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Four Former Habs Will Battle for the Cup

May 30, 2023, 3:33 PM ET [262 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Follow me @KarineHains for all updates about the Montreal Canadiens and women's hockey

Perhaps it’s because the Canadiens didn’t make the playoffs, but I have to say that I’ve never had so little interest in a playoffs tournament. There have been so many one-sided games that it took the fun out of it for me even though I normally watch pretty much all the games as a neutral when the Habs are out. Last night was yet another blowout with Vegas triumphing 6-0 to wrap up the series in 6 games and book a date with the Cinderella team of this postseason, the Florida Panthers.

When the Cup final kicks off on Saturday, four former members of the Canadiens’ organization will be vying for the big prize. Two as players and two as coaching/executive. On the Panthers’ side Nick Cousins will be hoping to get his first Cup after bouncing around from team to team in the last few years. He played 58 games with the Canadiens in 2019-2020 before being traded to Vegas in late February and competing with them in 17 playoffs games. Come Saturday, he’ll be competing against several former teammates. Also flying the Cats’ flag is Eric Staal, who played 21 regular season games with the Canadiens in 2020-2021 before playing another 21 contests in the Habs’ surprising run to the Cup final that year. Staal already has a Cup to his name unlike Cousins though since he was a member to the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 when they beat the Oilers to win it all.

Behind the Panthers’ bench, you’ll also find Sylvain Lefebvre who spent three seasons playing for the Habs from 1989 to 1992 and who coached the teams’ AHL affiliate from June 2012 through the end of the 2017-2018 season. As for the Golden Knights, it’s their director of goaltending and goalie coach Sean Burke who worked for the Habs as a head scout from 2016 before eventually becoming the goaltending coach when Stephane Waite was fired and being appointed as director of goaltending in March 2021. 3 months later, he left the team to take up the same position with the Golden Knights.

Who’ll win the cup? That’s an excellent question considering some of the results so far have defied all logic. While on paper the Golden Knights are the better team, it’s hard to bet against the Florida Panthers who are on quite a run right now. In fact, since Keith Tkachuk called out the team as soft in the media, the Cats have been anything but soft and have beaten heavily favored opponents. Add to that the fact that Sergei Bobrovsky is playing like his life depended on it, and you’ve got a team who could emulate what the Los Angeles Kings did in 2012 when they qualified for the playoffs as the 8th seed in the West and went on to win the Cup. So, even though Vegas is technically the better team (just like Boston and Toronto were on paper), I’ll go with the Panthers in 6 for the Cup.

How about you? Who do you think will win it all?
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