With the playoffs in full swing, I kinda wanna talk about it. Anyone game?
My team was edged out of the playoffs by Nashville so I’m not sure who I’m going for now, but I know I want to see Detroit lose. I’m liking the Sharks in the west and the Habs in the east, but I definitely respect the fact that the Penguins are just oozing with talent right now.
The Habs should at least survive the Flyers and meet Pittsburgh in the Eastern final. That will be an excellent series.
It always sucks to see your team go out in the first round but hey. We played San Jose hard pretty much all series and came within a game of pulling off a big upset. Hats off to both teams for a great series.
Definitely have to like San Jose out of the West. Them or Dallas, I think. :x
I like Montreal Kanadiens. That was an excellent move by Carbo putting Koivu and Kovalev on the same line, and bringing Kostitsyn brothers together in the last game vs. Boston. Habs could handle Flyers; but I’ll go with Pens taking the East. On the West side I pick Detroit.
Go Pens. Rangers are a huge test for them, but I don’t see how anyone can shut down both lines (Malkin / Sykora / Malone and Crosby / Hossa / Dupois). Should be a great series. Whoever wins this one will steamroll the Habs. Planning on going to game 5.
The Habs have a better team than NY and Pittsburgh. They’d have to really fuck up to be steamrolled by anyone but a western team from here on out. The Habs could lose, but no one’s going to make fools of them, especially not the Pens. Whoever wins the Eastern Conference Finals is probably going to do it in 7, with 2 or 3 games decided in overtime.
And then swiftly get the ax from Dallas or SJ, most likely.
This team will only disappoint you. They have the talent and the depth to be the best team in the league when they want to be. They could be a Stanley Cup winner, they should be a Stanley Cup winner, but they are just [edit: NOT] consistent enough in the willpower/toughness department. When they want to play up to their ability and CRASH THE NET, GET TRAFFIC IN FRONT, they are a juggernaut. When they want to dick around with one pass too many and wait for the pretty goal, they will get outhustled and defeated despite dominating the pace of the game.
Also, I think they’ve forgotten what a Penalty Kill is.
The path of rooting for the Sharks is the path off rooting for a team that you KNOW is good enough to do it but will not do so, like that one girl you went to school with who was smart enough to be a lawyer but decided her ideal career was to bump and grind on the pole at The Pussycat Lounge instead.
[Bear in mind all this gloom and doom is coming on the heels of an overtime loss. After they win game 2 I’ll be sunshine and rainbows and convinced this is OUR YEAR at last and nobody can stop them again.]
As for the Eastern Conference, I have to say something just feels RIGHT with the world that Montreal is back on top of the heap. #1 seed, realistic shot at going to the finals, especially as long as 20 years young Mr. Price continues to believe he is Ken Dryden reincarnate. I’m pulling for Habs vs. Rangers in the eastern conference finals, just because it would be so deliciously old-school to have two original six teams duking it out.
As for the west, Hades, I suspect you should start preparing yourself to see Your Favorite Villain emerge from the heap. The Avalanche Nostalgia Trip of bringing Forsberg, Foote, and Sakic all back for one more time? Not going to be enough unless for some reason Patrick Roy wants to come out of retirement too. Dallas isn’t good enough to beat Detroit either, and while San Jose COULD beat them (and I’d love to see it, and deep down I haven’t stopped hoping and rooting for it) they need to be WAY more consistent in keeping up the intensity and work ethic than they have been. Without that, they won’t get past Dallas and they certainly won’t get past Detroit.
I’m not a fan of the Sharks, I just predicted that they’d win. I’m not going to be disappointed if they don’t. I’m not even going to care.
Detroit’s an extremely mediocre team with an inflated record. 7 Games each against Columbus, Chicago, and St Louis (42 free points) make it hard not to win president’s trophies. A weak team and the shock of playing opponents that don’t suck shit in the playoffs give Detroit a rich history of choking against 90pt teams like Nashville and I’m genuinely surprised it didn’t happen this year. Yet.
Boston barely squeaked into the playoffs, viciously outplayed the Habs, and almost offed them. They’re not “on top of the heap” at all right now and they didn’t deserve their first win against Philly. They’re still being outplayed and mircaulously winning games by scoring with 20s left and getting weak goals in overtime. I like the Habs. I’d be more happy if they won the cup than any other team that’s left. But they’re not playing like they deserve to, and if that ever catches up with them, they’re not going anywhere.
Anaheim’s team was almost identical this year to the team that won the cup last year. They just got absolutely obliterated by Dallas and they completely deserved to. If you don’t think Dallas can beat the Wings if it ever comes down to that, I’m gonna have to assume this is your first year ever watching hockey and you still think whoever amassed the most regular season points has the advantage. Detroit is not some big hockey juggernaught. They’re the most vulnerable team left in the playoffs right now if you ask me, especially since they’re playing a rival team with the roster and work ethic to make the Wings look like fools if it plays to it’s potential.
Ah, but you see, the team that amasses the most regular season points in their conference DOES have an advantage. It’s called “home ice advantage.” Starting the series with games 1 and 2 at home, as well as game 5, and should a series go 7, they get that one at home, too. 4 games to 3. And unlike other sports where the home team advantage is purely emotional/psychological/fan based, there actually is a tangible manifestation of the home ice advantage: the last line change before a faceoff. i.e. the ability to get the desired personnel matchups.
The home ice/high seed advantage is admittedly less of an advantage, historically, than it is in other sports. But it is there, and it is tangible.
And the #1 seed gets that advantage in each series it plays (unless the finals pits them against the other #1 who also happens to be the President’s Cup winner).
Columbus, St. Louis, and Chicago are NOT free points. They’re inferior non-playoff competition, yes, but only someone who doesn’t watch hockey would make the faulty assumption that a good team automatically beats a mediocre team just by showing up. Otherwise 8 seeds would never knock off top seeds, and that happens fairly regularly in the NHL.
