Updated: May 16, 2015


Conference Championship

By:-Gary Norris Gray -BASN Staff Reporter

OAKLAND, CA.- One more round to go before a hockey champion is crowned. It will be the third year in a row that no Canadian team has reached the Conference Finals. It was good to see the number of Canadian teams in the 2015 playoffs, a vast improvement of play.

This year two of the original six, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks from the old school will take the ice while two of the last major expansion Tampa Bay Lightning and Anaheim Duck put on their jerseys.

The League still has to grapple with the geographical problems caused by the Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators. They are in the middle of nowhere.

Most of the Nation will be watching the New York-Tampa Bay series but in my opinion the best series will be the Anaheim- Chicago Series.



NHL_Eastern_Conference.jpgThe New York Rangers vs. The Tampa Bay Lightning

The Rangers are still flying high after the impressive Pittsburgh series victory. Big left winger Rick Nash has finally come home to Madison Square Garden and he was named team MVP for 2015. New York beat Crosby and Milken with a stiffeling defense. The Blueshirts did it again in the next round against Washington’s number 8, Captain Alex Ovechkin.

rick nash

“The King” Henrick Lundqvist looked good in net against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Then he shutdown Washington with outstanding play in the overtime stopping the Caps. If the King gets tired in the Tampa Bay series there is a young gun to back him up Cam Talbot. Cam took charge in the middle of the season helping the Rangers to win the President’s Cup. In order for the King to gain his crown he still has to win Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Marc Staal and Dan Boyle solidify the Ranger defense. Watch right wingers Martin St. Louis, and Mats Zuccarello. For St. Louis in will be a homecoming because he played most of his carrier in Lightning Bolt Blue

The young guns took charge in game six in Landover and game seven at Madison Square Garden. Center Derek Stephan scored the overtime winner on a rebound shot that moved the Blueshirts to The Eastern Conference Finals. It would not have happened if right winger Kevin Hayes had not played well in the second period.  While in game six Chris Kreider saved the Rangers from going fishing early with a third period goal with 40 seconds left.

The Rangers went through a scoring drought in the Washington Series. New York cannot do this against Tampa Bay or they will be watching the finals on television.

150px-TampaBay logo

Tampa Bay just dominated the Montreal Canadiens all year long so that series was a dress rehearsal for the Conference Finals.

The Lightning looked like a machine against Les Habs. Tampa Bay found a way to put the bisket in the basket passed Cory Price and beat Montreal in the opening game of an overtime thriller in Canada. This set the tone for the rest of the series. Goalie Ben Bishop stood tall and made a name for him-self.

The Bolts are Lightning fast (pun intended). They can trap teams in three – two odd man rushes which puts pressure on the opposing goalie.

Tampa Bay Lightning Headshots

Center and captain Steve Stamkos and Tyler Johnson are the scoring leaders and offensive organizers. Goal Brother right winger J.T. Brown scored a goal in the first game against Montreal. Brown is another up and coming Black player in the National Hockey League.

These are the two best offensive teams in the east so this should be a very hot scoring series.

The power play and penalty kill will be the difference in this series. The New York Rangers have set plays on face-offs. If the Bolts can disrupt the flow they should win.

The Lightning won the season series

new york rangers




 Chicago Blackhawks vs. Anaheim Ducks

If you never heard the National Anthem sung at Chicago’s United Center, you are in for a spine tingling with a thunderous ending. Wonder if the United Center crowd will sing that silly bee bop song at the end of this series too? Time will tell.

when a student at Southern Ill. University- Carbondale we found that many Blackhawk fans filled the Mid-west campus during the hockey playoffs. It was natural to root for the red, black, and white.

The Hawks and the Los Angeles Kings are as close to a dynasty as you’re going to get in this sport. Both teams have dominated the Western Conference Finals with ten appearances the last six years with four Cup victories.

This will also be the third year in a row the Blackhawks travel to Southern California and the City of Angels.

The Hawks have fixed their goalie problems. Cory Crawford stumbled and bumbled into the playoffs while Scott Darling saved Chicago at the end of the season and the first playoff round with stellar goalie numbers. The coach seems to have to made that decision and its number 33.

Chicago Blackhawks v New York Islanders

Love the Chicago Blackhawk defense with Goal Brother Johnny Oduya, Brent Seabrook, and Michal Rozsival. They will have to slow down the Anaheim forwards.

Jonathon Toews will be the key and will slow down Ryan Getzlaf for Hawks victory.

The two Patrick’s, Sharp and Kane carried the team against the Minnesota Wild. They will have to do it again against the Southern California Boys.

The Hawk defense has to also stop Duck right winger Corey Perry.


O.K. living on the Left (west) coast one should root for the Anaheim Ducks- CAN’T DO IT. Those Nasty Ducks make me cringe every time Anaheim take the ice. The ugly brown, gold, and green uniforms, the Disney Corporation, and their arena is called The Pond. Who plays hockey in a pond, REALLY?

In Northern California most fans bleed TEAL and the San Jose Sharks.

The Ducks are enjoying the week swimming in the warm Southern California waters. They beat Calgary in five games giving them  time to rest and heal. Corey Perry missed a few practices but will start in game one.

They are the best in the west and they want the world to know it. The East Coast Bias kicked in because nobody knows east of the Mississippi River who these guys are. Watch left winger Jiri Sekac move the offense.

Goalie Frederik Anderson stood on his head in the Calgary series and had a very strong second half in net. Anderson will have to keep an eye out for big Hawk right winger Marian Hossa.

This series will be decided by special teams and the Chicago Blackhawks neutralizing the size of Anaheim with speed.




Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian. Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network on Blogtalkradio.com Disabled Community Activist. Email at garyngray@blackathlete.com


©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod



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