A Cinderella Story (2004)

It’s happened in the last few years: a Cinderella team has made the playoffs and wreaked havoc upon other, stronger teams. Last year there was, of course, the Mighty Ducks and the Wild. The Ducks only swept Detroit, beat Dallas, and then triumphed over the other team with the glass slipper. The Wild came from behind after being down 3-1 to the Avs and ‘Nucks to win the series. They did this twice. Of course, they got swept by the Ducks. Anaheim went on to the Cup final against New Jersey, but lost in 7.In 2001-02, the Carolina Hurricanes were the big surprise. After skating through three better teams, including the Leafs and Habs, they made the finals against the big bad Wings. The Wings finished them off in 5.

This year, lots of teams could be a surpriser. In the east, I don’t see any Cinderella team jumping out, except the Habs, but they are starting to evolve from ‘Cinderella’ to ‘could actually be a contender., so I won’t count them as ‘Cinderella’. But in the west, there are many waiting to jump up. Leading them is the San Jose Sharks. I said they were the biggest surprise this season, and they probably have the best chance of being the glass slipper team. YoungStar Christian Ehrhoff has really stepped up this year, and Evgeni Nabakov has been invincible in net. They will probably finish 2nd or 3rd, so they would either play Calgary (probably 6th) or any of the four teams competing for 7th (Oil, Preds, LA, and the Blues). If they finish 3rd, but make it by Calgary (whom they will most likely play), they will probably make the 3rd round.

The Calgary Flames may still be viewed as a ‘Cinderella’, although they have played very well this year. Mikka Kiprosuff is a possible contender for the Vezina. The team will probably finish 6th, and will play either the Avs or the Sharks. If they can make it past the first round, I predict they could make the third round.

The Nashville Predators, Edmonton Oilers, LA Kings, and St. Louis Blues (wow, I can’t believe I’m saying this about them), are all ‘Cinderella’ teams. They will not make it past the first round, according to me, because they will face tougher teams if they make the playoffs. Possible matchups would be the Wings vs. anyone of those four, or the Avs or Sharks against them. They will not make it past round 1.

Your thoughts and predictions?