Top 5

Devin Setoguchi

Of the seven active professional hockey arenas in California (NHL and ECHL), Minnesota Wild right wing Devin Setoguchi has played in six. He ranks his Top 5:


  1. HP Pavilion (San Jose)

  2. Staples Center (Los Angeles)

  3. Citizens Business Bank Arena (Ontario)

  4. Cow Palace (Daly City)

  5. Honda Center (Anaheim)

NHL Confidential

Brad RichardsonVancouver Canucks forward Brad Richardson, formerly of the Colorado Avalanche, recommends John Elway's restaurant in suburban Denver. "It’s the best prime rib I’ve ever had," Richardson says. "Have it with the creamed corn."

JP

How the Stanley Cup Final will unfold.

Well, after the Game 1 classic it appears we have a dandy of a series on our hands. We’re predicting a seven-game series, the fourth since the lockout.

But, we must give one nugget of advice as the series moves forward … Expect the unexpected.

Game 2 at New Jersey

Prior to the game, New Jersey assistants Larry Robinson and Adam Oates provide a motivational pep talk to the Devils about their personal experiences in the Stanley Cup Finals. Everything is fine and dandy while Robinson speaks, but then Oates takes the floor and things get out of hand.

Oates, who played for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003, delivers a tear-jerking message about his “missed chance” to hoist the Cup. His heart-felt address resonates with 23 of the 25 men in the locker room, but Martin Brodeur and Patrik Elias sit in their stalls trying to hold back laughter.

Remember: In those 2003 finals, Oates and Anaheim lost to New Jersey; Elias and Brodeur were on that team.

“Suceur,” Brodeur cackles in French.

“Naivka,” Elias says in Czech.

Oates bolts toward the door in disgust, then turns around and says, “how’s this for English: Watch your back!” and disappears.

Kings fans arrive in their private jets from Hollywood. Devils fans stroll off the turnpike. Hollywood stars Matthew Perry, Will Ferrell and Rainn Wilson show to support their Kings. Rounding out the star-studded crowd is New Jersey natives Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and the entire cast of Jersey Shore, even pregnant Snooki, who doesn’t know icing from icing on a cake but holds a peculiar sign saying, “Kardashians + L.A. = useless,” which causes an immediate reaction from NBC analyst Pierre McGuire.

“Hey, Edzo: You know what this Hollywood bunch and cast of Jersey Shore needs? A Double Dion!”

Realizing he missed a grand opportunity  in the opener, Gary Bettman demands a ceremonial puck drop at center ice for Game 2 to honor history: It’s the first time two American-born captains meet in the Cup final. Cameras flash wildly when New Jersey’s Zach Parise meets Los Angeles’s Dustin Brown – then those cameras stop clicking as Matthew Perry stumbles across the carpet, obliterated drunk from too many Prudential Center beers.

Perry drops the puck, smiles, then collapses face-first onto the ice, causing a mix of boos and cheers.

“It looks like Chandler needs rehab again, Edzo!” McGuire exclaims.

The action on the ice is less than glamorous through two scoreless periods, but then Slovenian native Anze Kopitar scores two highlight reel goals en route to victory.

McGuire annoys millions of viewers when he links the Kings’ NHL-record, 10th-straight road win to a song from Bon Jovi.

“The Blaze of Glory for the road Kings continues, Edzo!”

Afterward, Perry and the cast of Jersey Shore host an all-night party with a majority of the Kings.  JWoww, oblivious to geography, asks Kopitar if Slovenia is “that  island near the Hamptons?”

FINAL: Kings 2, Devils 0

Game 3 at Los Angeles

Kim Kardashian, a regular at the Staples Center for Lakers and Clippers games, finally makes an appearance for the Cup Finals. It takes her 20 minutes to realize that water can be frozen in the same facility as a basketball court is planted, but eventually, she finds her seats, fittingly near the closest camera angles.

NBC spots her and performs a first-period interview asking about “Snooki’s sign” in New Jersey. An irate Kardashian puffs her cheeks to mimic Snooki’s chubbiness, prompting Pierre McGuire to make a historic analogy.

“It’s 1993 all over again, Edzo! Barry Melrose makes a cheek-puffing gesture toward Pat Burns!”

Amid more hoopla as the scene shifts to vibrant Tinseltown, with the hometown Kings on the verge of grabbing a stranglehold in the series, the Kings management team makes a strategic decision for the ceremonial puck drop: They choose former Kings irritant Sean Avery to drop the puck.

Their choice in Avery is designed to alter the mental make-up of Brodeur, who despises Avery so much, he passed him in a series-ending handshake in 2008. So here comes Avery walking along the red carpet; his left hand holds a puck, his right hand waves in jest at Brodeur.

It appears funny, but Kings management made an egregious error with their selection of Avery: He used to mock, harass and humiliate Dustin Brown during their time together in L.A. In fact, it was so bad, that Brown would be the last guy in the rink, the first guy out. Hey, I’m sure you would do the same if Avery made fun of your lisp and your wife.

