The 2018 Stanley Cup and Who to Watch For

The 2018 Stanley Cup and Who to Watch For

May the best team win.
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It’s the middle of spring! Which means it’s Stanley Cup Playoff Season! This year there are plenty of talented and interesting teams in the running. The Playoffs started in April and we have just hit the end of round one and will start round two in this upcoming week. To win a series, a hockey team needs to win best of seven games against their opponent. In the last round, only two teams swept their round one opponent, two won the round in five games, two won in six and only one team won the round in seven games. Playoffs consist of three rounds of series against teams and then the final two winning teams to compete for the cup.

There are eight teams in the running for the Cup in round two with seven teams from the United States and only one team from Canada. There already have been some interesting match ups with two Pennsylvanian teams and two Californian teams going head to head as well as the seven game series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Boston Bruins. The next round will feature matchups of the Boston Bruins versus the Tampa Bay Lightnings, the Winnipeg Jets versus the Nashville Predators, the Vegas Golden Knights versus the San Jose Sharks and the the Pittsburgh Penguins versus the Washington Capitals.

I personally don’t think the Boston Bruins will get far, though admittedly I might be bias as a Toronto Maple Leafs fan. Though I will say, with the series they played, having botched a possible 4-1 win by losing two games, I don’t think they’re go as far against a team like Tampa Bay which has been number one in the NHL all season. In general, a lot of hockey fans dislike the Bruins, mostly due to the fact that the team tends to get away with way too much as far as penalties and bad sportsmanship, as well as the collective hatred of player Brad Marchand that many have nicknamed the “Rat King.” Most of his hatred this season came from the amount of suspension amassed due to injuring other players, his last major one giving him a five day suspension. It’ll be interesting to see how many games the two play in this series.

The Jets veres Predators matchup is also interesting as the Winnipeg Jets have never won a Stanley Cup before in the history of their franchise. It’ll be cool to see them make it far, however the Predators are a relentless team containing a very talented goalie, Pekka Rinne, as well as an incredible defensemen, P.K. Suban. The team had been finalists against the Pittsburgh Penguins last year, losing two nothing in game six. The Predators have been second in the league for most of the season, climbing to the second spot near the end.

The Vegas Golden Knights have proven to be a very tough team to beat despite being a rookie team. In their first ever season, the team has been in the top three consistently. They contain a slew of experienced characters from teams all over the league which adds to their strength however, it’s still rare for a team this new to be this good. Never in the recent history has a rookie team won a Stanley Cup, but due to great players like goalie Marc Andre- Fleury and James Neal, they are definitely a team to watch out for. As for the San Jose Sharks, they are an interesting team in the running as well. This team has also never won a Stanley Cup but have been finalists for the 2016 cup. And let’s be honest, we can’t get enough of the gnarly beast on the ice who is Brent Burns. I mean look at those teeth.

And finally, the matchup between the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins could also be interesting, however peoples money seems to be on the Penguins. Last year, they won the cup against the Nashville Predators and also won against the San Jose Sharks in 2016. One player, Sidney Crosby has been called by a lot of sportscasters as possibly the best player in the NHL right now, (next to Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers) due to his hight stats. Personally I’m sure how the Capitals will do. They haven’t been entirely remarkable in series so far and their only star player really is Alexander Ovechkin. In all honesty I can’t really see them giving the Penguins much of a fight. Who knows, they might surprise us.

Personally, I’ll be rooting for the Vegas Golden Knights and the Nashville Predators because I find the way both teams play to be very interesting, but only one of the two will make it to the finals. There are a lot of teams in the running who already have rivalries, most notably Predators and Bruins especially the rivalry of P.K. Subban and Brad Marchand who both used to play for the Montreal Canadiens. As well as the the Predators and the Penguin; and the San Jose Sharks and the Penguins who have both competed in the most recent Cups. Either way, it’ll be a very fun series. Who are you rooting for?

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Dear Oklahoma, Please Take Care Of Jalen Hurts

He's one of the good ones, we promise.

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Dear Oklahoma fans, coaches, and players, please take care of Jalen Hurts.

When Hurts graduated in December of 2018, everyone in the Alabama fanbase knew that a transfer was coming soon. After showing his distinct character and loyalty to the Alabama Crimson Tide by choosing to play the 2018 season, even though he would be second in line to Tua Tagavailoa, Hurts deserves this chance to make the best decision for himself. The selection process regarding where Hurts would end up this upcoming season was kept relatively private, which of course open the doors to countless predictions from fans and analysts.

However, I can confidently say that I was not the only one shocked at his choice, but I whole-heartedly support it.

Home to two Heisman-winning quarterbacks, Oklahoma is a more than a smart choice on Hurts' behalf. Within that program, he will be given ample opportunity to improve his craft in order to put himself in the best position for a successful career post-college. The Sooners obviously have an incredible program that leads players down the best paths to be as successful as possible, and that is all Alabama fans want for our beloved quarterback.

With all this being said, I, as an Alabama fan, just ask the Oklahoma Sooners to take care of Jalen and realize how special of a player he is.

With Hurts at quarterback, you will never have to question his effort or loyalty to his teammates. He will always carry himself with grace, no matter the situation. If you give him an opportunity to succeed, he will put forth all of his effort in order to take advantage of it.

Jalen Hurts is one of the most special players, and young men, to ever wear an Alabama Crimson Tide uniform. All that we ask is that you support him as we have these past three years.

Roll Tide.

Sincerely,

Every Alabama Fan

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