Any avid hockey fans would remember the 2011 Stanley Cup Final; a finals series that went 7 games, with an intense hatred and rivalry for the two teams involved gave us on the edge of our seat hockey for its entirety. It is almost undisputed that since that Bruins vs. Canucks final in 2011 there hasn’t been a final as great. 6 years after that unforgettable series we had the Predators and Penguins in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. The Predators, a Cinderella story, made the playoffs by the smallest of margins. In fact, had the Predators been an Eastern Conference team, they would not have made the playoffs. They began their cup run with a sweep of the top seed Blackhawks, followed by 2 series in which the outcome was never in doubt. They found themselves in the Stanley Cup Final against the defending Stanley Cup champions, lead by the best hockey player in the world today, Sidney Crosby.
What made this series so great was the hatred, both between the players (Crosby and Subban most notably) and the hatred between the fan bases. Almost every game there was an instance where things got heated and sparks flew. This is exactly what hockey needs in my opinion. In recent decades it seems to me hockey has become watered down, with less of an emphasis on fighting and enforcers. This series had a hint of that old time hockey feel with the fights in Game 5 and the overall roughness. This kind of hockey draws emotion, which makes the game wildly more entertaining to watch as a fan.
In my opinion, the league should stop the crusade on the enforcer and you would have a return of old time hockey. The obvious winner with a return to old time hockey are the fans, who get to witness a more entertaining product night in and night out.
While the 2017 cup finals came nowhere close to the intensity and drama of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, it was still a fun to watch product and something the league should try to strive for. So to answer my question… yes, this was the best finals in 7 years.
As the hockey season comes to a close I now need to find something else to do wth my free time and look forward to the return of the greatest sport on Earth next October.