The great and wise Joe Pelletier on the Finals so far. Read the whole thing, but here are some snips:
Credit smart redesigned breakout plays by the coaches and defensemen. New Jersey takes away the wall so right away LA breaks convention and goes up the middle of the ice. It helps when you have veterans like Willie Mitchell and Rob Scuderi, and the dynamic Drew Doughty.
With only 2 goals against in 3 games, Jonathan Quick is getting lots of consideration as the Conn Smythe MVP. But Quick’s skating and puckhandling ability has also stifled the Devils forecheck. New Jersey did not face such a goalie in the East.
And it wasn’t so long ago that Quick’s puck-handling was a weakness.
[...] Anze Kopitar is, in my mind, undoubtedly the Kings top forward. He grew up idolizing Sergei Fedorov and you can definitely see some of Fedorov’s mannerisms in Kopitar’s game. What he lacks in Fedorov’s speed and grace he makes up for with a more robust style of play.
I cannot say that too many New Jersey players have impressed me in this series. Stephen Gionta shows constant heart. Adam Henrique has great vision and passing, and his crafty game reminds me of the underrated Murray Craven. Peter Harrold has shown some nice mobility.
Peter Harrold’s playoff performance (and the fact that he got the opportunity in the first place) makes me very happy. And I don’t think anyone who watched him in LA — repeatedly jumping into the Kings line-up and playing well after weeks on the shelf — is surprised, except, as I said, that he was given the chance late in the season with the Devils.
[...] Zach Parise has, in my mind, greatly disappointed. I’ve watched him closely much of the playoffs. I can see has all the tools to be a fantastic player. But he has never really put it all together and has yet to impress me. As the top UFA to be I don’t doubt he will cash in nicely this summer. But I’m not so sure he is worth it.