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Opinion
By James Pavel

East versus West. Palm Trees versus skyscrapers. Biggie versus Tupac. There is nothing more climatic than when the city that doesn’t sleep and the city of angels drop the gloves.

The Los Angeles Kings versus the New York Rangers potentially facing off in the Stanley Cup final is a victory each in their respective hats from reality.

No the semi-finals are not over. And based on the way the 2014 playoffs have been completely shaken upside down like they owe the town bully milk money, Montreal and Chicago could still advance for a classic original six showdown.

But facts are facts, and the Kings and the Rangers currently have strangleholds in their respective playoff assignments.

A LA/NYC season finale is what Gary Bettman and company have been fantasizing about since the success of 1994.

The New York Rangers vs. Vancouver Canucks 1994 final is considered one of the greatest fourth round playoff series of all time for a number of reasons. With the exception of Mario Lemieux, Canucks forward Pavel Bure was the most exciting player of the 90s and he was absolutely soaring in ‘94. The Rangers were raging with star power, with Mark Messier as captain, Mike Richter in net and Brian Leetch, who would go on to win the Conne Smythe trophy, at the helm on defence. It went to a dazzling game 7 where the Rangers were eventually crowned league champions.

But most importantly, it was the world’s most celebrated city going up against a west coast opponent and the television ratings were worthy of champagne popping before Lord Stanley was even presented.

Whenever New York is successful, this is great news for the league because quite simply, it is the apex of the universe. Even better is if the Rangers can make it to the final and face an electrifying west coast gunslinger like the Canucks. But only in Gary Bettman’s wildest fantasy, would they somehow come to match up against the cornerstone of the wicked west, the LA Kings.

The potential is limitless. This west versus east showdown equals maximized exposure for the National Hockey League. Hockey will always be booming in Canada, but to have it abuzz across all 50 states would be a riveting advancement for the sport.

The NHL has one of the most marketable stars that sports can offer in Sidney Crosby. Alexander Ovechkin and Patrick Kane have become regulars on Sports Centre highlight reels.

If The LA/NY showdown could come to fruition, the league could finally join the holy trinity of American sport, accompanying the NBA, NFL and MLB and thereby forming the royal quadrant of American sporting entertainment.

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