The Chicago Blackhawks did it! They are officially 2010 Stanley Cup Champions, beating the Philadelphia Flyers in the Finals in six games, winning Game Six in a tightly-played affair in overtime, 4-3. The high-powered, awfully expensive roster made good on the money spent and they were well deserving of the end result with some solid play, both offensively and defensively.
So, now that we have ourselves a Cup champion, we can now crown our Playoff Pool winner this year... Scott G. takes the crown this year, holding onto a lead since Game Four of the Philadelphia Flyers/Montreal Canadiens series and never had to look back. Scott had passed Neil B. after a great night from Claude Giroux and Kimmo Timonen and never looked back from there on in. Scott had to hold off a big charge from Myles D., who was using the star players of the Blackhawks to close the gap on Scott, but the gap finished off at 4 points in the end.
The prize for the pool has not been fully determined, I hadn't found the time to count up all of the teams who had paid in the end, but I figure it's just about $400, so that will be coming to Scott in the next week or so. Congratulations to him! I'm hoping that next year, I can get a few more people into the pool and go back into the 2nd and 3rd place money, like 2009, but I didn't have time to chase people for money, so the funding is down a bit for prizes.
Taking the crown for the top scorer in the pool this year was actually Daniel Briere, who snuck past Chicago captain Jonathan Toews, with 34 points this year. Briere finished with 12 goals, 4 game-winners and 18 assists, 2 points better than Toews for the title. Briere actually had a great Cup Finals series, picking up 12 points, despite losing the series in six games.
Taking the title for game-winning goals this year was Dustin Byfuglien of the Blackhawks, finishing with 5 bonus points in 2010. He was a massive force for the Blackhawks after the 1st round of the playoffs. He didn't register a point versus the Predators, but he came out of nowhere against the Canucks and just kept the big train going.
The 2010 Playoff Pool All-Star Team or the highest points possible team looks something like this...
Box 1 - CHI - Patrick Kane 29 points
Box 2 - CHI - Jonathan Toews 32
Box 3 - DET - Johan Franzen 19
Box 4 - CHI - Patrick Sharp 23
Box 5 - SAN - Joe Pavelski 20
Box 6 - VAN - Mikael Samuelsson 16
Box 7 - COL - Brandon Yip 4
Box 8 - SAN - Dan Boyle 14
Box 9 - DET - Brian Rafalski 11
Box 10 - VAN - Sami Salo 6
Box 11 - VAN - Kevin Bieksa 9
Box 12 - SAN - Evgeni Nabokov 18
Box 13 - PIT - Sidney Crosby 20
Box 14 - PHI - Mike Richards 24
Box 15 - PHI - Daniel Briere 34
Box 16 - MTL - Brian Gionta 16
Box 17 - PIT - Chris Kunitz 11
Box 18 - PHI - Claude Giroux 23
Box 19 - BOS - Milan Lucic 10
Box 20 - BOS - Zdeno Chara 8
Box 21 - MTL - Roman Hamrlik 9
Box 22 - BOS - Dennis Wideman 12
Box 23 - OTT - Erik Karlsson 6
Box 24 - MTL - Jaroslav Halak 18
If you had selected this team, you would have run away with the pool, scoring a whopping 392 points in total, including 22 game-winners and 17 wins from the two goalies. Toews, Franzen, Sharp and Salo are all repeat All-Stars from 2009 in the West, while Crosby and Lucic are the only two in the East that re-appear. Those six could be safe bets for next year's pool as well, you could get to thinking.
It was another great year in the hockey pools and I really hope everyone had a good time participating in them! Check back on the blog throughout the Summer for news in the league and more announcements for pools in the 2011 season! There will be all sorts of good stuff available through the Summer, including hints and tips and possibly some other neat tidbits.
Have a good Summer everyone!