I understand that this is slightly late, but hey, I’m a busy man so relax and enjoy. As everyone not living under a rock, or North Korea knows, Lord Stanley’s Cup is currently up for grabs. And 16 teams (8 per conference) are getting amped for the playoffs. If you’re like me, you’re favorite team has been eliminated (damnit Bryz) so here’s a guide to who you should root for and why. Enjoy:

Honorable Mention: New York Islanders

Honorable mention because you don’t want to back them on the off chance you then get associated with them, which is not something anything wants. But they do deserve a little bit of your sympathies on the fact that they play Pittsburgh. With the likes of Sidney Crosby (Prize to whoever has the best nickname for him) and Matt Cooke, how could you not want them to lose. I mean even Don Cherry hates them.

5. The Los Angeles Kings

Everyone loves the underdog, which is exactly what the Los Angeles Kings were…last year. This year they come in to the playoffs as a 5 seed, not the best, but respectable. The Kings are fun to watch, captain Dustin Brown plays with such edge and skill it’s hard to tell if he’s an enforcer or a skill guy. Not only are they talented but the Kings are out to have fun and enjoy the game. If you need any more convincing, check out their Twitter game. Dustin Penner absolutely burned Conan O’Brien last year and their twitter account is one of the funniest professional sports accounts out there. *Side Note* The Kings have lost their first game 2-1 in OT and trail the Blues 1-0

4. The Washington Capitals

Sure Alexander Ovechkin is an overpaid slacker who plays minimal defense, and has a penchant for dirty hits, just another dirty Russian eh? However, Ovie has turned his game around. He has seemingly taken those criticisms and used them to get him going. In his last 23 games he tallied 23 goals and chipped in 14 assists, good form eh? The Caps’ goalie, Braden Holtby is a kid who came out of nowhere last year to beat the Bruins and take the Rangers to game 7. Not only is Holtby a good goalie, he’s a total badass, watch this clip of him shutting down one of Boston’s thugs. Still not impressed? This team has been historically  bad in the playoffs (minus last year) with Obama’s approval ratings similar to the Av’s win percentage why not give the capital something to cheer for?

3. The Minnesota Wild

The new kids fit in quickly (I wish I could’ve done that, sigh) in Minnesota. Zach Parise and Ryan Suter lead the team in basically all the important stuff.  So I know most of you must hate them because they did what the Heat did (Miami, this is why we can’t have nice things) but keep in mind these two chose Minnesota to be back to where they grew up and closer to home. Plus they didn’t have a ridiculous TV special that they would later regret. Besides those two guys, captain Mikko Koivu has been there through the good times and the bad times and everyone wants to see him do something good…right? Josh Harding, their backup goalie, suffers from MS and last night was forced to start last night after Niklas Backstrom injured himself in a stunning show of athleticism. Who doesn’t want to see him put the team on their back? I know I do! If those reasons don’t get you fired up for Minnesota (the team, not the state, there isn’t much happening in the state) just remember that they are an 8 seed they’ve got the underdog card, would love a Cinderella story, tears in their eyes to at the very least steal a series against the big bad ‘Hawks. *Side Note* The Wild lost their first game 2-1 in overtime and are now down 1-0.

They also play for team USA...how much more awesome is that? (Chris O'Meara/Associated Press)

They also play for team USA…how much more awesome is that? (Chris O’Meara/Associated Press)

2. The Toronto Maple Leafs

After not making the playoffs since the last lockout, the Maple Leafs and the hockey-crazy city of Toronto have had a lot of time on their hands come May. But rejoice Toronto, rejoice everyone in the front office (except for Brian Burke, but he’s a little busy now anyway) for your team is finally in search of Lord Stanley’s Cup. And if that little story isn’t enough for Toronto to win your vote, their first round matchup is against the big, bad, Bruins. I know I’m sure pulling for Toronto to beat the Bruins, a team who has Jack Edwards, a troll behind a microphone, players like Brad Marchand who I’m fairly confident are auditioning for Olympic diving teams and a fan base that is so outrageously vile (come on Bruins fans, I await your angry chirp attempts). If you still can’t get on the side of Toronto clicking this link will take you to a series of Tweets from Boston fans about the game 7 OT winner Joel Ward scored last year. Warning They’re so racist that even Mel Gibson cringed.

Boston brings out the thug in everyone

Boston brings out the thug in everyone

1. The Ottawa Senators

Yes folks, the Senators are the number one team you should pull for. Ottawa hasn’t one the cup since 1927 which almost makes them the Cubs of hockey. Their captain Daniel Alfredsson is old, but he just missed their Cup run. Alfredsson has been a Senator for his whole career, and his time is running short. He deserves the chance to touch the Cup. Craig Anderson was basically a journeyman goalie for his whole career, but has been outstanding these past couple of seasons, putting up Vezina worthy numbers this year. And last but not least on the list of reasons is Erik Karlsson. Last year’s Norris Trophy winner was injured early in a gruesome run in with Matt Cooke. After lacerating his achilles tendon Karlsson came back with a couple games to go and looks like he never skipped a beat. Chris Neil is the only knock on Ottawa, but hey, you’ve got to admire a guy who stands up for his teammates and can score some goals. All in all, Ottawa deserves your support for this playoff run, if not for the reasons I listed above, then at least for this mustache.

Get this man a Cup! (OTTAWA SUN FILE PHOTO)

Get this man a Cup! (OTTAWA SUN FILE PHOTO)

Questions? Comments? Think I should’ve said your favorite team so you feel special? Drop it in the comment box and we’ll see if you’re the lucky winner to get my response.

-El Perro Grande