Loss To Habs Makes It Official

And…that’s it. It is finished. It’s official. The Atlanta Thrashers have been officially and mathematically eliminated from the playoffs this season. Thanks to the 6-3 loss in Montreal, Atlanta can now finish no higher than 82 points in the standings, which would be one less than the Habs have now, and they hold the eighth playoff position at this time.

As the Thrashers skated off the ice I could have sworn that I heard the slow, soft, melodic sound of taps being played somewhere in the distance.

Much like last Friday’s 6-3 loss to Detroit, this was a close game deep into the second period…Joey Crabb tied the score at one during the first period. Kovy tied it again early in the second after Glen Metropolit…remember him?… had put the Canadians up 2-1 just 32 seconds after the first intermission. So for a while, it looked like Atlanta was going to have a chance to slip another one into the win column.

How-EV-errrRRRrrrRRRRrrr…..

Zach Bogosian takes a hooking call at 8:20 of the second…seventeen seconds later Alexei Kovalev scores.

Kari Lehtonen plays a puck over the glass at 10:42…Atlanta kills it.

BUT…

34 seconds after killing it off, Bryan Little takes an interference call at 13:16. He then takes issue with the ref’s call, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct call as well…double minor…30 seconds later Alex Tanguay scores his second of the game…1:38 later, Alexei Kovalev also scores his second of the match. Badda-Boom, badda-bing… just like that, a one-goal deficit swells to three.

Three power play goals in 6:47…game over!

Alex Tanguay finished with 2 goals and 3 assist and Alexei Kovalev had 2 goals and 1 assist. Yup, Montreal “Alex-ed” us to death Tuesday night.

Bryan Little performed a really neat trick late in the second period by drawing a two-minute roughing call. He did this by allowing Andrei Markov to shove him across Carey Price who was covering a puck…then, while trying to get up off of the Habs goalie, Little roughed up Mike Komisarek’s stick with the back of his shoulder blades.

Kari had a less-than-memorable outing. For the record, he allowed six goals on 22 shots…but really it was worse than that. When Saku Koivu netted Montreal’s sixth goal of the game only 23 seconds into the third, it was on only the Canadians’ 15th SOG. The  Habs got their four second period goals on only 10 shots.

Kari Couldnt Spot The Metro (AP Photo)

Kari Couldn't Stop The Metro (AP Photo)

After playing so well and being hard to beat for several games, Lehtonen simply hasn’t risen to the challenge in his past two starts having given up 12 goals on 60 shots combined, (.800 SV%).

The Thrashers can continue to be of help to Montreal this week as the New York Rangers are in town Thursday night. The Blue Shirts are currently battling with, amog others, Montreal for playoff position. After beating Min-EE-Sooo-TAH 2-1 Tuesday night, the Rangers are tied with Pittsburgh with 86 points, just three ahead of the Canadiens.

69 comments Add your comment

Kari Lehtonen

March 24th, 2009
10:44 pm

I went out drinking with Bruce Levenson. He said something about a contract extension and enhancing my value to the franchise, then he bought me another drink.

Brendan

March 24th, 2009
10:53 pm

Well … Bob Gainey’s job very well may have hung in the balance for this game. Montreal doesn’t exactly have a firm grasp on that 8th and final playoff spot. In a way, Atlanta did themselves a favor by helping Montreal keep their playoff hopes alive. Montreal cannot reach the CF this year … if they don’t make the playoffs. That’s certain.

If the Habs reach the CF, Atlanta only owes them a 5th round pick in this summer’s draft. If the Habs miss the playoffs, Montreal gets Atlanta’s 3rd round this summer. These draft pick considerations are part of the trade deadline deal that send Matthieu Schneider to Montreal. In 2010, Atlanta, as part of that deal, gets Montreal’s 3rd round pick. If the two 3rd rounders cancel each other out, the net gain was still a 2nd round pick for Schneider. That’s not so horrible of a deal.

Try to see things from Montreal’s side. Last year, they were the #1 seed in the East. This seasons has not been “moving in the right direction,” unless Bruce Levensen also owns the Habs. For Bruce, “southward in the standings” reflects a proper path. Atlanta may not reach their point total of last season. But it’s still possible.

“Why tear it down?, when we’re so close,” said Levensen, last April. I can’t wait to see what quotes Bruce will have for us this year. Think he’ll pull a Coach Woodson (Atlanta Hawks) and say, “Records are records. I’m not concerned about our record. We can’t control our record.”

I think that would be Bruce Levensen’s most hilarious quote yet. And yes, folks, Coach Woodson actually said that in August of 2005.

