But the Canucks lost in the first round. Again. This is not about the Canucks at the moment, however. Watching playoff hockey is watching the best hockey. You don't just watch it, you experience it. At least when your own team is involved. But once you can set aside your personal fandom for your team on the sidelines, it is glorious to watch, breathtaking in the skill and will displayed night after night. Even for a neutral fan. The NFL has their spectacle of the SuperBowl, the NCAA has a pretty neat tourney that they make billions off of ( no labour costs ! ), and even he World Series and the NBA playoffs can have some special moments. But they al pale in comparison to the magnificent spring / summer that enthralls us every year. Well, except when the Kings win it. Screw them !
Of course, the reffing is a spectator sport in itself in playoff hockey, with no rhyme or reason when you watch of how one calls is compared to another. "Game management" abounds. But what are you going to do. Sacrifices have to be made to the greater good to get the kind of competition displayed night after night. Myself, I just think, or say " regular season call" and let it go.
It is easier when it is not your team involved to do that, of course. With that in mind. Who Ya Got of the remaining teams in the second round ?
New York and Washington
If the first game is any indication, this could be a helluva series. The game winning goal with one second remaining in Game One was amazing by Ward, to take home ice away. The hit to start the play by Backstrom was something else, on Big Brian Boyle. He had five hits in the game. Nicklas Backstrom. ( playoff hockey in a nutshell ) AV went ballistic on the hit at the time, but would not "comment on the officiating" afterwards. He knew his team is in tough in this one. This one should be fun to watch.
Montreal and Tampa Bay
The Canadian team gets the Hughson / Healy / Simpson trifecta, which means I probably wont catch much of this one ( ! ) , but this could be a pretty entertaining series as well. Montreal and TB both like to skate and stretch the ice, and there are enough stars to build storylines around. We know how the Canadiens will become "Canada's Team" of they can get past this round, but this one could go either way.
Stamkos Versus PK and Price. The winner of Game One wins it in Seven. That means Tampa Bay. Sorry Les Habitants.
Anaheim versus Calgary
I mean no disrespect to the Flames and their sainted "Red Mile" debauchery, but THIS is the team that beat the Canucks ? Perhaps the question should be just how good are the Ducks. They dismantled and destroyed the Flames in Game One, and if the Flames cannot respond with at least a better effort ( it something like 21 games without a victory for the Flames at the Arrowhead Pond, so a win might be a stretch ) to show that they can at least compete with the top seed, this one won't last long.
Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler are just too much for the Flames. Ducks in four.
Chicago and Minnesota
This one looks to re-ignite an old rivalry. These neighboring states are not big fans of one another at the best of times anyhow, but the North Stars and Hawks used to go at it "hammer and tong" in the old days. The Wild deserve to be here, they were the hottest team in hockey heading into the playoffs ( I forget the stats, but since the All Star Break, they had the best record ), and dispatched a "contender". But this is a bit more of a task for the improved Wild. The Black Hawks and their pedigree has earned respect.
In fact, this is "Who Ya Got" for me. At least for this round. I want to see who is on the injury list after this one. Because after the Ducks got eight days off in the last round, they will probably get the same this time, while the Hawks will need six or probably seven to get past the Wild. Hell, as I post this, the Wild just overcame a 3-0 deficit to make it 3-3. Q's Moustache just called a time out ! They got the lead back by the end of the period, but all indications point to a long hard series.
Use the comments for whatever tickles your fancy, of course. I like the Ducks, of course. I just don't want to see Kesler get a freaking Cup the year after he engineered an exit. The Hawks in this Game One are giving me pause right now. But that is my pick.
Who Ya Got ?