“Are you ssssssticking with that sssssspeech therapy, Dusssssstin?” Avery says.

Brown performs the first-ever “puck-drop embellishment” and gets Avery tossed from the rink.

The game begins as New Jersey storms out of the gates, scoring twice in the opening minute, a Stanley Cup finals record. The goals come from linemates Travis Zajac and Zach Parise, who Pierre McGuire links to another Bon Jovi song.

“The North Dakota alums are singing Never Say Die, Edzo!” McGuire exclaims.

The Devils roll to their first win of the series. Afterward, Parise and Zajac engage in an uncomfortable interview with McGuire, who sits in between them for five minutes, 21 seconds.

FINAL: Devils 5, Kings 1

Game 4 at Los Angeles

Mike Richards invites Kings fan David Beckham to the team’s one-touch warm-up – a game of booting the soccer ball around a semi-circle. Beckham, who is still seething after being ripped by President Obama earlier in the month, coupled with the desire to make a macho impression on the rough-and-tough hockey players, decides to perform a roundhouse-kick blast; it’s a 10 on the judges’ scale, but it thuds off Kopitar’s head and concusses him for Game 4.

The Chuck Norris-like delivery by Beckham places the Kings into a state of bewilderment during the opening period. New Jersey takes advantage as Ilya Kovalchuk continues his postseason mastery with his playoff-leading ninth goal for a 1-0 lead.

The score remains 1-0 through the end of the second period, when Oates performs a traitor act and visits the Kings locker room to divulge Brodeur’s chief weakness: Harass him about past failures.

The Kings take the ice in the third and tease Brodeur about “Sandis Ozolinsh” and “fatso” and a “sister-in-law-turned wife.”

Finally, Brodeur cracks and relinquishes a fluttering one-timer from Drew Doughty that ties the game and prompts another Bon Jovi reference from Pierre McGuire.

“Ugly, Edzo!” McGuire shouts.

Devils coach Peter DeBoer becomes agitated with yet another Bon Jovi reference within ear shot and then satisfies the dream of every hockey fan across the globe: He dashes toward the bottom of the bench and punches McGuire in his bald head, which forces him to leave the telecast.

Matthew Perry witnesses the scene and stumbles down the lower-level steps, a look of a guy who is loaded from guzzling too many “Bandwagon Beers,” a Staples Center concession-stand special, just for this playoff run.

PERRY: “Can I take Pierre’s place between the pipes?

USHER: “You mean between the glass?”

PERRY: (passes out)

The game heads to overtime but ends in a hurry: Kovalchuk scores at the 2:17 mark to even the series at two games apiece. During his celebration, Kovalchuk performs his finger-pointing theatrics, but he aims in the direction of James Gandolfini (aka Tony Soprano).

Uh-oh.

FINAL: Devils 2, Kings 1 (OT)

Game 5 at New Jersey

A hoodie-wearing Jonathan Quick is met by FBI agents upon landing at Newark Airport the day before a pivotal Game 5 because they’re suspicious about his resemblance to unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

Penner tries to cover for his teammate and says Quick is “channeling his inner Eminem.” But authorities discount Penner as an “Anchorman wanna-be” and question the Kings goaltender for six excruciating hours.

Fast forward to game day, and the ever-so crass actor, Kevin Smith invades the Prudential Center.

In an effort to break the Kings’ 10-game road winning streak, Smith, a die-hard Devils fan, leans over the glass behind the Kings bench and lambastes every player who comes in the vicinity.

He rips Drew Doughty’s corny bowling name “Dewey Cox.”

“You’ll never be an actor like me, ya #$%&# wanna-be!”

He rips Dustin Penner’s back injury from eating pancakes.

“You play like #$%&# Aunt Jemima!”

Then it’s Darryl Sutter’s turn.

“English #$%&# . Do you speak it?!? ”

So much for being Silent Bob.

Meanwhile, Kovalchuk is nowhere to be found, which prompts a Pierre McGuire interview with Peter DeBoer.

It’s already an awkward moment after the Game 4 incident in which DeBoer drilled McGuire, whose shiny bald head features a purple bruise that oddly resembles a Kings logo.

That’s bad enough. But making matters worse is the hulking figure standing in the background.

MCGUIRE: “Are you still unaware of the whereabouts of Ilya Kovalchuk?”

DEBOER: (Looks straight ahead at the cross-armed Italian) “Still … (gulp) … unaware.”

MCGUIRE: (Turns around) “Hey, hey, Stevie Schirripa – or should I say Bobby Baccalieri – what are you doing here?”
(Screen goes black)

Quick, still distraught from the FBI scare, allows a goal from center ice by Adam Henrique at the 40 second mark of double overtime, a blast that’s strikingly similar to Derek Morris’s slapper in the Western Conference final opener. It ties Quick with Chris Osgood in the infamous category of “Most despicable goals allowed in a single postseason.”