The Kostitsyn Brothers

March 24th, 2009
11:02 pm

We told the refs to blow the game or Igor would cap both their kneecaps after the game.

Igor

March 24th, 2009
11:15 pm

I cap kneecaps anyway, make refs cry, pansies.

I take care of Cindy Crotchby next, Canadian pansies.

stendec

March 24th, 2009
11:18 pm

Hi Bill. Hope you and yours are well. Forgive re-post. Nothing to add at this point. My blood is STILL boiling! The Habs? Barf!…How truly precious. The Habs celebrated like they actually beat somebody worth a damn. They did not! Another mail-in loss. Always knew Kari Letemin was a fraud. Allowed benefit of doubt for John Petrino. No longer! He forfeited all credibility tonight. Six marshmallow goals? Coincidence? Hardly! Make the quitters walk to Hamilton. Damn quitting bestards! Captain For Not Much Longer Ilya Kovalchuk cost the team at least three goals with terrible misfires on wide open shots. True superstars BURY those opportunities! This group deserves to be buried. Literally!

Bruce Levenson

March 25th, 2009
12:01 am

stendec, you need a drink, a strong drink, and lots of them.

stendec

March 25th, 2009
12:44 am

Brucie baby. I do not smoke, drink or take illegal drugs. I do, however, love to frolic with my wife every chance I get. Thanks for the offer but I must respectfully decline. Rawhide, is Kari Letemin slated to start against Rangjerks? If so, it will be the only time in my life I will actually cheer for those New York pansies (want to use word with two different letters).

LAC

March 25th, 2009
6:12 am

Right Brenden, They ALL said We are moving in the right direction…

Well will worthless waddell, levenson or STUPID LIAR snydel, tell ALL
of us where the improvement is this season ???? There is NONE period.

Our defense still SUCKS !, I could care LESS about our defense moving up on the rush, They need to be ready to stop other team’s attacks.

Our other glaring problem, letting teams have TOO MUCH TIME in our zone
it is awful ! Plus we have a difficult time moving out of our zone as well.

But the defense needs to be improved this summer PERIOD.

Several we have need to go, Hanisey, Enstrom and Ex, they are too out of position and do not play defense any better than Obama could…???

But as long as the Master of Disaster amd Mr.Potty Mouth continue to run the show, I bet we are talking about NO playoffs at this same time next year !!!!! What do we have to look forward to ???? I wonder !

B. Thenet

March 25th, 2009
8:12 am

What exactly does it take for Lehtonen to get the hook? If Anderson pulls him early in the 2nd, we have a chance at winning this game.

Buzzeng

March 25th, 2009
8:20 am

The game last night should have been a good test of Thrasher progress, but we didn’t get a chance. You can’t give Montreal that much power play time and expect to win – it’s been a strength of theirs the past two seasons – especially with their backs up against a playoff eligibility wall. Still, I agree with IK – we did play pretty well 5-on-5. Rangers and Ottawa coming up, at home, will be two more good tests – how well do we bounce back and handle two playoff caliber teams? Go Thrashers!

Glovesave29

March 25th, 2009
8:33 am

Don’t get me wrong…we still would have lost last night, but jeez, could the officiating been any worse last night? Bryan Little gets a double minor for jostling for position on the weak side during a face off? Then another minor for being thrown on the goalie and then repeatedly “Chris Prongered” in the back? Even my Canadian buddy (born and raised in MTL) was shocked by the calls. Komisarek was TRYING to hurt him. There are no pads in the lower back when you are bent over like that.

Kari was weak last night, but several of those goals he had no prayer. The 2 on 1 early in the second – no chance…then the knucker that found the corner was out of his control too. Some days those things just happen. Shrug them off and move on to the next game. But the free reign we gave Montreal to the low slot was inexcuseable. C’mon…the goalie is getting screened by Koivu? Really? Koivu? Knock him on his keester!

Dwayne Johnson

March 25th, 2009
8:48 am

overall bad game for everyone. too many turnovers, too many penalties, too many missed oppertunities. One positive, still in the hunt for Tavares.

Season Ticket Sonny

March 25th, 2009
9:17 am

FIRE WADDELL!

Supes

March 25th, 2009
9:23 am

I thought that five on five, Thrashers skated and played better than Montreal. However, man did they kill us on the power play. Thrashers need to seriously work on Defending the PP, also, terrible officiating on several calls against ATL. Kari allowed a couple of soft goals, the rest, just nothing he can do.

Look, they played a desperate team at home fighting for their playoff lives, so all in all, you take it for what it is. Another loss in a rebuilding year, where you have a bunch of young guys learning how to play on the fly. You pay your dies now (with this current group), and hope it pays off next year and years down the road.

