The two teams competing in the Stanley Cup Final have been decided, and the final playoff series of the 2023 NHL playoffs begins tonight.

Florida Panthers

Vegas Golden Knights

Two teams, two cities, that have never seen a Stanley Cup victory. Two markets that have very little overall hockey success. Two cities that will see the ultimate prize in hockey decided in temperatures exceeding 30 degrees on opening night. The desert vs the everglades.

Therein lies the supposed "problem".

The Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs were both eliminated in round two, leaving us with the annual chorus of "no more Canadian teams! Woe is us as a country!" and after suffering through it for the Conference Finals, the wails will grow louder, the tears wetter, now that we are seven games away from crowning the NHL champions.

Many will say these teams should not exist. Many will say hockey shouldn't be played anywhere you can't have an outdoor ice rink in the winter. I got news for you, I live in Ontario and haven't been able to have an outdoor rink in decades.

I'm here to say that these complaints, and anyone angry over the final two teams in the Stanley Cup Final, are getting angry over something very silly and arbitrary.

The Stanley Cup is no longer the trophy that defines the best hockey club in Canada. It hasn't been for over a century.

It is the trophy for the champions of the National Hockey League. That is all it is, that is who it is awarded to, that is what it represents.

The Vegas Golden Knights are captained by a Canadian. The vast majority of the roster are Canadian. They played junior hockey of all levels in Canada. They played university hockey in Canada. The only thing that could make them more Canadian is for a moose to romp through the desert wearing a lumberjack shirt holding a butter tart in its mouth.

They have been the most Canadian team of the entirety of this years playoffs.

The Florida Panthers are also there.

So, as the Stanley Cup Finals begin tonight, remember: it doesn't make hockey any worse for either of these teams to win the ultimate prize.

It will make it better.

It will inspire more children and adults to play the game.

It may give the Maple Leafs more great draft picks like Auston Matthews and Matthew Knies.

Hockey is for everyone. Plant the seeds of victory.

Now, some news.

32 Thoughts: The real question facing new Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving
Will Ryan Smith bring a team to Salt Lake City? What’s next on the Senators’ ownership timeline? And what will be the fallout from the Brad Treliving and Kyle Dubas hirings? Elliotte Friedman has that and more in this edition of 32 Thoughts.

Expansion, Maple Leafs, and more.

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hockey
Kyle Dubas built a team that was competitive and if they keep trying eventually they’ll get the bounces and they’ll win. He didn’t build a team to go for it and win the Cup. Okay. How do you know? Because they lost x times in a row. Ergo…

Cathy wrote this so it's good, aside from confusing me with the headline.

Everyone's favourite Michael Stephens from Twitter is in Vegas, and reporting on the finals.

Stanley Cup Final: Fans roast NHL over Panthers’ awkward patch placement
Fans are not happy with the NHL’s placement of the Stanley Cup Final patch on the Panthers jerseys.

It's pretty awful.

Kyle Dubas got busy right away, via Frank Seravalli:

One of Kyle Dubas' first orders of business in Pittsburgh was to make front office changes: Alec Schall (dir of hockey strategy), Teena Murray (SVP of sports science/performance) and Kerry Huffman (dir of pro scouting) were all fired on Thursday. All three were Hextall hires.

The Memorial Cup semi-finals were last night, and [team] made it to the final game Sunday night against the Quebec Remparts. That team may be the Seattle Thunderbirds, or the Peterborough Petes. Who knows, the game ended after I ent to bed and if you're reading this, I'm still asleep and haven't updated the FTB yet.

Lousy west coast time.

Anyway, I took May off, but I'm back and ready to bother everyone once again. Make your internet plans with this information in mind.

Enjoy your weekend folks.