues their new success atop the AL East, two games over the Yankees. No one expected the Rays to jump out and lead the division, but they have started to maintain their success and seem to be here for real. Both the Yankees and the Red Sox are finally recovering after shockingly slow starts, 19-14 and 17-18 on the year respectively, good enough for 2nd and 3rd place in the division. If Tampa Bay can play well against the Red Sox and Yanks in their matchups, the Rays can distance themselves in the race.

AL Central

Another surprise, the Twins lead the AL Central by two games, over the Cleveland Indians, who many expected to lead the division this year. While the Indians are 18-14, their expected average factoring in Runs Scored and Runs Allowed should be 15-17, and every club in the AL Central has a negative run differential except the Indians, so it may be safe to say the Twins might be leading for a while.

AL West

In the AL West, the Astros have reclaimed the top spot and look to defend their title. The Mariners, whom no one expected to get to get off to the hot start that they enjoyed, have really fallen off and gotten themselves into a slump, dropping seven of their last 10 games to fall to a 19-17 record. The Astros will likely continue their success and stay atop the AL West

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