Ilya with goal number 38, 2 more away from 40!

Get ready for the annoying ranjerks fans at Phillips…now that they have the sean avery character back, you know something’s going to happen.

Dwayne Johnson

March 25th, 2009
9:41 am

i hope Boulton knocks avery into next week.

ranallo10 (in AT)

March 25th, 2009
9:45 am

What exactly does it take for Lehtonen to get the hook? If Anderson pulls him early in the 2nd, we have a chance at winning this game.

Hedberg is not the future. Either Lehtonen or Pavelec is. In my opinion it serves no purpose yanking Lehtonen in games that don’t truly matter…and these games don’t truly matter if they’re won. Winning is nice and all, but chemistry and team building is what is most important at this point (in my mind). You don’t help chemistry when you pull a goalie, because you’re showing your entire team that you just don’t trust your goalie to give you a chance to win. In a meaningless game where the win doesn’t really matter, why shake the confidence of the goalie and of the team’s support of him?

I wouldn’t have pulled Lehtonen last night, nor in his previous loss. It’s not worth it to me. He needs to play through his bad outings at this point, not be coddled every time it looks like he might get shellacked.

Rawhide

March 25th, 2009
10:19 am

B. Thenet – I would echo what ranallo said about pulling Kari. As we have discussed many times proir this season, this is Kari’s year to prove one way or the other if he is still “the man” between the pipes or not. Given that we have been out of the post-season hunt for quite a while now, Anderson needs to see if he can right the ship if need be.

Supes – Yup…Kovy even commented to reporters after the game that 5 on 5 he thought they played ‘em real well. Of the 22 shots the defense allowed…12 came on the Habs power play. 9 were while teams played 5 on 5 and one during a 4 on 4 situation.

That’s 10 SOG while at even strength…which is pretty darn good.

Smoothie

March 25th, 2009
10:27 am

Kari wasn’t THE problem last night. Rather it was our D-fense and their overall inability to clear the puck on rebounds or move traffic out of the crease in front of Lehtonen. Kari wasn’t stellar by any means, but at least 4 of the 6 goals were goals against just about anyone not named Brodeur. Of course, Jersey’s D-men would never allow so many juicy rebounds to lay in the crease for an eternity.

Is it just me or is Komisarek a complete and utter uber butt hole?

Spud Webb

March 25th, 2009
10:31 am

I hate the FROGS. They try all kinds of dirty crap all the time. Buffalo goes in there and kicks the &%@$ out of them. UGH.
The NHL wants the Penguins and Frogs in the playoffs, very badly. Officiating tilted?? Count me as one of the few who still believes things can/are fixed or “tilted” if you will. Frogs and Pens in the playoffs = more money for the NHL. The officiating last night was just what I would expect.
Bettman SUCKS…FIRE DW…what else can I complain about today, lol?? I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed!!!!

stendec

March 25th, 2009
10:41 am

I guess if Kari Letemin allowed 10 goals on 10 shots some damn apologists would defend him! And if Captain Until Defection Ilya Kovalchuk does not know bad goaltending when it bites him in the a## then he can take his clueless act elsewhere too. The Maggie’s Drawers misfit misfires on more open opportunities than any professed superstar I have ever seen! And I have seen quite a few of them in 50 plus years. Two good things. The more goals the higher goals against average and lower save percentage. Then the damn apologists will not have those meaningless stats to regurgitate every time the untalented Finn bestard whiffs in six or nine goals. Damn apologists!

Smoothie

March 25th, 2009
10:54 am

Stendec, YOU are a blabbermouth…no, you are the perfect example of diahrrea of the mouth. Just shut the eff up because you have no clue about what you’re saying. Do you not get it? Teams love playing against us because we let them camp out right in front of our goal and take as much time as they need to fire off perfectly place shots where a goalie has very little chance of stopping with regularity.

Also, I seem to recall a game recently in ATL against these very same, cheap-shotting, dirty rotten FROGS in which your favorite whipping boy stopped everything thrown his way when he was peppered with what? 50 freakin’ shots. The difference? When Kari stopped them, there was a defender in position to clear a rebound our muscle a guy out of the way. I really don’t know what our D-men were doing half the time last night as they completely deserted Kari after the first period.

So please, stop with the incoherent rants about Kari Lehtonen. Basically NO ONE on this blog agrees with anything you say.

Smoothie

March 25th, 2009
11:26 am

Edit: Correction to my comments above in which I referenced the Frogs as our opponent for the 50 shot barrage as it was the Crapitals we played that night. Point is still valid unlike any of the crap stendec likes to spew.

Tony C.

