Well there’s a shocker, none of my predictions have come to fruition, except for the Blues winning in five games. As much as I like to talk about sports and think I know everything, when it comes to the playoffs you can throw out all of the statistics and everything you thought you knew. The playoffs bring out the best and the worst in players and theres nothing like a goalie on a hot streak that can ruin your series in a hurry (thanks Pekka). You truly cannot measure the heart and desire of players once they get into the postseason. As of right now though, the bigger stories than the current upsets of NHL heavyweights (Pittsburgh, Detroit, San Jose, Vancouver), is the fact that Brendan Shanahan continues to make an absolute mockery of the discipline system.
That’s Raffi Torres hit on Hossa that earned him a 25 game suspension, which happened mostly because he is a repeat offender. But how does he get 25 games and Chris Neil receives no discipline for his hit on Brian Boyle that left him concussed?
This is extremely similar to the hit Jean-Francois Jacques laid on R.J. Umberger, and Jacques received a three game suspension from Shanahan. It should be noted that Jacques was a repeat offender and Chris Neil is not, but how does that suddenly determine who should and should not be disciplined? If a guy makes a dirty play, why does it matter if it is on a star player, or if he is a repeat offender or if the guy that got hit was injured? A dirty play is a dirty play and there needs to be consistency in the suspension and the fining of players. Shanahan was one of my favorite players when I was growing up, but he has done an absolute garbage job with disciplining players.
But, back to the playoffs for some quick summaries/predictions. I think St. Louis and Los Angeles will be a great, hard fought grind em out series. Both teams have stellar goaltending and I forsee a goaltending dual. After watching Nashville and Pekka Rinne dominate Detroit I really don’t think that Chicago or Phoenix will stand a chance against them, but I have been wrong before. I have been really surprised that the Rangers have had such a hard time with the Senators, but they just can’t generate any offense at the moment. I still think they will win the series, but they certainly have their work cut out for them. Washington shot themselves in the foot by losing to Boston at home and letting them have home-ice for game 7, the TD Garden is not an easy barn to win in, and I think Boston will clinch. Florida has their series all but locked up, Martin Brodeur has not been playing well and Florida’s GM Dale Tallon has resurrected a once dead franchise. Still can’t believe the Flyers beat the Penguins so handily, but when you have a player like Claude Grioux, special things can happen. The Flyers will be a force for the rest of the playoffs.
The one thing I can guarantee is that because of the early exits by the teams that have typically been dominate in the NHL, this offseason will be unpredictable and there will be major moves. It would not shock me in the slightest if the Wings went out and tried to sign Ryan Suter and Zach Parise and dumped some of their current players.