By Mark Simon
Special to NHL.com
May 14, 2004
The nice thing about the Kelly Cup Finals match-up pitting the Florida Everblades against the Idaho Steelheads is that it features a little bit of everything.
There is parity, with two teams you wouldn’t have expected to be here — Idaho finished tied for the 11th best record in the league. Florida finished tied for 13th. There is NHL-caliber goaltending on both ends with Florida’s Rob Zepp pitted against Dan Ellis. There is high-caliber skill (the Everblades are considered to be the league’s best transition team), and good all-around team play (the Steelheads have four players with either 11 or 12 postseason points. There is an international flavor, as two of Idaho’s top players (Andrei Vasilyev and Jan Kopecky) are European. There are experienced veterans, like the 31-year-old Vasilyev, who played three stints in the NHL totaling 16 games, and Tom Buckley and Reggie Berg on the Everblades, who emerged from retirement to become two of the most likely candidates for postseason MVP honors. Buckley had nine goals and 19 points in 12 games, two points more than Berg.