March 25th, 2009
11:30 am

Bad game. P!ss-Poor game plan: What should be the number one thing on the greaseboard when getting ready for a game against MTL??? Easy. STAY.OUT.OF. THE. BOX!!!!!

Seriously, when you think about MTL in the past decade or so you (or at least I), think about a team that is average even-strength, and STELLAR on the man-advantage. I don’t have the numbers, but Les Habs have got to have the #1 PP over the past 3-4 seasons, and in the top 7 over the past decade.

Add that known strength to the (un?)official NHL policy of awarding at least one 2-minute “Atlanta team playing Canadian team” penalty per period-well it’s a recipe for disaster if you start taking bad penalties, and then letting the officials know that it was a bad call.

I thought we carried the play even strength, and may have even been able to pull a win out without a highlight performance from Lehtonen. But as pointed out above, we were a man down (at least) for over a third of the game. You do that against MTL, and the Odds-O-Meter says your chances to win take a nosedive.

I’m starting to think about who is going to be available on draft day via trade. It seems that Waddell has pretty much telegraphed that one of our young netminders is going to be on the block, I am wondering which of our skaters is going to be shipped out as well?

Also, does this mean that Price gets the starting gig back? If I’m Gainey, I’m still giving the nod to Halak until Price MAKES me think otherwise-as poorly as KL played Carey “jesus” Price didn’t really turn in an above-average performance. I thought that if we could’ve gotten a couple more cracks at a man-advantage, the game would’ve been tied up. Of course our boys were to busy going to the box themselves.

Oh, and whoever said Ottowa is a playoff team-guess again, although the Sabres, Habs and Panthers seem reluctant to lock down a playoff spot, I just feel Ottowa’s got too much ground to make up and too many holes to do so.

I have NJD coming out of the east if the playoffs started today.

Brendan

March 25th, 2009
12:41 pm

I still like the Capitals in the East, Tony C. But NJ is an excellent choice. I also like Philly’s chances of reaching the CF, again, this year. Last year, they lost to Pittsburgh, 4-1. And suddenly, Pittsburgh is looking like a pretty good pick, too. Who WANTS to face the Penguins right now??

Isn’t this the GREAT thing about the NHL playoffs? We, honestly, have no idea. The closest thing to a “Consensus pick” might be the Red Wings to repeat again. But even that is far from certain. I like San Jose, out West. You never know.

This is why they play the games. By comparison, I know something close to NOTHING about basketball, but yet, my “average record” in NBA picks is somewhere between 12-3 and 13-2. In my life, I have gone 12-3, TWICE, in my NHL Playoff picks. That’s it. That’s the best I’ve ever, ever done. But I have gone 14-1 and 15-0 in NBA playoff picks several times. That’s why the NBA doesn’t really hold my attention. It seems too predictable. Yes, every now and a gain some 8th seeded team knocks off #1, but it’s very rare. In the NHL playoffs, some #7 seed had eliminated some #2 seed for every year from 1996-2008. Last year ended that streak, I believe.

That’s what makes it so fun to be a “generic fan” of the NHL. You never know who might emerge. Some teams sole purpose for existing was to knock out the Red Wings or Devils, to allow some team like Carolina or Edmonton to sneak through.

Russian

March 25th, 2009
1:55 pm

Crabb has been sent to Chicago. I guest Slater will be playing at Thursday.

Rawhide

March 25th, 2009
2:23 pm

Crabb has been sent to Chicago. I guest Slater will be playing at Thursday.

Which is good news that Jimmy seems to have recovered from the blow to his head in Buffalo a couple weeks back…VERY good news. But it’s bad news, though, for those of us who have enjoyed watching Joey Crabb hustle his a$$ off every game.

Spud Webb

March 25th, 2009
2:28 pm

Keep CRABB up. Dang it.

Rawhide

March 25th, 2009
2:33 pm

Ya know…if Crabb does next year what, say, Bryan Little did this season…crack the lineup for good…I’m sure he’ll get a fan-following of his own who gather in one section and make posters and banners and tee-shirts and stuff like that.

I suggest calling that section…Joey’s Crabb Shack!

Smoothie

March 25th, 2009
3:37 pm

Rawhide, my g-friend and I already have pet crabs we’ve worn draped around our necks…not actual crabs mind you as that would be gross. But that would be one hell of a new tradition to start when Joey scores a goal at home…we could toss some Alaskan crab on the ice!

Here’s hoping he gets a serious look to make the team next year. He is better than Thorburn, Perrin and Stuart. Since he plays RW, I can see him taking over for Thorby on the GG line.

Glovesave29

March 25th, 2009
5:12 pm

Brendan…I always take the team in the playoffs with the stronger goaltending. The Crapitals are too weak between the pipes to be able to survive Boston or New Jersey. I can even see the Rangers taking them down.

