Pittsburgh and San Jose have the Stanley Cup Final lit. Plus, talking Hockey World Cup

Congratulations! You’re playing for the Stanley Cup, the greatest sports trophy humanity has ever created.

Congratulations! In one month’s time you’re gonna have to make some tough roster decisions as free agency opens on July 1st.

Congratulations! If you win the Stanley Cup many will be tempted to give you a pass on trading that aging veteran with a no-trade or movement clause for pennies on the dollar, but we may not be them.

Seriously though, there will be consequences for the decisions the respective General Manger’s of Pittsburgh and San Jose have made the last year. Check it out:

According to General Fanager, San Jose has approximately $60.894M on the books for next season with one of the oldest rosters. In fact only Martin Jones (age 26), Logan Couture (26), Joonas Donskoi (23), Tomas Hertl (RFA, 22), and Marc-Edouard Vlasic (28), hit the Venn diagram cross-section of “under 30” and “important”.

That’s not so bad, especially with Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Brent Burns all entering the final years of their deals. It affords Doug Wilson the opportunity to start graduating the underbelly of his roster and flexibility to bring in expensive players as desired. After all, the trio above combine for a princely sum of ~$17.19M.

And if they have their ring, then to many there won’t be a “wrong” answer between moving on and re-signing the veterans. The Sharks’ tank can only become toxic if they’re brought back on bloated contracts entering their age-40 years, or in Burns’ case, his sober years.

Jim Rutherford’s job in Pittsburgh however won’t be as easy. He already has a decision to make in net. Wait no he doesn’t, Matt Murray is for real and Marc-Andre Fleury’s $5.75M cap hit the next three seasons would look better on someone else’s roster. Pittsburgh is slated to be over the cap by about $2.5M next season but there’s a few caveats to that. First, is Pascal Dupuis’ $3.75M hit will be placed on LTIR if it isn’t traded or if he files his retirement papers. Second, a market for Chris Kunitz’ final year at $3.85M must be found. It’s hard to imagine who will want the run-down winger entering his age-37 season, but if Hockey Canada thinks he belonged on Team Canada Olympic in Sochi, then there’s a buyer for him somewhere out there in the wilderness. That’s $13.35M that needs to be removed from the docket, and Rutherford did manage to turn Rob Klinkhammer into Carl Hagelin.

Speaking of acquiring players, we’re all in agreement that the Conn Smythe should go to either winning goalie as this was each of their first forays into hockey’s championship gauntlet, but aside from them it’ll likely be one of; Phil Kessel or Logan Couture, assuming another big name player doesn’t have a major series.

Kessel, who couldn’t make Team USA, leads the Pens with nine goals and 18 points thus far. While Couture, who couldn’t make Team Canada, leads all with 17 helpers and 25 points. The only other contender in the field who could win without a dominant series is Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, who Team USA GM Dean Lombardi found the wisdom to include in September’s roster. Pavelski leads with 13 goals and has 22 points himself, which means getting up to the 15-goal and 25-point area could push him past his teammate with the help of A) the Cup; and B) the “C” on his chest. Ahh, don’t we all just love easy story lines.

Like trying to come to terms with the likes of Justin Faulk (D, USA); Tyler Johnson (C, USA); John Klingberg (D, Sweden); Kris Letang (D, Canada); Taylor Hall (W, Canada); and most of all PK-freaking-Subban (D, Canada) were all left off their respective World Cup teams.

Let’s just get this out of the way,

If we don’t laugh about it, then the rage-fueled confusion will take over. And no one wants that.

Lombardi noted he wanted to build a “team that could beat Canada”, but here’s the thing about that; Canada isn’t some bully who goes out of his way to humiliate us, nor are they some sort of big brother, they’re just an opponent like all the other teams in this crazy mashup of an international tournament.

Nay, Canada’s biggest problem is that they’re over blessed with talent, and have a gripe against an unabashed extrovert who refuses to be anything less than 100% lit. More on that later.

No we’re left to just wonder if Lombardi has a gun to his head or a year-long fever dream that somehow conjures up Hall of Fame status for guys like Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, and Jack Johnson.

Here’s the 1996 USA World Cup roster he reveres so much. There’s SIX HoF’ers on it, and a few more who miss the cutoff by a sliver. Here’s Lombardi’s World Cup roster. There’s one HoF’er in Patrick Kane with a few more who might work their way in if they play well in their 30’s.

So unless John Tortorella is going revert back to his Tampa Bay days of “safe is death” and the Senzu Beans he bought on eBay are for real – how are we supposed to take this seriously? Because apparently we’re going to win these games zero to negative-one.

As for Subban, what in the actual [redacted]? The man could be the face of the NHL, let alone the Montreal Canadians, because he’s A) gregarious; B) natural on camera; C) exciting to watch; D) philanthropic in an impactful way; E) has won the Norris; F) doesn’t give in to peer pressure; G) outwardly passionate; H) has two up and coming talented younger bros; I) has a compelling backstory; J) is better than the seven defenders Canada chose both on the ice and in eight of nine reasons listed A-I.

I said before that if we don’t laugh about it then the rage-fueled confusion will take over, and good news, Doug Armstrong Mike Babcock and Dean Lombardi, this guy totally has us all covered,

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