It's an interesting question. One I suppose worth asking, but to me it's a waste of breath.
This morning as I was driving into work I was listening to ESPN's Mike and Mike on the radio, and they were talking about the rivalry between Louisville and Kentucky. Then the conversation turned into this:
It sounds like a deal with the devil. You beat your rival to get to the championship, but you don't get to hoist the trophy. You're joking, right? In a world where banners mean everything (championship banners, not "Regular Season Eastern Conference Champions 2010-2011" banners...Thanks Ted Leonsis for that gem), I would take winning the Stanley Cup over beating the Flyers in seven games to get the Finals and lose.
Who remembers the 2008 Stanley Cup playoffs? The Penguins met the Flyers in the Eastern Conference Finals. It only took five games, but the Penguins knocked off their biggest rival to reach the Stanley Cup Finals and meet Detroit. We all know what happened next.
At the end of game 6 watching the Red Wings skate the Cup around Mellon Arena did you say to yourself, "Well, at least we beat the Flyers to get here." Hell no. If someone would have said that to me I would have knocked them out in a fit of unconscious rage.
Here are the teams the Penguins had to go through to win their three Stanley Cups:
1991: New Jersey, Washington, Boston, Minnesota
1992: Washington, NY Rangers, Boston, Chicago
2009: Philadelphia, Washington, Carolina, Detroit
Did it really matter who the Penguins played to get to the Finals and win? Hell no. All that matters is this.
Shut up Mike Greenberg.
What do you think? Leave me your comments below or get at me on Twitter (@knucklepucker)