Smoothie – you beat me to it. I totally echo everything you said to our know nothing blogger stendec. KL had a bad game…sure, totally admit that. But the two on one tip in? NO ONE saves that. The last goal was a whiff that landed in the perfect spot. Had he shot it cleanly Kari was there. It was sort of like a knuckler in baseball. As for Ilya, I guess stendec is right and the entire rest of the world is wrong. EVERY TEAM would happily take Kovalchuk. He is a superior talent and a good guy. We have a few more like him, we are all talking about where we will meet after the playoff game for a cold beer.

Bad days happen. In the past few months they have occured less and less often. Heck, even the Wings have been blasted by 7 and 8 goals over the past months. You just shrug your shoulders and move on to the next game.

Brendan

March 25th, 2009
5:57 pm

Glovesave, I witnessed Chris Osgood win a Stanley Cup in 1998. And he didn’t particularly stand on his head in the processs. If I recall correctly, he let in an overtime winner, FROM CENTER ICE. And it wasn’t the only Center Ice-distance shot that eluded him in those playoffs. But the Red Wings were THAAAAT D@MN GOOD in ‘98. Had Esa Tikanen not missed a wide open net in Game 2, the Capitals might have evened that series. Instead, they blew a sizeable lead for a playoff game and never recovered, being swept in four.

But I do appreciate your point, Glovesave29. If Jose Theodore and Brent Johnson can’t cut the mustard, the Caps might not get far. In the “file under ‘curious’ stack,” the 2001 Tampa Bay Lightning finished DEAD LAST in the NHL and won the Cup in 2004. The 2003 Carolina Hurricanes finished DEAD LAST in the NHL and won the Cup in 2006. The 2004 Washington Capitals finished DEAD LAST in 2004. But no, they did NOT win the Cup in 2007, or 2008, if you want to exclude the “lockout” year. But we already have two, living-breathing examples of how quickly a Stanley Cup can be won … housed right within our own Division.

The Capitals roster isn’t anything to sneeze at. They’re not especially playing their best hockey right now. But it they can finish 5-1-1 down the stretch, that’d be some good momentum to bring into the playoffs. Washington only plays one team of their seven remaining games that is currently in the playoff picture: Florida. And that’s the final game of the season. They’ve got TB twice, Atlanta twice, Buffalo, Florida, and the NY Islanders left. Truthfully, every one of those games is fertile ground for points, for the stretch-run.

Glovesave29

March 25th, 2009
6:44 pm

The Caps have a good roster, but you cannot compare them to the Wings. Some teams are strong enough to overcome shaky, but I don’t think you can put the Caps in that realm. There are many more examples of lesser teams winning it all with a hot goalie than there strong teams overcoming weak goaltending.

The Bolts had Khabibulin and the Canes had Ward. Johnson and Theodore in my estimation will not cut it. I still cannot fathom why they did not just resign Huet. Then again, I still scratch my head that the Isles picked a goalie #1 overall for two consecutive drafts.

JAmes_kovyboy

March 25th, 2009
7:17 pm

Imagine being the only Thrasher fan in the Bell Centre, watchin those who you love getting beat up with a lack of effort

Yeah thats me.

D isnt woth ****

Kari Let-em-in says everything
GEt Van Remsdyk and a C on the Draft
then sign any random goalie like Tellqvist
well win
oh and trade every D except Enstrom, Oystrick, Bogs & Salmeblabla (XLB & Valabik are scratches)

Thank you for lettin me be laughed at by all those quebequers

Tony C.

March 25th, 2009
7:33 pm

JAmes: Props for wearing our coloUrs into the bell centRe. That takes some stones, I’m sure.

But do you really think Tellqvist could win here?

Alan

March 25th, 2009
7:46 pm

Eh, I beg to differ. The D had some breakdowns last night, but we have quite a young core on defense. And it could get younger. What you proposed, James, is trading everyone named Ron Hainsey, and I’m afraid that’s just not going to happen. I don’t see anyone on D being traded, except maybe Exelby. Furthermore, I’m sure D-Wad is going to make a last ditch effort to sign Ilya Nikulin.

The Quebecois might have laughed last night, but you have to consider the following:

* The Thrashers haven’t been a playoff caliber team this year.

* The Thrashers were going up against a team under immense pressure to make the playoffs, especially on their centennial season.

* The Thrashers out-shot, out-played, and pretty much out-did the Habs last night except in the one area where it counted the most. That’s where the D breakdowns come in.

