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An NHL Weekend Catch-Up

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Okay, I’m back from a nice weekend here in Phoenix, did I miss anything?

….oh boy.  Really?  Wow.  Let’s get crackin’ then.

*****

The Vancouver Canucks eliminate the LA Kings

Despite the NHL’s apparent referee rigging, goal judge hustling and sun belt favourtism, the slightly better team won by a thin margin in a predictable number of games.  Crazy times.  I assume Bettman (and cronies) are in his head-shaped Dr. Evil-like lair, doing the whole “drat, foiled again” thing, and firing up the Mr. Burns “excellent” fingers to cook up their next evil scheme.

But in the meantime - great series.  Great series, because the two teams were pretty evenly matched, and neither sustained any serious injuries, so we got to see their full lineups do full battle – a treat we’re rarely afforded in the later rounds. 

On to play the ghost of '09 playoffs past... and Kane's backhand.

In the end, the Canucks edged out the Kings in two crucial areas – one, for all the abuse he takes, Roberto Lunogo is a pretty damn good goaltender, and he outplayed Quick down the stretch.  Bobby Lu is one of those players that struggles under the weight of his own contract.  As soon as you sign for that much cash, fans expect you to not only earn it, but to be one of the elite few in the league.  And rightfully so.  I mean, otherwise, why did we pay this guy that much money again?

So when he ends up being simply “good” or “above average”, it’s easy to feel disappointed.  When really, there’s probably 25 teams in the leauge who’d love to have that greasy-haired goalie starting between the pipes for them (and I’d bet that includes New Jersey, with their Vezina candidate and all-time-great in net).

Hmm. Well that was fully crazy.

Also, the Canucks top line of Sedin, Sedin and Sameulsson are 2nd, 3rd and (t)6 in playoff scoring, while the only Kings on the front page of the 30 person leaderboard are the two defenseman, Doughty and Johnson (an impressive seven points each).  Sooo, Kopitar, Smyth, Brown, Frolov – while mostly young guys, save for Smyth - didn’t hold up their end of the bargain.

I feel bad for the Canucks that they have to play the Blackhawks in round two.  That fan base is getting real tired of Flyer-esque post season runs (always good, never great), and the Hawks are probably the tougest opponent from the West.  So ‘nuck fans… get cheerin’ for Nashville tonight! (Or at least injuries.)

The Wings win game five in Phoenix, the Coyotes win game six in Detroit

For the fans that have stuck with this squad through (recently) thick and previously-really-thin times, you’re in for a real treat.  A game seven in the NHL playofs.

Howard may be vulnerable yet....

Against one of the most exciting teams in the game, no less.  It means another game of revenue for the NHL, another game of fun for all of us, and the chance to move on, and quite frankly – wouldn’t half the pundits pick Phoenix to beat San Jose? 

Even though, yes, it “should be fun”, as I almost flippantly left this, a win means a favourable matchup against the Sharks, and then what?  Maybe a conference finals berth?  One game at a time and all that stuff, but I’m a writer now, and allowed to look beyond.  Wouldn’t Phoenix love to play a lackluster playoff team with a healthy Doan running bucknasty all over the rink and scaring wittle Joey T?  Go get ‘em tomorrow ‘Yotes, and as always…

Throw.

The.

Snake.

Marian Hossa half-shove-touch-pushes Dan Hamuis’ back, who’s racing for the puck near the boards

You guys are sick of/over this hit by now, so I’ll be quick with my two cents:  one of the first major incidents this year that I thought was called perfectly.

Identical to Phil's first-Masters-win jump

What boggles my mind, is giving up a shorthanded goal with 18 seconds left in a 4-3 playoff game.  Chicago shouldn’t have even had to score in overtime.  The NHL should’ve stepped in, taken the puck and been like “sorry, Nashville, if you can’t hack it that situation, we’re just gonna give tonight’s contest to Chicago.  *bum pat* Now go rest up for game six.”

After that goal, I tweeted “Dying to know how long Keith was on the ice before Kane’s game tying shorty. He can barely muster Steven-Wright-level excitement.”

Thanks to friend of the blog JD, I got this back:  “According to nhl.com shift chart, Keith played 4:23 of the final 6:16 of regulation. Thats a decent weekend for Colton Orr.”   (Ha.)

4:23 of playoff-paced hockey in the final 6:16?  Caaaa-rap those are some serious minutes. 

Anyways, long story short, Nashville lost the series the second Kane scored.  The major penalty call was fair.  Now someone get Keith an oxygen tank to strap on for game six.

Sharks win, Penguins win

I just got frustrated looking through the individual stats part of the nhl.com, hitting “next page” trying to find the top players on San Jose.  I realize I could’ve just gone to their team stats, but I figured, “I already have this open, and their top guys can’t be TOO many pages deep….”

Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau combined for 18 games played, and one goal.  They also own ten total points – two of which came on the fifth goal in a 5-0 win.  WTF?

As a comparison, Joe Pavelski (a singluar human) has eight points, five of which are goals, two are game winners and one was a crucial game tying goal.  Douglas Murray is ahead of all three of those big guns (bums?) on the playoff stat list.  I’m done defending Thornton. 

