Rangers surprise a lot of hockey fans

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HEADLINES AND SIDELINES BY KEVIN ADSHADE

It may not mean much to fans of the Montreal Canadiens, but the Habs had an admirable playoff run before their season ended at the hands of the New York Rangers on Thursday night.

One could almost say that beating the Boston Bruins a playoff round earlier was like winning the Stanley Cup, but that really isn't true, especially for the Canadiens, who unlike the Toronto Maple Leafs don't raise division championship banners to the rafters in their home rink (at least, I hope they don't, because when you've won as many Stanley Cups as Montreal has, anything else is well... not worthy of serious discussion).

The Rangers have surprised a lot of people with their first Stanley Cup final appearance since 1994, and it'll be an interesting Cup final, whether they play the Chicago Blackhawks or the Los Angeles Kings. Whoever survives the series between L.A. and Chicago will be a tough team to beat, but the Rangers have enough talent and the goaltending (and the mojo, too: they're workin' it on Broadway right now) to play with either of those teams. They won't enter the Cup final as the favourite, but that isn't new to the Rangers – they haven't been favoured against anyone since the playoffs began. And here they are.

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Non-Sports Thought of the Week:

1980s Canadian pop star Corey Hart is giving a farewell concert June 3 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. It was supposed to have taken place May 31, but was pushed back because the Canadiens could have played Game 7 the same night at the Bell Centre, so of course the Canadiens took priority over Corey Hart, which is quite understandable.

Anyway, Corey Hart was a pretty big deal 30 or so years ago (saw him open for April Wine at the Metro Centre in 1984, and while he wasn't the worst I've seen, I wasn't there to see Corey Hart).

This is 2014, however, and I respond to a Corey Hart farewell concert much the same way as I did when ’60s and ’70s television icon Buddy Ebsen died a few years ago: "I thought he was already dead?"

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Another Non-Sports Thought of the Week:

John Lynn, who used to help run the Weeks Crushers Junior 'A' franchise, is facing the axe from his CEO position at Enterprise Cape Breton Corp., after the federal government concluded that he had circumvented a rule or two when he hired four people with strong ties to the federal Conservatives and Nova Scotia PCs, two of whom had worked closely with MP Peter MacKay. Lynn was on paid for nearly a year while the feds did their "integrity investigation," and while they apparently they didn't find much in the way of integrity, they did discover a boatload of patronage.

Ah yes, the more things change...

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Canadian tennis players Milos Raonic and Eugenie Bouchard both advanced into the third round of the French Open this week; by the time this hits the newspaper, one or both could be gonged from the French.

Raonis is the eighth seed at the tournament but don't let that fool you: a thousand things would have to go right for him to win the French Open – he just isn't a complete enough tennis player, and the Europeans who grew up on the slow red clay are willing and able to rally all day and all night. I hope I'm proven wrong, but Raonic just doesn't have the game.

Bouchard on the other hand, just might. She has enough weapons and, just as important, the inner confidence to beat anybody, and it doesn't hurt that top-seeded Serena Williams was upset this week, and that is a major obstacle out of Bouchard's path.

She is seeded 18th, but that's 18 with a bullet: she won a tournament last week, is a fast-rising star in tennis and has what it takes to win a major. Maybe not right now (then again, maybe), but soon.

 

Kevin Adshade is a sports columnist for The News.

Organizations: New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins Toronto Maple Leafs Bell Centre Chicago Blackhawks Los Angeles Kings French Open Metro Centre Enterprise Cape Breton Conservatives

Geographic location: Montreal, L.A., Chicago Broadway

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