April 15, 2004

NHL Playoff Impressions

No deep analysis here, just some things that have stuck in my mind as I watch the playoffs. For more knowlegable coverage, check out Off Wing Opinion and The Hockey Pundits. Both highly recommended.

Nashville has taken two in a row at home to tie their series against powerful Detroit. This shouldn't surprise anyone, because the Red Wings have a history of getting knocked out of the playoffs in big upsets. The Sharks did it several years ago, and last year it was the Mighty Ducks. Nobody believes the Predators will actually do it, but still...

The Wings have been spoiled in recent years by spectacular goaltending. This year they had kind of a soap opera in net, but I'm tired of hearing people griping about Manny Legacy. He's not a great goaltender, but he's not as bad as they make him out to be. Plus, he got the Wings into the playoffs. The Wings are going with Curtis Joseph is goal tonight. Good luck CuJo, they're giving you a chance to do your annual playoff choke.

Montreal's Kovalev is lucky his teammates haven't practiced a little 'lynch mob justice' against him. For those who haven't heard, Kovalev was moving the puck when a stick hit him across his (heavily gloved) hand. He quit playing the puck and acted like he was hurt trying to draw a penalty, then ran into his own player. An alert Boston player took the puck and scored the game-winning goal. Oh yeah, it was overtime. Two things really piss me off about this. First, Kovalev has a history of this kind of crap, and secondly, he blamed the teammate that he ran into for it. That's twice in this series that a Montreal player has faked an injury on the ice trying to draw a penalty. Embarrassing.

On the upside, it was fun watching former player and coach Barry Melrose go off about it on television. He didn't use the word "chickenshit", but that's about all he forgot.

Philadelphia is playing great and making the Devils look bad in the process. Broduer looks ordinary.

Tampa Bay is for real. I hate them, especially Martin St. Louis who looks like Richard Simmons. I don't know why, but he just annoys me. Actually, I do know why, it's because of last years playoffs against the Washington Capitals. Yep, I'm holding a grudge.

Toronto vs. Ottawa. *Yawn* Toronto is no fun without the whining, and Ottawa reminds me of the machine-like play of Landry's Dallas Cowboys. Mats Sundin left the game last night hurt, so unless he can come back, Toronto is done.

Colorado, Dallas and St. Louis just look old. All still good teams, but this year speed is king (Tampa, Nashville, Boston, San Jose), and these teams are showing their age.

Those speed teams I mentioned are just making the plays. They seem to be in the right place at the right time. Boston and San Jose in particular are fast and tough. These aren't prissy little speedsters, they check hard, move people off the puck, and plant someone in the crease on offense.

Calgary and Vancouver are too far west for this east-coast guy. I haven't really seen either play all year, and won't until later rounds when they might come on a little earlier. Kiprusof was the Sharks backup goalie last year, and it's beginning to look like San Jose is becoming a goalie factory - Shields, Nabokov, Kiprusof, Teskala, and I understand they've got a couple great prospects still in the minors.

The Sharks are going to be good for a long time. Young, fast, and good goaltending.

Posted by Ted at April 15, 2004 06:32 AM
Category: Square Pegs

Melrose's rant was great, I hope he gets back into coaching soon. Tanguay, Hejduk, Hahl and Svatos provide plenty of speed to compliment the two greatest players in the game. As such Colorado will win it all.



Posted by: Scof at April 15, 2004 01:30 PM
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