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And so it begins...

After days of downtime, endless "who do you want to see win" talk and somewhat premature off-season banter, we're reminded tonight at 8 PM ET that the hockey season is still in action as the Blackhawks and Flyers drop the puck on the Stanley Cup Finals.

Perhaps my personal favorite theory being thrown around the interwebs and, more particularly my office, is that the Chicago Blackhawks are the better team because they are, after all, an original six team.  I fail to see how this helps their case at all.  Am I the only one who has been privy to such rationalization, or are others out there facing the same?

Even today, hours before the first game of the FInals kicks off, I can't decide where I stand on this series.  I've said countless times that I really don't care if Marian Hossa wins or loses.  I've been told on separate occasions that I have a pretty vindictive side to me, so perhaps deep down I want to see him lose just so I can keep laughing maniacally at his routine follies.  This is just one of the many reasons why I will likely be your local neighborhood bartender in hell.

Then there's the Flyers.  Can any Pittsburgh fan rightfully go out there and root for the Flyers?  I'd venture to say no.  However, can you at least muster up enough strength to credit them for their run to the Finals?  I think I can do that.  I mean, here's a team that remained out of the playoffs until the final game of the season against the Rangers.  While many fans may call "gimmick" on the way events transpired afterward, you can't deny that we'd see something like this at some point over the years since the shootout was introduced.  I'd venture to say we could all agree that a "gimmick" is also the reason why a Brett Hull overtime goal in 1999 brought on so much controversy years ago in the Finals between the Sabres and Stars.  If a rule exists somewhere, it's only a matter of time before it gets put under the microscope like this.  Granted the whole crease rule thing was eliminated the following season.  I don't see the same happening to the shootout.

Also, to kind of piggyback Philly's run, who are we to deny their comeback after sinking into a 3-0 hole against the Boston Bruins?  History was made in that run.  But in a way, I almost feel it isn't justified at all unless they win the Cup.  I'd imagine a lot of Philly fans would agree.

And so we're left tonight with the last series of the 2010 NHL season.  As I said earlier, i still don't know where I stand with regards to picking or supporting a team in this series.  Truth of the matter is, I'm just hoping for one more good series before hockey goes away for four long months.