I would like to look at this from a little different perspective, but first, I have to point out how the two teams made it to this point of their successful seasons. The Penguins who were actually the second seed in the East beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4 games to 1, the top seeded Washington Capitals 4 games to 3 and the Ottawa Senators 4 games to 3. The final game between the Senators and Pens was a thrilling and draining match as both teams battled through two overtimes before Pittsburgh pulled off the victory 3-2 to claim the Eastern Conference title and continue their journey to become the first back to back Stanley Cup winners since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings.
But, before the Black and Gold clad skaters from Western Pennsylvania can make that claim they will have to get past the skaters from Nashville.The Predators are not even supposed to be here. the Western Conference champions were a wild card team and made it this far first by upsetting the top team in the Western Conference the Chicago Blackhawks in a sweep(4 games to none). Wait, Is that really an upset, if you beat a team four straight times? For general purposes, I will go with the flow and agree that was an upset. The Predators followed the “upset” with a victory over the third-seeded St.Louis Blues 4 games to 2 and followed that success with a 4 games to 2 Western Conference Finals series win over the Anaheim Ducks.
So, I am very interested in this series because of two players, P.K. Subban and Trevor Daley. Both Canadian players of African descent and two of only an estimated 31 black players in the league on active rosters. Both are defenseman for their perspective teams and both have been in the NHL for at least six years. Subban entered the league as the Canadiens 2007 second -round draft and Daley entered the league as a second-round draft pick of the Dallas Stars in 2002.
Both players have played well as Subban came to the states in a trade the Predators made with the Montreal Canadiens this year and Daly came to Pittsburgh from Chicago two years ago and was a member of the Penguins Stanley Cup Championship team last season. Subban is a big time star who garnered many accolades while playing in Montreal and who is a person who plays the game with his own style and likes to stand out. Daily, on the other hand, is a player who is also very good but not as flashy. Both men get the job done and I want yo to pay attention to number 76 in the Blue and Gold of the Nashville Predators (P.K.Subban ) and number 6 in the Black and Gold of the Pittsburgh Penguins (Trevor Daley). They may not be the first players of African descent to play in the NHL and they may not even want to be known as just black hockey players, but I cannot help but notice with pride that they are hockey players playing with their respective teams at the highest level of the game.
By the way, did I mention this series is bound to be exciting? In my opinion is the classic David and Goliath matchup. On one hand, you have the powerful Penguins looking for their second cup and on the other hand, you have the pesky Predators who are in the Stanley Cup finals for the first time in franchise history. So, even if you’re not a hockey fan and never watched a match before. This is a championship series you don’t’ want to miss.
Trevin A Jones
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