They laughed, probably heartily, at someone who came into their house representing the opposition. But they won’t get the last laugh. This team has a lot of work to do, and the young D is going to become more successful when it comes to communication. They’re going to get the job done in the future — we’ve already seen what can happen when Bogosian and Enstrom play well together.

We don’t need a Van Remsdyk. We DO need a center, and we do need more depth on the wings. We have some good looking prospects in Chicago. I think we’ve hit our lowest point, and things will look up from here. So don’t be too down about being laughed at in their home. Because next year, you may be the one getting the last laugh. I’m quite sure you’re going to savor it.

Oh, and one final thought:

FIRE WADDELL!

JAmes_kovyboy

March 25th, 2009
8:58 pm

Yeah Tellqvist wont do much, but Pavelec is kinda a huge prospect, but if we want him we cant give him this D to start his career

I know it wont happen, but trade HAINSEY. Didnt you ever notice that at the end of everygame SOMEBODY mentions ” Oh the 3rd goal was on Hainsey..”

Its incredible. he threw himself in front of Tanguay

Anyways i ADORE our young guys. Enstrom & Bugs might be the next Lidstrom & Rafalski. Ok maybe not, but close.

Anyways I just wanted them to beat the Habs because I hate every last Québécois that lives in my colisse de province tabarnakk (french swearing)

All the best hopes for next year, GO THRASH!!!

Alan

March 25th, 2009
9:15 pm

Yeah, it won’t happen. I think Hainsey still needs to get used to the system, as far as being a defenseman (in name, at least) is concerned. I’m confident that will all be tweaked out over the summer. He’s got four more years on his contract, though, so don’t expect to see him moved anytime soon.

Oh, and welcome to the blog, James! (At least, I can’t recall seeing your name pop up here. It’s been a long day.)

Rawhide

March 25th, 2009
9:31 pm

JAmes_kovyboy – Great job representin’ the Thrashers up there in Queebeck-land! Haven’t seen ya around these parts for a spell…how ya been?

JAmes_kovyboy

March 25th, 2009
10:20 pm

Yeahh im finee
Wasnt on the blog cause I got pissed that they were losing every game
Then I got super excited on that winning streak, but I was too late
Now Im kinda back on track

But yeah im in MTL and Hainsey kind of makes me think of Sheldon Souray

Anyways I just hope our defense gets better, because even thoughour offense isnt that dangerous, it kinda scares alot of teams. But theyre game plan is always to attack our D

Brendan

March 25th, 2009
10:50 pm

So, if the Caps win the East this year, you’re buying me a beer? Not buying me a beer? Heck, there’s a few good teams. Philly, Jersey, Boston. If after firing Tom Renney, Torts gets the Rangers to the dance, that’d be a story.

But yeah, I cannot figure out why the Capitals would surrender a 2nd round pick to acquire Cristobal Huet, but then let him “walk.” I don’t get it. Theodore is one of these goalies that you never quite know what you’re going to get. He could do very well. Or he could suck, big time. With Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Green, Laich … I think it’s a competitive roster. Last year, the Caps failed to score in overtime of Game Seven. As a result, the Flyers moved on to the next round, then the Conference Finals. What if Washington had scored that goal?

Truthfully, my answer would be that the Penguins, #2 seed, would have probably dispatched them in six games. And the Canadian media would have had its collective orgasm, with an Ovechkin-Crosby matchup. By the way, in that scenario, the 5th seeded Rangers, who upset New Jersey in five games, would have faced the #1 Canadiens in the 2nd round. It might have set up a Rangers-Pens CF. We don’t have to wonder how that one played out, as it was the 2nd round match up, which the Penguins won in five games. What about Montreal vs. Pittsburgh? I still say the Pens take it. Ottawa Head Coach Bryan Murray, in 2008, claimed the Penguins threw a game to end the season so that it could face #7 Ottawa in the 1st round. And some speculated, “But why do that, if they face Montreal in the CF? They’d lose the home ice.” Habs never got there anyway.

I think these playoffs are going to be wide open this year. Let’s see who gets hot. As a hockey fan, these next four weeks are the best of the whole year. The strech run of the season, for determining final seedings, then it’s two straight weeks of eight playoff series, with games every night. It’s not that the 2nd round and CF are disappointing. It’s just that … there’s not as much hockey to watch. Sometimes, there are no games played. By the time the Finals come, in June, it seemingly takes forever to play that series.

Glovesave29

March 26th, 2009
8:15 am

Sure Brendan…Caps take the east, I buy ya a beer. My heart says Bruins and Flames, but my head says Devils and Wings.

You think the playoffs are long now, they are considering making it for the top 10 in each conference. The only way I could support that is to shorten the regular season.

