Apart from the snooze-fest that was Fat Marty's opening game loss to the D-bags from Broad Street, that was a pretty damn entertaining night of hockey. From the Senators using their 4th line to dole out some punishment to a Penguins team that is apparently 'Out For Justice'. More on that later. The Avalanche pulled off the last minute um, shocker... and handed the San Jose Sharks an opening night loss at home, and in the game of the night, the Coyotes went toe to toe with the Red Wings and came out if it with a glorious, snake throwing win in front of the White Out. You know, in front of the fans of the franchise that actually copyrighted it. Mostly though it's time to focus on the Canucks assault on Lord Stanley's Cup. My good friend Trevor Presiloski from the Internet Trashcan suggested the Twitter hashtag for the Canucks/Kings series should be 'regicide'. I love this one... after the jump, a little look at what it means.
a person who kills a king or is responsible for his death, esp. one of the judges who condemned Charles I of England to death.
Get it? So there we have it, a simple and common theme. This King is a pretender to the throne that has eluded the squad for too long. Yada yada yada... Music? Sure... first up, Seattle's Zeke, with Kill The King:
Now it seems that some journalists, most notably in the East have written off the Canucks and are picking the Kings to win this series. You know, because they're all experts on the Canucks and stuff. Remember when they said Luongo wouldn't beat Marty Turco and the Dallas Stars, because he had no playoff experience? Apparently that doesn't apply to Jonathan Quick. Surprised? Don't be. The journalistic double standards that are applied to the Canucks are well documented. I know the Kings have played well, really well in fact. But let me put this question out there to you: If the Canucks win that game on April 1st, and sweep the season series against the Kings, are people still picking the Kings to win?
Yes I know that the playoffs are indeed a different beast, but no matter which way you look at it, the Canucks have the advantage. The fact that people have already written them off just takes off a little bit of pressure. Not saying they're underdogs, but the teams are fairly evenly matched, the Canucks are just a little bit better up front as far as depth, even with Willie Mitchell out if they play up to their potential should be better defensively and have an obvious advantage in goal. It's not a cake walk, but the Canucks will win this series. A little Megadeth? Certainly...
YC did a great job of profiling the Kings in his Know Your Enemy profiles. To me though one name stands out: Dustin Brown. The guy hits everything in sight, will make contact with Luongo, and plays right along that line of legality. I don't recall ever seeing the guy drop the gloves (which is a source of frustration, if the guy was a 40 goal scorer I could see this, but answer the bell sometime, man) and he will do whatever he can to draw the Canucks into taking penalties, a category he lead the league in this season. He has good offensive skills, and will be a source of frustration for Vancouver if they allow him to play his game. I say, turn the tables on him. Hit him every chance you can. Every person on him needs to finish their checks. Be him. Know your enemy. Be your enemy.
Snake thrown and snake bit...
Shockers all over the place last night, starting off with the Ottawa Senators pulling off the huge game 1 upset against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Led by the line of Chris Kelly, Chris Neil and Jarkko Ruutu, the Sens managed to outgun the Penguins and their 'White Out' How do you know your goalie had a bad night? When Eugene Malkin and Sidney Crosby each have 3 points and you still lose. Marc-Andre Fleury was brutal last night, and the Sens certainly took advantage of some bounces they got. That's what the playoffs are all about. They'll need to tighten up their PK as this series goes on, as the Penguins matched them going 2-4 with the man advantage. The Penguins slogan for the playoffs this year is 'Out For Justice'. The players are being all vague, refusing to talk about what it means, saying wait 'til the playoffs are over. Forget the laughable implications that the Penguins have somehow been wronged, Marc Savard and Willie Mitchell beg to differ. Apparently they've been slighted and now they're Out For Justice. Sounds like one of those bloody awful Steven Seagal or Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. The only justice will come in an upset of the Penguins for stealing the White Out. And if you're gonna wave towels, make em black. The white ones belong to someone else.
Can the San Jose Sharks really do this again? They gave their organization a major overhaul, bringing in a number of character and role playing types of guys to try and give themselves the right mix to not just win the first round of a playoff series. but actually go all the way. Instead, the fans at the Shark Tank were treated to a team that played down to the level of their opponent, who got some great goaltending from Craig Anderson and did all the little things right. Things like getting the puck to the net, which got them the winning goal with less than a minute left, when Chris Stewart fired a puck from the corner, banking it in off Rob Blake's skate. The questions about San Jose have started already, with some suggesting they're in trouble already, when most picked them to win the series. Fool me once...
Whether you buy into the 'feel good for them' theme with the Coyotes, you had to like the effort they put forward against the Detroit Red Wings last night. From the real White Out, to a team that went toe to toe, to a theme that has exploded from the internet thanks to our friends Chemmy at PPP and Travis Hair at FFH, this series, if it keeps up this frantic pace seems to have the makings of a 7 game masterpiece. The Coyotes got a huge night from Derek Morris, 3 points including the game winner, and Ilya Bryzgalov was solid turning away 38 of 40 for the 'Yotes. There's a level of animosity in this series already, and I won't be surprised if we see the normally passive Red Wings throwing down, out of frustration with the Coyotes more than willing to get right in their faces.
Despite New Jersey's struggles the last few years when it came to playoff time, things looked good on paper for them as they faced off against the Flyers. With the situation in goal, no one's really given Philadelphia a chance in this one, but someone forgot to tell Brian Boucher. The unlikely hero stopped 23 of 24 shots, and the Flyers managed to get 2 of their 14 (!) shots past Martin Brodeur. The defense was so stifling that it had the appearance of the Flyers shoving Devils' coach Jacques Lemaire's defensive mantras right back in their faces. There's a long road ahead for the Flyers, but they've given themselves a huge confidence boost, from the net out as this series heads to game 2.
Finally, in a non-hockey bit of news, just want to pass on my condolences to the friends, fans and family of Peter Steele of Type O Negative, who died last night. While I was never a huge fan, Steele's contributions through Type O, Carnivore and Fallout. He was a unique, compelling and charismatic performer, and the heavy music world will miss him greatly.