Also, a big part of the different between championship teams and merely good teams, is beating the teams you’re “supposed” to beat.
Colorado CAN beat Detroit. But anybody can beat anybody if they “play up to their potential” and their opponent does not. That doesn’t make it likely, or something to expect, or bank on happening. They have to have a lot more go “right” for them to win. Their margin of error is smaller. Detroit can afford to slip up more, because they have more talent and thus more ability to recover from mistakes. That’s how they won more games, and it’s why they’re favored.
Dallas CAN beat Detroit, in the same sense. When I say “they’re not good enough” I am for the sake of rhetorical argument leaving out the everpresent qualifier that any team of professional athletes can beat any other team of professional athletes given the right circumstances and bounces of fate. Because I assume anyone who has actually watched hockey understands anyone can beat anyone else but often does not. And I assume that any functional human being can understand the difference between possibility and likelihood.
Boston could have beaten Montreal too. It was definitely possible, especially with how hard they were working. But they didn’t. Montreal is a better team, and they had a higher margin for error. Ergo they survived their own moments of sloppiness and Boston’s hard work. Yeah, “IF” that catches up with them they’ll lose.
Anaheim was much the same as last year’s Cup winning team. Except all those grizzled key veterans are a year older, a year slower, etc etc. And they didn’t win their division this year because they aren’t as good as they were last year. But other than not being as GOOD as they were last year, yeah, they’re the same. Does Dallas deserve a pat on the back for eliminating them? Yeah. But that doesn’t make them the new champion. Yet.
And that doesn’t make them good enough that I should assume they’ll beat Detroit, who consistently are the top seed in the western conference year after year. They have a system that works. Goalies change. Captains Change. Scoring Leaders change. Even the Head Coach changes. They keep coming in at the top of the heap. No they don’t always win the Stanley Cup, but they always contend for it. When their division is soft and when it is strong (it wasn’t all THAT long ago that St. Louis was a playoff regular, too, and Detroit handled them then more often than not, as they do now when they’re down).
I don’t like Detroit, and no, I don’t want to see them in the finals again, let alone win again, but, what you have to realize as all sports fans who root for underdogs or against traditional powers must learn to accept, is that not liking them and thinking we see vulnerabilities in their roster does not mean they are “overrated” or bound for a fall. It doesn’t even mean those vulnerabilities are real. And even if they are, our opinions have no bearing whatsoever on other teams’ capacity to take advantage of those vulnerabilities.
More succinctly, your being sick of Detroit’s success isn’t going to make Colorado or Dallas play “up to their potential” and beat Detroit. Anymore than my lack of respect for the Disney Franchise caused Ottawa to play better against them in last year’s finals.
Detroit’s good, and none of their remaining competition has shown me sufficient evidence of having depth AND talent AND work ethic in consistent quantities to lead me to believe any of them are likely to outplay them in the second season any more than they did in the first season. They MIGHT.
But I’m hoping for it, I’m not counting on it.
[Especially not if Colorado keeps playing like this. No composure, no discipline, they’re just lashing out and taking penalty after penalty, like a team that knows it’s overmatched. It’s only one game, sure, and on Detroit’s ice no less, but they’re sure not showing me anything to change my mind.]
I’m also going to enjoy the playoffs, since I still have a horse in the race – disappointing as their level of play has been more often than not – and have fun talking about it, be it here or be it elsewhere, whether you want to join me in fun conversation or whether you’d rather just talk AT people instead of WITH them.
Detroit went 17-12-3 within their division, 15-5-0 versus the Pacific and 15-2-3 against the Northwest. If you want to bitch about Detroit getting “free points”, cry about how Calgary, Colorado, Phoenix, San Jose, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, Anahaeim and your precious Canucks make for a “soft” schedule. Not St. Louis, Chicago and Nashville. Even Columbus, who finished 3-5-1, had more wins.
And Colorado is getting slapped around by Detroit. They have no response as long as Forsberg and Wolski are out. Theodore has also regressed back into his old, average form. Maybe things will change when the series shifts back to Colorado. Maybe not. That’s thing about hockey, you never know.
Kaiser: Thanks for taking the words out of my mouth, jerk. >:(
There are weak teams in every division. Who do you think the 10 NW/Pacific losses were against? Teams like Dallas and SJ. Teams the Wings are going to have to play very very soon in an environment they’re known to choke on air in. They didn’t have to play any NW or Pacific teams 7 times this year. If they did, thigs would look very different from where they’re standing.
A 4-3 fluke win against a team without it’s top forward and breakout rookie doesn’t qualify as an around-slapping, especially if their goalie is out-of-form.
I never said Detroit was a BAD team. They’re an overwhelmingly mediocre playoff team though, and they’re the last team I’d pick to win it all right now. They could beat Colorado, but it pretty much ends there short of 8 miracle wins against 2 teams that have a very real ability to sweep them right under the rug.
I really dunno why the Habs keep letting the Flyers get these quick starts. :\ Can’t really blame Price on the first couple goals (screen by Koivu + the deflection by Hamrlik), but that fourth goal was terrible. They really need to pick it up in Philly.
:hahaha; You’re right, Montreal proved they were clearly the best in the East in that 7 game series against a Boston team that allowed more goals than they scored.
Montreal was 2 points better than a Pittsburgh team that didn’t have Crosby, Hossa and Fleury for most of the year. Pittsburgh also played 24 games against NJ, NYR, and PHI in the Atlantic, a tougher schedule.
If the Habs squeak by Philly, and don’t die in the riots following their victory, we shall see who the better team is. In 4 games.
Bring on Kovy, he’d be on the 4th line in Pittsburgh.