Brendan

March 26th, 2009
10:42 am

A-ha! It’s the lure of that Kiprusoff vs. Tim Thomas Cup Finals series that your’e after, eh Glovesave! I can’t blame ya, any. That’d be a compelling matchup. Think about it. Here, the Bruins haven’t sipped from Lord Stanley’s Cup since ‘72 and the Flames hadn’t won a playoff series since ‘89, until the 2004 playoffs. Sadly for the Flames, they haven’t won a playoff series since that magical journey to the Cup Finals in 2004. They lost to Anaheim in 2006, 4-3. The Flames lost to Detroit, 4-2, in 2007. And last year, they were ousted by San Jose, 4-3, in a very close series. People forget … Calgary led that series, 2-1, and in Game 4, could have taken a “commanding lead” in that series had they been able to hang on to a 2-1 lead, in the 3rd period. Instead, they let it slip away in a 3-2 loss, that evened the series. Each team held serve at home in Games 5, 6, and 7.

The Bruins haven’t won a playoff series since 1999, when they knocked off Carolina, 4-2. Boston was bounced by Buffalo in the 2nd round, 4-2. That was the year Hasek and the Sabres advanced all the way to the Cup Finals, from the #7 seed. Please don’t bring Brett Hull’s overtime heroics for Dallas, or all the Sabres fans will scream, “No Goal!,” as if the NHL “might” decide to resurface the ice, bring back the 1999 rosters, and force the two teams to resume play, until Buffalo wins. Which is what, I think, Sabres fans really want to happen. Honestly, what is the point of wearing a “No Goal!” hat or T-shirt? It won’t change anything. All teams endure poor officiating all the time. Granted, that was the worst possible time for such a thing to happen, but it happened nonetheless, and wearing such apparel really is a sign that, “You’re still NOT OVER it.” The best revenge … is to draft well, sign and re-sign that talent, get back to the Cup Finals, … and above all, WIN!!! That’s what Buffalo should do. Not whine about 1999. Okay … enough of that.

So Glovesave, Devils and Red Wings? Not bad picks. Pretty solid. It’d be a rematch of 1995. But, in another somewhat SAD REALITY, at least from my perspective, it would reflect that the LOCKOUT FAILED. It didn’t really change anything, but for two years.

Indulge me, Okay??? Before the lockout, these were the results. And they CANNOT BE REFUTED. “Every 5 years, the same three teams would take turns skating the Cup.” I see the doubters out there. I do. But check it out, dudes and dudettes. These are FACTS.

1995 New Jersey —–> 2000 New Jersey
1996 Colorado ——-> 2001 Colorado
1997 Detroit ——–> 2002 Detroit

Inbetween, Dallas won a Cup in 1999. In 2003, New Jersey broke the “5 year pattern” by defeating the UPSTART Anaheim Ducks, who had upset Detroit. Then, we had the COMPLETE ANOMALY of Tampa Bay vs. Calgary in 2004. That was the series where the “exception PROVED the rule.” And SAD, SAD RULE is … that big markets that spent money got the Cup, while the Carolinas, Phoenixes, Buffalos, Anaheims, and Edmontons of the leagues served as “schedule fodder” for the other teams, with no real shot of ever hoisting a Cup, except via some miracle-run. See the Sabres in ‘99 and the Ducks in ‘03, which both ADVANCED from the 7th SEED. That’s NOT a typical result. It shows “what’s POSSIBLE” in any given year. But when you put it into the BIG PICTURE, it was the Detroits, Colorados, New Jerseys, and going back a year, the NY Rangers, who brought home the hardware. The largest point being: The ice surface was UNEQUAL.

Well, did the Lockout “fix” it? Like they SAID it would??

PFFT! The floor of the 2009 cap is larger than the ceiling was in 2005-06. So no, cash-strapped teams are still fighting the uphill battle. And the revenue-sharing isn’t nearly “sizeable enough” to truly matter. When the budget exploded, Edmonton and Carolina, Finalists of 2006, couldn’t even get back into the playoffs! And still haven’t! Though, they’re both CLOSER this year. 2007 saw Anaheim vs. Ottawa. Not exactly big, huge, cash flowing markets. Where are those clubs today? Ottawa is outside of the playoffs with no shot at making it in. Anaheim teeters of the bubble, and will have serious issues with re-signing players in the offseason, having even lost their GM, Brian Burke, who “saw the writing on the wall.”

Spud Webb

March 26th, 2009
12:11 pm

I would love to see Jersey play Detriot.

