DU Alum Matt Carle To Play For Stanley Cup

(left) DU Alum Matt Carle will play in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks

From: ESPN Chicago
by Pierre LeBrun

An Original Six Stanley Cup finals this is not, and for that, some hockey fans may be sad. But the Philadelphia Flyers bring a storied hockey history of their own to the NHL's championship series with the Chicago Blackhawks, two huge hockey markets with teams looking to end long droughts.

The Flyers haven't won the Cup since the Broad Street Bullies were beating up opponents on the way to back-to-back titles in 1974 and 1975. Thirty-five years? Ha, that's nothing. The Blackhawks carry the burden of the NHL's longest drought, a 49-year stretch that the Madhouse on Madison wants no part of seeing reach half a century.

The Hawks, of course, are the favorites; they have been a powerhouse from the superior Western Conference from Day 1 this season. In September, the Flyers were picked by many (including this writer) to take the East, but a moribund regular season saw them struggle to make the playoffs despite a talent-laden lineup. They settled for the seventh seed in a mediocre Eastern Conference.

So, technically, they are the underdogs, but potent ones. That deep lineup finally figured it out this spring, somewhere around the time they were down 3-0 in the second round against Boston. The Flyers have won eight of nine games entering the championship series. While Chicago deserves the favorite label, this series could surprise people.

Most years, it stands to reason that when the Stanley Cup finalists line up, there are Norris Trophy-caliber defensemen on each side. While the jury might be out now regarding just how much you really need to spend on goaltending these days, it's certainly not the case on the blue line, where more and more teams are spending their cap space on the men controlling the defensive zone and keying the transition game from the back end.

Philadelphia has Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen, while Chicago counters with Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith -- four super-elite rearguards who have had a huge say in their teams' deep playoff runs. The supporting cast isn't too shabby, either, with Matt Carle and Braydon Coburn for the Flyers and Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brian Campbell for the Blackhawks.

KeyMatchup: Flyers' top defense duo of Pronger and Carle versus the NHL's hottest line, Patrick Kane, Toews and Dustin Byfuglien: The Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks are terrific hockey teams, but they had no answer for Chicago's top line, which has come up big for the Hawks game after game. Kane has been electrifying with the puck, backing up blueliners and creating space for his linemates. Toews, well, he just has points in 13 straight playoff games, a franchise record. Byfuglien? "Big Poppa" had three game-winning goals in the Western Conference finals alone. Scary proposition for Pronger and Carle.

13 comments:

puck swami said...

Carle has seen a lot of Toews at UND and Kane and Byfuglien in various USA HOckey camps. He'll get the job done.

Sara said...

sorry to burst your bubble. flyers are going down.

achsdu17 said...

want Chicago to win but a part of me wants Carle to get a cup.

Anonymous said...

Whole part of me wants Carle to get the Cup. Go Matt!

All you Chicago fans can have Toews and the Sioux, I'll take Carle and DU ;-)

Anonymous said...

Anon at 7:31

"All you Chicago fans can have Toews and the Sioux"

I think that should read: "All you Chicago fans can have Toews and the Stanley Cup."

Anonymous said...

Rumors from Islanders camp is that they are apparently pushing to sign Aaron Ness (Minnesota) and are speaking with Matt Donovan about possibly coming to play with Bridgeport next season...This would be crushing if true.

dggoddard said...

It will be interesting to see how the Donovan situation plays out.

Rakhshani turned down the Islanders repeatedly when they offered him a spot at Bridgeport. We'll have to see how Donovan responds to the overtures.

No doubt a big loss for the Pioneers if he leaves.

Pessimisticfan said...

This probably means we only get Donovan one more year if he stays...

Anonymous said...

Its official. Ostrow will wear the C next year.

Anonymous said...

I would want to leave to. Why stick around when your leader is out shopping around. The train is coming off the tracks.

Anonymous said...

I really hope Donovan stays. Seems like the epitome of a player who would gain a lot from at least one more year of college, with good coaching by Gwoz & Co., increased responsibilities, etc. The kid is talented, but still a little green. So I think it's a no-brainer for him to stay at DU for at least another year. But I have also given up on trying to understand some of the decisions by players and NHL clubs to rush kids out of college early.

Puck Swami said...

Last time I checked, Gwozdecky is still the coach at DU and top recruits are still signing with the program -- hardly "off the tracks".

In the two measures that really count - hardware and academics, the program is the defending WCHA champion, and set a league record for academic performance in GPA. Hard to argue with that kind of success.

The players who left early (so far) are all legitimate NHL prospects will see see the big leagues within a couple of years. They all acomplished great things at DU on the ice and in the classroom, and are ready for new challenges beyond college hockey.

Twister said...

Carle is being interviewed right now on ESPN 1600 with Vic and Gary.