Opinion: 5 reasons to watch the Stanley Cup

Sidney Crosby (Reuters)
Sidney Crosby (Reuters)

By Logan Swinkels

The NHL is down to the final two teams and here is five reasons you should watch the Pittsburgh Penguins and San Jose Sharks battle for the cup.

It's the oldest trophy, but some say it is also the hardest championship to win. Before even qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs, a team must survive an 82-game season. The intensity is only ramped up once the Cup is on the line.

Opinion: 5 reasons to watch the Stanley Cup

(Getty Images)

It's taken the San Jose Sharks 25 years to get here. In recent memory they've struggled to get out of the earlier playoff rounds, but it's all coming together in 2016. The only thing standing in their way now is the Sidney Crosby-led Pittsburgh Penguins.

Earlier this season it looked like all hope was lost for the Penguins. But after firing their coach in time for Christmas and hiring Mike Sullivan, plus a few smart trades for depth, this looks like a team ready to win again.

Lucky for the Sharks, they've got Martin Jones in net.

Speaking of Sid The Kid, the Pittsburgh Penguins captain is one of the most marketable stars of the sport. He's Captain Canada. And now the world's best player has returned to the biggest stage in hockey.

Opinion: 5 reasons to watch the Stanley Cup

Sidney Crosby (Reuters)

Great expectations come from a tagline like "World's best player", but clutch situations is where you'll find Sidney Crosby delivering some of his best work.

Champions thrive on winning. He lifted the Cup once; he's won Olympic gold twice. Crosby has developed a taste and wants more.

Hockey players are known to be very superstitious creatures.

Playoff beards are visually the most awesome part of these superstitious traditions. Once the post-season starts, it's an unwritten rule that no one shaves until they either win the Stanley Cup, or get knocked out.

Opinion: 5 reasons to watch the Stanley Cup

Brent Burns and Joe Thornton (Getty Images)

San Jose Sharks veteran Joe "Jumbo" Thornton has such an impressive beard that one could be mistaken for thinking Santa Claus decided to lace up his skates and play some hockey.

Sharks defender Brent Burns is up there too with a beard that could make him look like Chewbacca. Just imagine what those beards could look like hoisting the cup after a couple more weeks of growth!

Murray is this year's rookie sensation. People must wonder where this 21-year-old wunderkind came from, but ever since starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury was out with a concussion, the workload has been heavy on Murray's shoulders.

NHL goalies are usually in their late-twenties by the time they display the kind of talent and maturity for the role that is being displayed in the Penguins goal crease right now.

Opinion: 5 reasons to watch the Stanley Cup

Matthew Murray (Getty Images)

Murray recently featured on Jimmy Fallon's Superlative segment as 'Most Likely To Be The Villain In A French Cartoon'. Jimmy got the villain part right.

If the Penguins go on to win the Stanley Cup, I predict that he will also pick up the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Players will put their bodies through hell to lift the Stanley Cup. Rest and relaxation can wait.

This year we've already seen a broken ankle, cheap shots aplenty, stray pucks to the face, and of course, the hockey fights.

For the San Jose Sharks, this could be the last chance for aging stars Patrick Marleau and Thornton to make a championship run before retirement. And for the Pittsburgh Penguins, it's all about completing the miracle comeback.

The Sharks and Penguins play with skill and speed upfront and brick walls in the net - it'll be an exciting match-up.

Come puck drop at midday Tuesday (NZ time), expect both teams to lay everything on the line, and if you've never watched a hockey game before, now's a good time to start.

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