Friday, May 15, 2009
And then there were four. Observations from NHL Playoffs
Oh hi. Nice to see you again. Its been too long. Just like that, we find ourselves in the Conference Finals in the NHL Playoffs. What an unreal first two rounds this year. Rivalries, storylines coming out of everywhere, and most notably, some GREAT hockey. What a time to be alive. Here are some things I noticed in the first two rounds. Some good, some bad. Annnnnnd begin... 1) Colin Campbell needs to go. The double standard that has existed in terms of suspensions since Campbell took over the disciplinarian job has been maddening. If you haven't been suspended before, you can do whatever you want, ONCE. Thats like saying, I haven't killed anybody yet, but if I wanted to, it'd be ok, because it would be my first offense. Flash back to the first round. Flyers' joke Dan Carcillo on Max Talbot... Ruling: One game suspension Now, the Flames' Mike Cammalleri on Martin Havlat.. Ruling: Nothing. Joke. Carcillo got suspended because of who he is, the same reason Cammalleri didn't. In a way, Cammalleri's punch was a bit more vicious. The league stated that Carcillo was suspended because it was late in a blowout game and he shouldn't have been out there. What difference does that make? Really, Colin? Really? Then he let Scott Walker off with a free pass for his sucker punch on Aaron Ward. Ward didn't defend himself. That doesn't make what Walker did any less brutal. 2. Chris Osgood does not suck. All the guy does is win. Does he have a great team in front of him? Yes. Does he make the team a little bit better? Yes. The guy is a proven winner when it comes to April-June hockey, is loved by his teammates, and the smart fans know he is an asset. Osgoods stats through two rounds: .921 save% 2.06 G.A.A. Bottom line: 8 wins I'd take Osgood on my team anyday. 3. Sidney Crosby does not suck. Neither does Alexander Ovechkin. Perhaps the most ridiculous debate in sports today. Crosby sucks? Are you kidding me? Rag on the guy all you want for being a whiner. But try to convince me or anybody who has inkling of knowledge of the game that he sucks or is overrated. Has he not proven enough already? I mean, really. The same can be said for Alex Ovechkin. He is by far the most exciting player in the game. That does not mean he's the best. He is the best pure goal scorer the game has seen since Brett Hull. He just needs to take that next step as a leader and a teammate. That will come with experience and maturity, something that Crosby has leaps and bounds more of right now. 4. Too much whining. From everyone. The Pens can't win a game without someone saying that Gary Bettman has a fix in. The Canucks fans blame their exit on Gary Bettman wanting the last Canadian team out of the playoffs. Bruce Boo-hoodreau cries after every game because the post-game buffet wasn't big enough. Or the officiating, one of the two. The Ducks were pissed after Game 7. The Wings were pissed after game 5. Shut up, accept that the reason you lost was because you didn't play well enough. Take a page from Stan Van Gundy's book and blame the players for every loss. Well, try and find a happy medium actually. Van Gundy's approach isn't working too well with the Orlando Magic right now. 5. Team Canada 2010 implications. Joe Thornton and Mike Green may have played their way off the team. The hockey world keeps waiting for Thornton to do something in the playoffs. He has been nothing buy abysmal in big games his entire career. The Caps are saying that Mike Green was playing injured during the playoffs. That may be true, but even healthy, Green is at best a marginal defensive player. His 31 goals is certainly sexy, but he may be the worst defensively sound Norris Trophy nominee ever. Cam Ward has most certainly played himself on to the Olympic Team. Since the all-star break, Ward has been the best goaltender in the game, and is the single biggest reason the Hurricanes are in the final four. The guy just has ice in his veins. Never gets rattled. 6. Remember... ... the St. Louis Blues? Calgary Flames? Columbus Blue Jackets? Me neither.