Playoff Quick Shots & Hats Off To Sidney

Crosby’s vs. Ovechkin’s

This is exactly what the league, the networks and the fans were wanting from the Caps vs. Pens, eh? Even though Washington takes a two-OH lead into Pittsburgh, both games have been awesome to watch.

Crosby has scored all of Pittsburgh’s five goals so far…including matching Ovechkin’s hat trick Monday night…and very well could have a pair of three-goalers had it not been for Simeon Varlamov’s incredible save in game-one!

I’ve picked the Capitals in seven games in this matchup…and I’m prayin’ to God it does indeed go the full seven.

74 mph+ Winds vs. Big Bad Bruins

Remember that scene in “Dumb and Dumber” when Llyod, (Jim Carrey) asked Mary, (Lauren Holly), what the chances were of the two of them getting together.

“Not good”, replyed Mary.

“You mean, not good like one out of a hundred”?

“I’d say more like one out of a million”.

Lloyd then pauses to reflect and then says, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance…YEAH”!

Well, I’m telling Canes fans…there’s a chance. Not a big one, mind you…but escaping Bah-ston with a split gives them hope where there would be none had they been facing an OH-two hole. Cam Ward was stellar Sunday night, especially in the third period. They’ll need much more of that from here on.

Oh and Toronto…it was too a goal!

Quackers vs. Big Red Borg

If you could write up a good formula for the Anaheim Ducks to succeed against the Red Wings, it might go something like…”Keep Marian Hossa and Pavel Datsyuk off the scoresheet and continue to enjoy strong goaltending by Jonas Hiller”.

Well, it’s worked so far.

Hossa and Datsyuk have a grand total of one assist between the two and, even with their depth, the Wings will need more from them than that. As for Hossa…remember, he’s playing without a contract next season and a poor showing in the post-season might hurt him in the bank account this summer.

After Hiller allowed a couple of unfortunate goals in the first period of game 2…one off the ankle of his defender…he returned to the same form displayed in the first round against San Jose. He stopped 59 of 62 shots Sunday afternoon, including all 29 he faced in the 41:15 of overtime.

Heading back to the pond, the Ducks have to feel god about gaining the split in Motown.

Windy City vs. Orca’s

This series in tied at one apiece…but easily could be led 2-0 by either team. In game one, Chicago erased a 3-0 third period deficit, only to lose at the end. They then fell behind 2-0 in the first during game two but this time completed the comeback for a 6-3 win.

What this means is that even if the Knuckleheads get off to an early lead from here on out in the series, there could still be a little stick-clutching taking place on their bench. Plus, the Blackhawks have shown they won’t panick if they fall behind.

Robbie-Lu has surrendered eight goals in the two games on 62 shots, (.871 SV%), after giving up only five in four games against the Blues in round one. Yeah…we all saw that coming.

Meanwhile…Back At The Ranch

OK, so since it’s the hockey offseason here in Atlanta…which normally arrives here the day after game number 82… that means the Ilya Nikulin saga is upon us again.

Joy…rapture.

To me…after he put Waddell on the yo-yo last summer…I’m of the frame of mind that if he joins the team this season…great! If not…fine. Time to move on. We’ve pretty much been playing this game since Waddell picked in in 2000 with the 31st overall selection.

Now, that having been said, I actually think there’s a decent chance we’ll see it happen this year. His contract with Ak Bars Kazan is up and the bloom is kinda off the KHL rose right now. Plus, I think Kovy is probably using his time in Switzerland right now having a word or two with him as well.

If he does make it over, his 6′-4″, 210-ish frame could provide the blueline addition that the Thrashers need to solidify that corps.

So…what kind of odds am I giving that Nikulin finally decides to play in Atlanta? Well, let’s just say it’s better than Llyod’s chances with Mary.

Mid-Week Reading Assignments

The Falconer has posted Part One of his interview with Dan Marr in which he reviews the junior prospects.

What if Don Waddell decided to hold a White Sale this summer.

And finally…what’s all that whining I hear? Oh…it’s just that Crosby kid again. And what is it this time that the NHL’s poster child for post-lockout recovery has a problem with?

Well, he seems to have an issue with…of all things…hats.

110 comments Add your comment

Viking

May 7th, 2009
4:33 pm

Russian

May 7th, 2009
4:49 pm

Tomorrow SemiFianls.
Russia – USA. I love this game. It will be interesting to see it.
Canada – Sweden
Any bets? Who is going to Final. I hate to say it, but I think it will be USA and Sweden.

GaVaHokie

May 7th, 2009
4:59 pm

Russian… I think the exact opposite… Russia v Canada

Mountain man

May 7th, 2009
6:43 pm

Rawhide – Well said, sir. I pretty much agree with you on all accounts. I just dont like the shootout at all (and wish shootouts were not used in the sport I grew up playing–soccer, for the same reasons), but I begrudgingly concede its here to stay. I severely dislike giving points for a loss, and I very strongly want to see ties reinstated, but in order to do that and make it worthwhile theyd have to go to a 3-point system, and that would basically rewrite the team record books. Teams would be missing the playoffs with closer to 100 points, and the record could well be in jeopardy. While I wouldnt necessarily disagree with a 3-point system, I would not be too keen on seeing that team that holds the record for most points in a season lose their record. Even if it IS Buffablow or the Maple (very bad name which rhymes with “Leafs” and I shall not put here). As for me to stop watching, similar reasons. Keep up the BS suspensions and non-suspensions. Abandon the hardcore fans even further, make serious efforts to remove ALL fighting from the games (WHY would you want to lose the most attention-drawing aspect of your game?!?) But the problem is, there quite simply IS no hockey around here, so if not NHL Id have to make great efforts to follow the Glads or something like that. Maybe Id move to the Russian Federation and watch the K. I do like Stoli and am learning a wee-tad of Russian, so….

