Other than the Sabres-Islanders, there doesn’t appear to be a single first-round gimme in the tournament. Other than the Islanders – relax, folks, truly it is nothing personal – there probably isn’t a team for which a case can’t be made for its capability to reach the Finals.
Well, We lied. Forget the Lightning, even if muzzling game-turning stars Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Brad Richards and Dan Boyle will present a challenge for the Devils.
We’re not buying lottery tickets on Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Dallas or San Jose, either. And if Ottawa only had a history of playoff success, well it wouldn’t be Ottawa.
The West powers bulked up at the deadline, but this has the feel of 2003, where low seeds dominated the matchups throughout. There are more strengths than weaknesses in the West, but no dominating team.
They can call it the new NHL, but goaltending and five-man defense always prevails in the playoffs.
That’s how Carolina won last year and that’s how Edmonton almost did last year, and that’s how the Devils and Wild are going to work their way to this year’s Finals.
Lou Lamoriello didn’t come back to fail. The Devils’ edge with Brodeur dwarfs their weaknesses in New Jersey, while Jacques Lemaire has as much talent as he’s ever coached in Minnesota.
So Lamoriello against Lemaire in the Finals. The Devils and the Wild, with New Jersey closing out the Meadowlands with another parking lot celebration.
The Caps’ Ollie The Goalie, as quizzed by Off Wing Opinion’s Eric McErlain.
A few days before the close of the regular season, GoonBlog’s Killer has some curious suggestions amongst his “Top Ten Ways To Save The NHL”. Along with “Get Rid Of Half Shields” (“when was the last time a player lost their vision? I know it happens but that™s the chance you take playing professional hockey. These foreign players run around the ice with there shields on and sticks flying. Not in North America hockey boys. Put Robocop back on the streets of Detroit.”), here’s one that caught my eye :
Limit the amount of Europeans in the league: Look at Soccer in North America. Every kid plays the game growing up but the fan base for MLS blows. You know why? It™s not our sport and the best known players are almost entirely foreign. We can™t relate to some kid who grew up in Sweden but we sure as hell can relate to some stud from Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Minnesota or even Southie. These foreign players sure are talented but let™s face it, do you wanna watch PJ Axelson for another 4 years or would you prefer some 6™3 monster from Mississauga tearing things up?