Goalie is carrying Edmonton | NevadaAppeal.com

Goalie is carrying Edmonton

Joe Ellison
Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist

The teams are now set for the Finals in the great National Hockey League. The remaining players have nearly fulfilled their quests to have their names etched on North America’s oldest and most distinguished sports trophy, the Stanley Cup.

Hockey is a dangerous and brutal sport, so as always the long road to the Finals has been full of bumps and bruises. Every player is hurting somewhere from contact with bodies, sticks, pucks, boards and ice, and many of their faces have grown ugly from the wear and tear. But to them the ultimate reward is well worth the pain.

Because of excellent rules changes, casual and loyal hockey fans this year have been treated to a new, more wide-open version of the game, with constant fast action. The NHL postseason has been ultra-competitive, with 19 of the first 75 playoff games going to overtime, and an astounding 42 of them being decided by a one-goal difference. Hockey also has the best officiating in professional team sports, as there have been zero controversies.

Hockey is such an underrated sport, and it’s a shame it hasn’t become more popular. The extremely weak media coverage throughout the country has been a disgrace, and is partly to blame for that. People’s unwillingness to learn what is a simple game is also a contributing factor. Still, the loyal fans will always be there for hockey, and it will live on forever.

Stanley Cup playoffs – Anyone who says there are too many teams in the NHL playoffs has again been proven wrong. The Western Conference’s No. 8 and final seed Edmonton has reached the championship round.

Finals – As of Wednesday evening, the Eastern Conference representative was yet to be determined. But that won’t change the thinking here, as the pick is for Edmonton to upset either Carolina or Buffalo in 6. The No. 1 reason – goaltending.

Edmonton’s veteran goalkeeper Dwayne Roloson is 36, and he knows this is most likely his only opportunity to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. Roloson has clearly been the steadiest of all of the netminders throughout the playoffs.

Regardless of who wins in the East, there will be a rookie between the pipes. Carolina even went through a couple of goalie changes in its series with Buffalo just to reach Game 7.

Congratulations to those who took Edmonton at odds as high as 30 to 1, and Carolina and Buffalo as two of the longest shots on the board at 60 to 1. You people are now in perfect positions to hedge your bets, if you haven’t done so already, in order to win money no matter who wins the Cup.

NBA

When Miami and Detroit met in the Eastern Conference Finals last year, Detroit was down 3 games to 2, but it took advantage of Larry Brown’s coaching, and injuries to Miami’s Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O’Neal to overcome the deficit. Tonight Detroit again finds itself down 3-2, but this time Miami is healthy and possesses the better head coach in Pat Riley over Flip Saunders, a coach that his own players don’t seem to give a flip about. Teams like Miami that were up 3-1 in Conference Finals have advanced to the Finals on 16 consecutive occasions. Also, every game in this series has gone Under the total. The pick is Miami and Under.

In the West, going into last night’s Game 5, it appeared that Dallas and Phoenix were headed for a 7-game series. Phoenix covered the point spread in three of the first four games, and games 2-4 went Under. The pick is Phoenix and Under spread-wise, but Dallas advances in 7.

Finals – Dallas over Miami.