We are a week into the playoffs and fortunately most of my picks are holding up, saving me from feeling shame. Although it looks like the Ducks might not be able to keep up with the Stars. This is okay with me, even though I have a long-standing hatred of the Dallas hockey squadron going back to the days when they moved to Texas from Minneapolis. Which still stands in my mind as the most evil thing to ever happen to American hockey.
Anyways, here are some things that have been running though my mind besides anxiety over the Avs and cheap beer.
-Interesting how Ian Laperierre has been subjugated to the 4th line for the Avs since he beat up Marian Gaborik last week. It is almost like both Joel Quenneville and Jacques Lemaire understood Lappy’s motivation in the incident and aren’t making an issue of his actions, although Gaborik has yet to make a dent in the series.
-Alex Ovechkin is playing like a ringer that the Caps brought down from a higher league for the playoffs; he has that much ability. What makes Alexander the Great’s achievements, like how he was able to single handedly overthrow the Philly defense in scoring the goal of the playoffs the other day, is that his mates aren’t even close to his level. Maybe next year Backstrom can pick up the pace but until then, Alex is an army of one.
-Not that anyone was watching but Tampa Bay won the draft lottery and Steve Stamkos sweepstakes, easing the pain of trading away Brad Richards. Southeast division teams never cease to amaze me, both in their ability to harbor talent (Lecavalier, St. Louis, Staal, Ovechkin, Backstrom, Boyle, Jokinen, etc.) but for their ability, at least in Tampa Bay’s case to tank an entire season in a crappy hockey market in order to horde that talent. Go team!
-Montreal is kicking the beans out of Boston, and for all intents and purposes should sweep the Bruins (I picked them in five games). The best part of the Habs winning is so I can screw with my friend Hippie Nate. You know “that guy” in your fantasy league who doesn’t really know anything about hockey, but has a successful season because of dumb luck and collusion? Well, let’s just say that the farther the Habs go the more I get to see Nate squirm because of his season-long insistence that Montreal was a terrible hockey team. Silly Nate, hockey is for people who actually watch games!
-Here’s a prediction! If Calgary beats San Jose the Western playoffs will come down to two teams, and one of them will be Detroit. The Wings are using up all their turbos against Nashville, and should San Jose lose, that clears their way to the conference finals…unless of course the Flames turn into world-beaters again.
-For the Avalanche to beat Minnesota, they simply have to continue to play the same game they have been playing. The Wild have hit, so the Avs have hit. The Wild have sprinted, so the Avs have sprinted. See a trend? The Avalanche are turning out to be the better team because they played two games in St. Paul where they adjusted to playing Minnesota’s game. Tomorrow when the series starts up again at the Can I’m looking for the Avalanche to take control, as aside from a couple periods in which they played desperate hockey the Wild just don’t have the depth or ability to skate seven games with the Avs.
-One final thought. Is it me or has Marty Brodeur completely forgotten how to play goalie over the last three weeks? Ever since the Devils began to play a more offensive game this season, Marty has seen nearly the same playing time as in the past, only this season he’s had to work harder during those minutes. Once again I’m left to wonder if Brodeur’s career production was truly bolstered by a solid defensive team playing in front of him, and if the “new” Devils offensive bent is leading to a sharp decline in Marty’s production.
Okay gang thanks for reading as you shake off your hangovers, I recommed Gatorade. I’ll be back tomorrow with a preview of tomorrow’s Avs/Wild matchup.