Well that was ugly, wasn't it? Gary Bettman's science project took the Detroit Red Wings to game 7 before being savaged 5-1, the playoff dream over for the Phoenix Coyotes. And while the fans of the Coyotes are hurting right now, believe me, if it had to end, this was the best way. Imagine if they had lost in overtime, or worse... like Nashville did on Saturday? It will be much easier to get over this loss this way than a 1 goal decision. It doesn't feel so good now, but you will get through it. As far as the future of the Coyotes, who knows? Some are saying it's doomed to fail. My hope is that, for the sake of the true fans down there (and there are some), that if it has to end it's quick and as relatively painless as possible. They've been through enough.
The battles for the West are now set, our rematch with the Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks with a much tougher test than the Avalanche as they take on the Wings. And after a game 7 that didn't live up to the hype, tonight we have one that possibly could, and that has the NHL shitting their collective well tailored pants. It will be a setback for the gains the NHL is making selling the game in the US if Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals lose to the Montreal Canadiens tonight. The CBC is thrilled at the possibility of having 2 Canadian teams in the 2nd round, especially one in each conference. NBC and Versus? Not so much. Think about all the marketing that has gone into promoting Ovechkin. The highly anticipated rematch between Sidney Crosby's Penguins and Ovechkin's Caps derailed by Jaroslav Halak? Not the end of the world, but think of all the promos that have been prepared in advance. People were talking about this rematch when the two teams were shaking hands last year.
I am hoping tonight's match will be a little less one-sided than the beatdown in the desert last night. I am not a fan of either team, but I am favoring one team over another. And I hope they win. And yes, being vague is fun.
So other than that, we wait for Saturday. There will be countless articles written about each team, who will have the advantage, etc. Some will be written by hockey writers who are looking forward to what could be the best series of the second round. Others, hit pieces by jaded hacks, but what else is new? Either way, we look forward to some excellent discussion and playful, respectful banter with fans of the Hawks and anyone else who wants to stop by. I wasn't on this site last year, and I am excited to be a part of the NM team as the Canucks seek out 12 more wins.