Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Is Oilers - Ducks the Next Great Rivalry?

It's not quite Gretzky vs the Leafs in 1993 at the Maple Leaf Gardens, a Stanley Cup berth isn't at stake quite yet but the Game 7 tomorrow night between the Anaheim Ducks and Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers has must see TV written all over it. 
If you haven't heard yet, Connor McDavid is the greatest thing the NHL has seen since Sidney Crosby bursted on the seance in 2006. The Ducks have all the experience but in a pressure packed Game 7 it might be the team that has nothing to lose that has the advantage on Wednesday night. 
According to a Toronto Sun article in 2013, 4 Million people watched on TV the LA Kingsdefeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in Game 7. I'm curious to see what the TV ratings are tomorrow night when Edmonton travels to the arena that is closest to Disneyland as the fans await the script tat is going to play out at 10 ET on NBCSN. 

The script that has played out over the first six games has already been storybook. Two major meltdown's by Edmonton in Game's 4 and 5 was followed up by a an Oilers slaughtering in Game 6 that saw the Oilers win 7-1 and force a decisive Game 7 with the winner eight wins away from winning the Stanley Cup. 
With the NBA playoffs being anything but exciting this year, two Game 7's back to back featuring the three best players in the game should capture the American audience as well. 
If tomorrow night doesn't, what the hec will? The NHL is at a pivotal point right now, The sports next superstar is playing in Edmonton, a city where three quarters of Americans might not be able to pin point on a map in a game that would be similar to pin the tail on the donkey. 
Who knows, this might be the last Crosby - Ovechkin Game 7 we have. What will NBCSN have to advertise after the two stars that have dominated for over the last decade retire? 
I can't see NBC getting too excited about promoting the battle of Alberta. As good as it would be for Western Canada, it won't happen anytime soon. Both the Sharks and Kings are getting older, hec the Kings didn't even make the playoffs. That leaves the Ducks  the only remaining divisional rival that will give Edmonton any competition. 
The thought might be a bit premature, but it is still fun to imagine what NBC would do without Pittsburgh and Washington being the two great rivals they are now. 
If Ducks - Oilers is a preview of what the future holds in the NHL, lets hope that tomorrow's Game 7 is a instant classic. 

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