Puck Daddy’s 2013 Stanley Cup Final Staff Prognostications

The Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins begin their epic smackdown for the Stanley Cup on Wednesday night in the Windy City, and it’s time for your friends at Puck Daddy to make their selections for the big winner and the playoff MVP.

And look, we don’t want to say there’s East Coast bias, but …

Greg Wyshynski, Editor

Winner: Bruins in 6.

Ultimately, the series will be won or lost on how much the Blackhawks refuse to allow the Bruins to take away from them.

We know Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg and the Patrice Bergeron line have the ability to shut down two lines vs. the Blackhawks; so can the depth carry the day? We know the Bruins want to punish their foes and play at their pace, so can the Blackhawks use their speed to win? Can Chicago keep home ice dominance against a great road team? Can their special teams continue to be better than Boston’s?

I think the Bruins’ ability to defend, their physical presence and, perhaps above all else, Tuukka Rask give them the edge. What they did to Pittsburgh was very impressive, and one wonders if the Blackhawks’ unhinged and frustrated play from the Red Wings’ series might not make a cameo in the Final against the pest-tastic Bruins.

Jeremy Jacobs gets another ring. Sigh.

Conn Smythe: Tuukka Rask

If the Bruins win, it’s not going to be in four games of 6-4 scores. In theory, Chara would get the nod for the Conn, but Rask will be seen as the face of the Boston defense and will have Thomas-ian numbers to back it up.

Sean Leahy, Associate Editor

Winner: Bruins in 6.

It's Tuukka time. Many times in the playoffs we see a goaltender rise up and take his team to a Stanley Cup victory. For the Bruins, they won't need Rask to carry them solely on his own. Many Bruins were on the team in 2011 and many of them are damn good hockey players. Patrick Kane may have gotten going offensively, but can he outsmart Zdeno Chara? Will Captain Serious battle through Patrice Bergeron's defensive efforts? Can any Blackhawk grow better playoff foliage than Jaromir Jagr?

The answer to those questions will be "no." Being able to shutdown the Penguins for a sweep will give the Bruins an incredible amount of confidence heading into the Final. The Blackhawks have a solid offense to contend with, like the Penguins, but Boston was able to frustrate Pittsburgh throughout the series. That same sleeper hold will be put on the Blackhawks and we'll get another summer of Jack Edwards' victorious commentary.

Conn Smythe: Tuukka Rask

Harrison Mooney, Associate Editor

Winner: Bruins in 7.

This matchup poses some big prediction problems because of what led up to it. On one hand, you have the tough, grinding, shutdown Bruins, who took a speedy, explosive team in the Pittsburgh Penguins and completely shut them down. On the other hand, you have the Chicago Blackhawks, who showed that the way to defeat a tough, grinding, shutdown team like the Bruins -- in this case, the Los Angeles Kings -- is with speed to burn. Basically, both of these teams demonstrated in the Conference Finals that they are built to make mince meat out of a team much like their Final opponent. So forgive me if I'm a little lost.

All that said, I think Boston impressed me more. What they did to Pittsburgh was just nuts, and if they're the same team in Round 4 (which I suspect they will be, forever haunted as I am by what they did the last time they were in the Final), I think they'll have the edge here. They're faster than the Kings, so they should be able to keep up with the Blackhawks in a way LA couldn't. Zdeno Chara is a fabulous hockey freak. And Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci are, as it turns out, hockey's most effective one-two punch up the middle right now. I think that's enough to have one more win than the Blackhawks after seven.

Conn Smythe: David Krejci

Who should it be? Zdeno Chara. Who will it be? David Krejci, and I'm fine with that. The Bruins centre is on a tear right now, and I suspect it'll continue through this round. He's been underrated so long. I'm betting that this Final will culminate with something of a mea culpa by the hockey community: his formal coming-out party, where he finally gets his due as an elite pivot in this league.

Dmitry Chesnokov, Senior Writer

Can I abstain? I [expletived] up every "prediction" and am laughing myself how stupid I look.

Ryan Lambert, Columnist

Winner: Boston in 7.

Boston is a team that seems to have everything going right for them at this point, and while just about the same could be said of Chicago, up until two games ago (when Patrick Kane started scoring again), it was fair to say they had more passengers than the Titanic. Relying on Bryan Bickell to continue scoring all your important goals, meanwhile, seemed like a great way to end up suffering a similar fate as that ship.

I don't doubt that Jonathan Toews can start scoring, and that Kane can keep up this form, and that Duncan Keith and the rest of the defense can lock down the Bruins. I just need to be shown that it's possible first.

It seems like things almost can't stop going right for the Bruins since all that tough business with the Leafs, and while Chicago is certainly their toughest opponent to date, everyone from the top line to the bottom pairing is playing so well it's impossible to pick against them.

Conn Smythe: Tuukka Rask

Darryl “Dobber” Dobbs, Fantasy Columnist

Winner: Bruins in 6

The Bruins will be your 2013 Cup champs because I'm scared to bet against them. After getting soundly spanked last round, Dan Bylsma is I'm in the fetal position rocking gently back and forth. And all because of the big, bad Bruins. So 'uncle', I say. Uncle!

Now run to your bookie and drop all the money you can on the Blackhawks, because I'm on a run of unprecedented ineptness that you need to take advantage of before it's over.

Conn Smythe: David Krejci

He’ll hang onto the playoff scoring lead and actually flirt with 30 points.

Chuck and Pants From ‘What’s Up Ya Sieve?’, BeardWatch Columnists

Winner: Bruins in 7

Right now the Bruins are doing everything right. The last two rounds have forged them into their most solid unit of the season. Like a delicious cake, this team is full of distinct and dense layers. Quick, physical, and smart forwards like Bergeron and Krejci will surprise the Hawks at every turn and adapt more quickly than mere mortals. Brad Marchand will get his face punched in every single game and chirp about it. They’ll throw off the Hawks defense and take away the big goals from the blue line that have helped get Chicago here. The Bruins’ own defense corps is solid, and on a sugar high from deflecting the Pens’ rapid fire offense.

Most importantly, the Bruins frustrate opponents -- something the Hawks have been susceptible to. Even if Chicago can get behind Boston’s entire skating roster, things only gets worse. Welcome to Tuukka Time in Boston. Rask, playing with steely determination and complete confidence, knows he can win. The Bruins know they can win. And that’s why they will win.

Conn Smythe: David Krejci.

Twenty-one points so far, 9 goals and +14 rating. Far and away the most valuable player for the Bruins in their playoff run. His clutch goals and intelligent play have been instrumental in boosting his team’s confidence. Case in point: Nathan Horton. 17 points in the playoffs and a +21 rating. He has Krejci to thank for that. Expect more fireworks from David in the Final. He’ll need them to beat out Rask and Bergeron.