Heading into this year's Stanley Cup Final, a lot of the discussion centered around the fact that the Blackhawks have 26 championship rings among them, and the Lightning have exactly one. (Valtteri Filppula is the lone Tampa Bay player — he won the Cup with the Detroit Red Wings back in 2008.) This disparity prompted speculation that Chicago's experience would trump the Bolts' high-octane offense and any momentum they brought into the series.
But does experience actually matter? Over at Grantland, Sean McIndoe discussed whether having been there and won that really makes a difference when it comes to the playoffs. In his opinion, it's not as important as fans like to believe.
As fans, we love the idea that experience counts, and that having been there before confers some sort of advantage. It feeds into something we want to believe about how difficult this game's journey to a championship really is.
And because we love the idea so much, we tend to forget about the stories that don't fit the narrative. We forget about the teams that skip the years of hardship and near misses and jump straight to a championship.
In Game 1, it looked like #experience pushed Chicago to a third period comeback, but McIndoe points out that the team's goals came from Antoine Vermette and rookie Teuvo Teravainen — not guys like Jonathan Toews. Then, in Game 2, it was the Lightning that showed poise after Ben Bishop left the game.
Here's how Brenden Morrow summed up the idea of experience.
"I want to say it's a little bit overblown, even though I want to feel important for being here," he said. "You've got to get experience somehow, you've got to win at some point. The Chicago Blackhawks have won two in the last five or six years, but they didn't win any before that. They had to get that experience. We're just in that stage right now."
In the end, it seems to come down to this: Experience matters if you have it, but if you don't, you'll find a way to win all the same.
Pretty boring sports weekend, huh? It's not like we had a Game 2 to watch or got to see a horse do something pretty cool. Oh, wait...
On Saturday night, the Lightning knotted the Final at one, holding off the Blackhawks for a 4-3 win. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, Ben Bishop left the game in the third period for undisclosed reasons. The team's been mum on his status, which means we might see more of 20-year-old Andrei Vasilevskiy in tonight's Game 3. [Tampa Bay Times]
Vasilevskiy youngest G since Roy (20) in '86 to win SC final game. Also first G since F. Pietrangelo in '91 to win SCF game he didn't start— Jason Kay (@JKTHN) June 7, 2015
Brent Seabrook's goal in Game 2 was a controversial one, as Marian Hossa moved Ben Bishop's left pad as the shot was going in, but the Score reminds us that a goal like this might not count next year. (Related note: Erin wrote about why video review wouldn't necessarily solve all goalie interference issues.) [The Score]
Philip Pritchard, AKA the Keeper of the Cup, shares a few of his favorite Lord Stanley stories from over the years. [The Players' Tribune]
Losing is never fun. Losing Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final is even less fun. Go figure. Feel free to bum yourself out with tales of what it's like to be on the wrong side of the celebration. [SportsNet]
SportsExtra1260 conducted a mock draft on Saturday, with Mike Heika stepping up as the "guest GM" for the Stars.
Bob McKenzie's final draft ranking also has Meier sitting in the No. 12 spot. [TSN]
Elliotte Friedman shares his latest 30 thoughts, including whether Phil Kessel is on the trading block. [SportsNet]
Manon Rheaume, the female goaltender who made history when she suited up for the Lightning during an exhibition game in 1992, will be the subject of an upcoming film called Between the Pipes. [PuckDaddy]
In case you missed it yesterday, the newest episode of Stars Sunday is available online for your listening pleasure. [Stars]
Here's a longer read on Gordie Howe, his health, and the controversial stem-cell treatment that his family credits for the legend's recovery. [NY Mag]
And finally, the Lightning went retro during Saturday night's game.