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Cubs manager Joe Maddon won't pick sides in Stanley Cup finals

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup finals starting this week, and Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon sounds torn.

Since becoming the Cubs' manager this winter, Maddon has embraced the Blackhawks' championship pedigree. He had Cubs players wear personalized Blackhawks jerseys on a recent flight to St. Louis and organized a team photo Saturday where players were again wearing the same Blackhawks jerseys.

But Maddon also was the manager of the Tampa Bay Rays for nine seasons and is good friends with Lightning head coach Jon Cooper.

“May the best team win,” Maddon said Sunday morning, the day after the Blackhawks earned their way into the finals. “I’m becoming the Blackhawks fan, as I should be. I do have some roots back there in Tampa; I know Coach Cooper really well, he’s a really good guy. I’ve not met (Blackhawks) coach (Joel) Quenneville yet. But I’m really excited about watching the whole thing. I think it’s going to be a powerful series.”

It was probably wise of Maddon to be diplomatic.

“I hate to say, ‘May the best team win,’ but I’m going to say, ‘May the best team win,’” Maddon said.