- Paul Grant
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1. Shot-blocking is bad for the game. I'm not exactly a John Tortorella apologist, but the crud going around that the Rangers' shot-blocking is bad for hockey is from people who just don't know the game. Hockey is a game of sacrifice; the Stanley Cup playoffs are two months of intense sacrifice with everything on the line. Are defenders supposed to step out of the way like flamingos and let long bombs rocket their way to the net, when one goal could be the difference between winning and offseason? No. One thousand times no.
2. Home-ice advantage is essential to success. The Kings won it all from the No. 8 seed because the depth, momentum and teamwork they brought into the playoffs meant they were able to roll four lines no matter which marble-esplanade palace they were playing in. No need to have the last change to match checking against scoring when you're on that kind of a roll.
3. Special teams have to fire on all cylinders. This is only a partial lie. A good postseason power play is a bonus, but an effective penalty-killing unit is essential. We've heard ad nauseam about last year's Bruins and this year's Kings not having great power plays, but if your PK ain't blocking, then you are walking.
4. Martin Brodeur is washed-up. Brodeur's legacy is tarnished in the eyes of some because he won Cups in the previous two decades with a Devils team that put defense first. This season should earn the well-respected stopper even more respect: the system in front of him changed drastically from the Jacques Lemaire days, yet there he was -- at 40, no less -- stopping the heck out of the puck. For Brodeur, 40 is the new 35.
5. Growing a beard is not essential to winning a Cup. Did you see the soup catchers on those Kings? Devils captain Zach Parise was clean-shaven. Need I say more?