Glovesave29

March 26th, 2009
12:33 pm

Brendan, not so much the goalie matchup, as it is respect for those teams’ heritage. The Flames are obvious, as I was a fan when there was and “A” on the chest and played at the rusty egg carton. As for Boston…I liked them because they were one of the few teams that could mash the old Broad Street Bullies with their fists and fly alongside the Flying Frenchmen, scoring at will. I’d like to see an original six team play for the cup that doesn’t have a winged wheel or a CH as a crest. Chicago seems like they are still a year or two away, and I’d like to never see a Toronto cup celebration…ever!

Tony C.

March 26th, 2009
12:38 pm

I think it depends on the seeding order out west as to whether The Borg (love the nickname Mr. T) advance to The Cup Finals… Truly I think that if the playoffs started today and the RedWings drew the Canucks= Vancouver in 6.

I know… I’m crazy but you can’t count out San Jose-that entire organization KNOWS that anything less than a Stanley Cup appearance is going to result in a lot of pink-slips being printed. They’ve gone out and gotten veterans that’ve been there before, every roster move has been calculated with Springtime Hockey in mind.

Do I think that SJ could beat The Borg if the playoffs started today? nope. But I do believe that Luongo could keep them at bay until the Sedin Sisters got enough past Osgood.

Until Brodeur posted the two shutouts right after coming off the IR, I had Boston coming out of the east. But Marty looks great, Parise is unreal this year, and they still play great D.

Rawhide

March 26th, 2009
1:12 pm

I think the Sharks could beat Detroit if they were to go in with the home ice advantage. Even still, I’d have to go with The Big Red Borg if that series were to begin today.

I, too, like New Jersey in the East at this time. But Boston will have a lot to say about that.

If we do indeed see a NJ/Boston and SJ/Borg finals…whooo-BOY…that’ll be some fine hockey watchin’ eh?

Alan

March 26th, 2009
1:59 pm

Tony, I think you’ve got your teams mixed up a little. Detroit could take Vancouver in five, easily, at this point. Book it. It’s done. Detroit vs. San Jose? Well now, that’s a whole ‘nother ice game, right there. That series would go to at least six, and it might result in the Red Wings becoming fish bait.

I’m not saying that because I’m a fan of Detroit (although I’m sure someone will imply such), I’m saying that because I’m aware of Detroit’s weaknesses. San Jose knows how to exploit those. Vancouver doesn’t do so well with that. And as I’ve stated before, Brad F’ing McCrimmon is one of Detroit’s biggest weaknesses at this point. Trying to play the prevent defense against teams like Calgary and San Jose will result in a painful third period of any game for Detroit, and will drive even the most pure of liver to consume copious amounts of alcohol. For those of you who don’t follow Detroit hockey, you all caught a glimpse of what happens when you play prevent last Friday, when they gave up three goals to us in the third period. They mustered only eight shots on goal against us in that period, most of which came on power plays.

Vancouver just hasn’t seen Detroit play much prevent this year. And when they did (a 6-5 decision early in the season), they couldn’t get it done in time to at least tie it. They needed OT to beat Detroit, but couldn’t get it done in regulation.

Detroit’s biggest hurdle will be San Jose, thanks mostly to big bodies in the roster and Todd McClellan as coach. If they flop against a team like Vancouver, then you know they just didn’t want the cup bad enough this year.

NASCAR Dave

March 26th, 2009
2:19 pm

BRENDAN, how are we doing on the Points predictions???

Glovesave29

March 26th, 2009
3:44 pm

Tony…can’t see the Canucks willing to pay the price in the low slot to beat Detroit in a seven game series. They may steal a game due to faaaaar superior goaltending, but in the end the Wings would take them down.

Rumor has it now that Luongo wants to go to a contender. Thankfully, the really good teams already have salary cap issues. That being said, I can see Holland getting creative…can anyone else see Detroit letting Frazen go via UFA to keep Hossa and try to swing something to get Luongo?

Tony C.

March 26th, 2009
3:48 pm

Alan-No. I really believe that Vancouver now having two effective lines, and based on what Detroit showed me last week vs. us. Like you said McCrimmon’s defense isn’t so good. Sundin brings a lot of leadership and hunger to that team. I would posit that based off their last two meetings, Detroit knows how to run their system just a wee bit better than SJ.

I’m a big believer that faceoff% and having a hot goalie are the two most important things in playoff hockey. I think those two factors and a team’s record last 10 heading into the playoffs is usually a pretty good gauge of how a team will do.

Last 10 for both Det. and Van. is 7-2-1 SJ has been kind of stumbling around the past month or so. Their last 10 is 6-3-1…not much difference but if you look at the run over the past month Vancouver has put together to be within 3 pts. of Cal-gary (who it seems have forgotten how to win lately), and I would say they’re one of the hottest teams out west.

My opinion, and that’s why they play the games.