*****

Ottawa, like Phoenix, got a tough playoff draw against a team much better than their final standing.  I’m just surprised they took it to six.  And weren’t they up 3-0 in the final game at one point?

Scary, scary good.

I watched zero minutes of game six.  Whaddya want from me, an analysis? 

*****

That’s all for today – enjoy the intense games tonight.  Spoiler alert: Washington, Chicago and Buffalo are going to win.

{Random – I follow Joel Stein on Twitter, who writes for TIME (and does it really, really well).  His first sports tweet I can recall was this morning: “If you’re not rooting for the Phoenix Coyotes, then you’re not a fan of incompetently managed businesses. #NHL“   Ouch.}

Comments

12 Responses to “An NHL Weekend Catch-Up”
  1. RewskiUVA says:

    No comment on the Caps no-show on Friday night?

  2. jtbourne says:

    Capitals no-show Friday night:

    The Capitals are scary. You kind of get the impression that the game has nothing to do with their opponent. They’re either going to show up and win, or not show up and lose. They can wake up with a few minutes left in the game and win, but if they never wake up, they look gross.

    Teams like Columbus and Edmonton can play good and lose, Washington can’t. They might be the only team in the league that literally holds their fate entirely in their own hands. Boudreau just has to find a way to make sure they show up four time every series.

  3. Char says:

    Eff the diving, slashing Sabres, and eff their moaning, complaining, whiney-ass coach.

  4. Nadeau says:

    Sharks are done next rd no matter what I love Pavelski and the boys but the winner of the Yotes/Wings will have more than one line going… like say there top line and there secondary scoring line not just the secondary scorers, I bet Big Joe and Marleau getting new area codes come this Summer… I am cheering for the wings only because I picked them to go far hence taking alot of wings in the hockey pool at work. However it would be exciting to see the Yotes rise from the ashes and lay a Spanking on the western confrence just not Chi-town again another team I predicted to go deep

  5. mikeB says:

    There wasn’t much to game 6. Yes Ottawa was up 3-0, then the better players became the better players. Ottawa looked tired. If they had pulled out an OT win then I don’t think that they would be able to skate tonight. Pittsburgh would run them into the ground.

    Either way I picked the Pens to win in 6, and they did so I don’t feel as bad about it anymore. I was pretty angry on Saturday though.

  6. James says:

    Eff the hacking, whining, cheap shotting Bruins and their not able to do kindergarten math (Miller was like the 10th man in and not the 3rd) fans.

    Vanek is back and Savard is not.

    Suck it.

  7. Char says:

    Who said anything about Miller?

    At any rate, fans can whine all they want. Who cares? When a head COACH is doing the whining, that’s pathetic.

  8. neil says:

    Not that it’s anything unique (unfortunately), but both teams in the Bruins-Sabres series are doing plenty of diving imho. But I agree Char, it seems like Ruff is always complaining about this and that (which isn’t exactly new for him) while Julien generally takes the high-road (it’s certainly possible I’ve missed some Julien rants, I usually just catch that stuff on sportscenter).

    Sucks to draw the Hawks again in the second round, but the second round in the West is almost always four excellent teams so what can you do. Plus, if the Nucks can’t beat the Hawks, they probably aren’t making the cup final so I see it as a mountain that was gonna have to be climbed eventually. But yeah… GO PREDS! lol

    Can’t wait for game 7 in the Yotes-Wings series, it’s AWESOME that Phoenix has a chance to bury the friggin Red Wings in their home building!!! I have to admit, I’ve always liked the Red Wings for being a highly skilled, well-coached team that intentionally avoids goons and needless fighting, but I’m definitely rooting for the Yotes in this one!

  9. The Franchise says:

    Good point on the Chi-Nsh series about game being over the second the Hawks tied it up, my only comment would be that I’d have like to have seen the from behind penalty over the boarding call in that situation. Especially at those speeds, those checks from behind need as severe punishment as possible (I don’t care how hard you actually push them, the point is to knock them off balance in a dangerous position)

  10. zyllyx says:

    Speaking as a Coyotes STH who has never seen this team even SNIFF the playoffs during the whole time I’ve been a STH – six years – the fact that we pushed a clearly better Wings team to 7 games thrills me to death. The fact that we have a 50-50 shot to ELIMINATE the Red Wings… AT HOME… Jesus Gary Christ, I don’t know if I would survive that. It’d be like dying in the amorous clutches of 50 drop-dead gorgeous naked supermodels floating in a beer bath with Rush playing live in the background while engorged on a full-course meal from Fleming’s Steakhouse.

  11. Fish says:

    @ Char,

    Yeah, like Julien whining about all the calls not going his way after his guys tripped up Roy, and then cross checked him in the back of the head a couple shifts later, right…

    This was a really physical series because, as always in the playoffs, both teams didn’t give the other any room at all. I’m pleasantly surprised Buffalo did not always back down but actually responded in a physical way about 60% of the time…

    But then again, both teams got more than their share of cheap shots in. All things considered, the refs lat a lot go. More than in any other series so far. And that gave a little advantage to the Bruins ’cause they have a team that can handle a lot more punishment then the Sabres.

    Anyway, stats say the Bruins have 0 % chance to get to the conference finals, so I’m looking forward to that now :p

  12. nightfly says:

    Don’t by so shy James, tell us what you really think! ;)

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