Henrique, meanwhile, is basking in the glory of scoring his third overtime winner of the playoffs. The native of Brantford, Ontario,
tells McGuire that he’s “Brantford’s Best,” a direct insult to the town’s true hero, Wayne Gretzky.

FINAL: Devils 3, Kings 2 (OT)

Game 6 at Los Angeles

Cuba Gooding Jr., Channing Tatum and Rainn Wilson stand outside Staples Center looking for their colleague-turned-enemy Kevin Smith, who took full credit for ending the Kings’ road winning streak in Game 5.

Wilson, who plays Dwight Schrute in The Office, ditches the hunt for Smith and sneaks into the Zamboni entrance. Clearly irate that Henrique slapped Gretzky in the face with his “Brantford’s Best” line, Wilson packs a bag full of snowballs out of the Zamboni dumper. Once the pre-game warm-ups conclude, Wilson catches up to Henrique and throws a snowball directly into his face, then
continues to assault him like the time he repeatedly pelted Jim Halpert.

Now with Henrique bloodied and bruised and Kovalchuk nowhere to be found, the Devils sputter in the opening period as the Kings jump ahead 2-0, appearing like they would force a Game 7.

Jeff Carter scores both goals via 5-on-3 opportunities that were drawn courtesy of embellishments — that being the artwork of Dustin Brown, who cruises by the Kings bench amid the chorus of congratulating fists, but stops when he looks toward the first row behind the glass at … Mickey Mouse wearing a New Jersey Devils jersey?

“Hey, Brown,” the mouse yells, “You’re the King of Flop, ya #$%&#!”

It’s Kevin Smith in a disguise – a payback in the direction of Gretzky, who once labeled New Jersey as a “Mickey Mouse organization.”

Smith, unbeknown to arena security, continues to yell inside the Disney costume as the Devils mount a comeback.

David Clarkson cut the gap to 2-1 when he scores off a Matt Greene turnover.

“HEY, GREENE: YOU PROBABLY WRITE A CHECK WITH A PENCIL!”

Then Bryce Salvador ties it at 2-2, courtesy of a Jarret Stoll turnover.

“HEY, STOLL: YOU EAT SOUP WITH A FORK!”

Clearly, Smith is underneath the Kings skin.

“HEY, SUTTER, YOU COACH LIKE —

Smith suddenly drops to the Staples Center concrete steps, a dart piercing his neck. Hovering above the ice surface in a luxury suite, and with a sheepish look on his face, is Will Ferrell, who is wearing the outfit of Federal Wildlife Marshal Willenholly.

“That’s what you call Will Power, Edzo!” McGuire yells.

The game heads to overtime and a nervous-bunch of Kings enter their locker room, elimination staring them in the face. That’s when the articulate-deprived Sutter tries to boost his team’s psyche and share his experiences from a 2004 Game 7 loss against Tampa Bay. The Kings, however, cannot understand Sutter’s mumbling and poor enunciation, which depresses the team and forces them to think about the topic: Losing the Cup.

Horrifying images flash before their eyes.

Jarret Stoll thinks about the 2006 Game 7 loss he suffered with Edmonton at Carolina.

“Edmonton was an eight seed. And I’m an eight seed, again” he grumbles. Ex-Philadelphia Flyers Mike Richards, Simon Gagne (in street clothes) and Jeff Carter simultaneously look at one another and say “Michael Leighton.”

Sutter, meanwhile, just stands with that blank stare while his locker room sulks.

The Kings come out scared in the overtime period with their sticks shivering in their hands, their feet wobbling in their skate boots.

Greene turns a puck over, scooped by Parise at the blue line, who darts toward the goal, uses Elias as a decoy and backhands the Cup-clinching goal over Quick’s shoulder. The Devils bench floods the ice and Pierre McGuire references a song by New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen, yelling, “Devils & Dust, Edzo! Devils & Dust!”

Perry, well beyond a coherent state, raises a Bandwagon Beer to the scene, then passes out.

The Kardashians, oblivious to the Devils winning their fourth Cup since 1995, talk amongst themselves about how the ice surface “never melted” in the month of June.

Snooki, JWoww and The Situation try to enter the Devils’ post-game locker room celebration, but turn away upon eying the dart sticking out of Mickey Mouse’s neck.

The Cup celebration continues into the wee hours of the morning, the Devils sipping champagne from hockey’s holy grail. Eventually, Elias and Brodeur cross South Figueroa Street and head toward their hotel when they hear a revving engine, tires squealing and two evil faces inside the oncoming windshield: Oates in the driver’s seat, Gandolfini in the passenger’s seat.

“It’s the suceur. Run!” Brodeur screams in French.

“No, not the naivka!” Elias cries in Czech.

Oates, however, loses control of the wheel during the attempted hit-and-run scene and crashes into a road-side tree, which knocks out Gandolfini, but pops open the trunk to free the person who’s been held hostage since Game 4: Kovalchuk.

“You know,” says Kovalchuk, uncrossing his cramped legs and arms as he exits the vehicle, “it’s a good thing this is fiction.”

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