The Red Wings are a team that has deviated greatly from the traditions of the game: they ice a very “soft” team that has better skating, endurance, finesse and just plain overall skill than most teams do, but not many of their players are willing to fight. I realize the Islanders had a season or two where they didnt fight much and won it all, but a lot of that was because NOBODY wanted any of Clark Gillies and not many wanted to take on Bobby Nystrom. The Red Wings dont have that invincible element on their team. Whats your take on this? I mean theres no denying theyre winning, but what Im asking is would you prefer to see the Cup winner be the team that is the grittiest team, more like the Ducks cham-PEENS or do you enjoy the Wings current brand just as much?

Last thing: I live in the mountains of WNC, but I do like to catch a game or two in ‘Lanter. Ive enjoyed reading your blog for these last two or three seasons. Come next season, Id like to buy you a beer for your work here. Are you at every home game? And I dont recall for sure, but I seem to remember reading yall all hang out in Section 119. Again though, my memory has served me falsely in the past.

Thanks for your time Rawhide. ‘Preciate what you do here.

DWTOO

May 7th, 2009
7:56 pm

The difference in soccer (or real football) is that penalty kicks, or shootout, has tradition. Plus, if you’ve been running up and down for 135 minutes with no substitutions you’re probably ready to quit. I don’t like that the “Golden Goal” has gone away.

No matter the sport respect the traditions. Like ties in hockey – part of the game for years.

Viking

May 7th, 2009
8:39 pm

The young Sweden have had too many injuries and late call ups to have any chance against Canada. They have just not played together enough.

While Russia had a hard time with Belarus, they should have no problem with USA.

Russia- Canada.

Brendan

May 7th, 2009
10:29 pm

Russia vs. Canada. I’d prefer a U.S.-Canada final, to at least ATTEMPT to set the stage for “Amazing Awaits” in Vancouver 2010, at the Olympics. Historically, Team USA does better when the Games are held on their home continent.

Brendan

May 7th, 2009
10:52 pm

My thoughts on the 3-point system are this, in a nutshell. (Nutshell? How’d I get trapped in here?) As a hockey fan, I don’t want to have to be a MATH MAJOR, too. If a team is 8 games back, that might mean 24-points, under 3-point system. It’s just too crazy. And it would demolish all the point total records. If anything, I’d prefer to go to “games up, games back” like in Basketball and Baseball. The main reason to do that is to complete the purpose of a shootout. Namely, to determine a winner of a game. Just like they do in basketball and baseball, sports that don’t award “half losses” in the form of a “consolation point.” In the “games up, game back” system, there isn’t a “value” issue, because there are no points, whatsoever. The “value” of a game is … the game itself. Games would be either won or lost. That seems “reasonable” to me. And it would justify why the shootout is needed. Namely, to break the tie.

I never thought ties were “evil, sinister things,” to be avoided at all costs. A tie seemed, to me, like a perfectly viable outcome to a hard fought game. Each team got 1-point. There was no shootout. In the case of overtime wins, I like 2-points for the winner and NOTHING for the loser. There should never be points for losing. Ever. If the game is still tied after 65-minutes, each team gets one-point. And that’s how it ends.

I doubt that’s ever going to be reality again. The shootout is probably here FOREVER. While I agree that a team game shouldn’t be decided by an individual skills competition, it is. That’s just how it is. If my proposal passed, the “points problem” goes away. The shootout determines the winner and loser of the game. It counts as “one win” and “one loss.” And, down the stretch, in the playoff run … we wouldn’t have all these “3-point games.” Fans basically want to know, “what does our team have to do to make the playoffs or clinch the division, etc.?” They don’t want to hear, “We have to win, and hope the teams ahead of us don’t lose any of their games in overtimes or shootouts, because they still get a point that way.” That’s so weak. And unnecessary. The mechanism is already in place. Now, it’s just a matter of having the COURAGE to implement it to its fullest capacity. If the coach fears the shootout, he should alter his strategy, to try to win games in regulation-time or the overtime. The shootout ought to be the very last resort to determining the outcome of the game.

Chicago wins in overtime. Andrew Ladd. Series tied, 2-2.

GaVaHokie

May 8th, 2009
8:59 am

Brendan… not to be anti-America, but I’d love to Russia and Canada in the Olympics too, as a hockey fan. Maybe the Bronze medal game. ;)

Brendan

May 8th, 2009
9:56 am

Hokie, truthfully, I’d “settle” for a Bronze medal for Team USA. I honestly can’t see the Americans as “favorites” in the upcoming Olympics. I think Team USA would do well to be on that medal podium. In 2002, in Salt Lake City, the U.S. lost to Canada, 5-2, in the Gold Medal match. Mike Richter was in net. He was a class act.