It's often said that the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy to win in all of sports.  16 teams make the playoffs after an 82-game regular season.  You must win 4 best-of-seven series over a two-month period.  Sure, the NBA has that exact same set-up, but more times than not their playoffs lack excitement and intrigue in the first two rounds.  That's not the case with the NHL.  If you're going to hoist the Cup in June, it's an intense journey.

The final two teams left standing are the San Jose Sharks and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Yes, it's odd not seeing my beloved Chicago Blackhawks deep into the playoffs.  This marks the first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals for the Sharks.  The Penguins will be going for their fourth Stanley Cup, winning it previously in 1991, 1992 and 2009.

The Penguins advanced by defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games in the Eastern Conference Final. The Sharks eliminated the St. Louis Blues in six games in the Western Conference Final.   Take a look at the schedule here...

  • May 30th - Game 1 in Pittsburgh
  • June 1st - Game 2 in Pittsburgh
  • June 4th - Game 3 in San Jose
  • June 6th - Game 4 in San Jose
  • June 9th - Game 5 in Pittsburgh (if necessary)
  • June 12th - Game 6 in San Jose (if necessary)
  • June 15th - Game 7 in Pittsburgh (if necessary)

I guess I do have won rooting interest in the series.  I attended a lot of Waterloo Black Hawks games back when Joe Pavelski played for them.  I was in attendance at Young Arena when he and his teammates won the Clark Cup in 2004.  Pavelski has gone on to have an impressive NHL career.  He's been with the Sharks since the 2006-07 season, and was named the team's captain in 2015.  It would be kind of cool to see him hoist the Cup.

Scott Levy/Getty Image

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