Monday, April 24, 2006


NHL Playoffs: Speed (s)Kills

If you aren't enjoying these NHL playoffs, you have no soul (or you are a Flyers fan, and don't have a soul anyway)

I was skeptical, but now my fears have temporarly been put to rest as the NHL playoffs have seen Speedy "New NHL" teams defeat the slower, more physical "Old NHL" teams. I'm liking it, but we don't know if it will continue this way. Flashing back to the 2004 playoffs, the speedy Tampa Bay Lightning managed to have success a hard-working and hard-hustling Calgary Flames team. One thing never changes, the cream rises to the top. You can't win it all if your team is just mediocre. Every cup champion we've had has been 'good'.

Rangers 1 /Devils 4 - The playoffs have no bearing on the awards (except the Conn Smythe), but Tom Renney ought to lose any Jack Adams promotion for his bungling of his goaltender situation.

Henrik Lundqvist carried the Rangers to the playoffs. Lundqvist is clearly better than Kevin Weekes. It's not even close between the two netminders (like, say, Anaheim). Just because Henrik had one bad game is not a sufficiently good reason to go with a far inferior goaltender. Lundqvist took you to the dance, so don't ditch him when you see a hotter blonde chick in the corner.

Yes, the series IS over. We all know it.

Golbez's Goat of the Game - Sandis Ozolinsh. John Madden had 2 shorthanded goals, one of which Sandis knocked into his own net, and both while Ozolinsh was on the ice. Sandis was -2 for the night and pretty much provided as much offense as Donald Brashear would on an average night.

Philly 2 /Buffalo 8 - The "Rebound Machine", Robert Esche, was pretty much exposed as was the skating-in-slush Flyers 'defense'. Forsberg must be severly hurt since he looks far less dominant than usual. Still, it's not easy to produce offense when your team is constantly being beat to loose pucks by a speedier Sabres team. If the Flyers can't control the tempo of the game like they did for parts of Game 1, it appears the Sabres will have their way.

Now, Antero Niittymaki should have been the starting goalie all along. I'm not sure he could have prevented this slaughter, but he could have kept his team in the game.

Golbez's Goat of the Game - Robert Esche: 5 goals on 10 shots.

Carolina 5/Montreal 6 - Montreal has one clear advantage in this series: Speed.

Carolina's defense is a tad slow at times, and the Canadiens have been using their speed and hustle to generate scoring chances and counterattack with some supreme effectiveness.

Carolina was forced to match the Habs speed and, from the second period onward, they were hustling and churning their legs. It's 5-5 in OT as I type this and this has been one of the best games I've seen in a long time. Both teams are skating fast and playing hard. I love how the Canes stepped up their level of play and are doing their best to negate the speed disadvantage as much as possible.

This is what truly what NHL hockey should be: a game of skill, speed, scoring chances, and flow. Gary Bettman should tape this game and promote it as the prototype for what every NHL game ought to be. Any fans in the building who are watching this game as the first NHL game of their lives are probably going to be hooked for life.

Oh, and that building is absolutely rockin'

Well, it's quiet now after Michael Ryder scores in 2OT. I don't wanna hear any of this "Carolina is choking" talk that you know you are bound to see. Carolina played their asses off and Montreal gets full credit for a well-earned victory. There is no 'choke' if you go down fighting.

Golbez's Goat of the Game - Richard Zednik, who almost cost his team the victory with his stupid double-minor in the 2nd period.

Colorado/Dallas - First period...It's not just Marcy Turco's apparent suckiness that's costing the Stars, but the fact that the Avalanche are doing an amazing job at preventing scoring chances against Jose Theodore. The Avs must ph33r for their lives knowing that Theodore is not going to be able to stop anything hard, as they held the Stars to 3 shots in the first frame.

Second, now it's 4-3 Dallas.

Golbez's Goat of the Game - So far it's the goaltenders, who both suck large, rotten Easter eggs.

(Edit x 2: John-Michael Liles with the OT goal. Wow, Colorado has certainly shocked my socks.. ok so Joe Sakic with the deflection..)

Forberg looks absolutely terrible. Man o' man my picking the Flyers looks awful right now.
Amen on that "It's not choking" comment.

Choking is when Colorado scores 8 straight goals and then watch 4 go into their own net. It's really streaky series.

Q: When was the last time an all-Euro team won the Stanley Cup?
A: It's never happened. At least not in recent memory. (Detroit doesn't count because that Russian line was just one line and Yzerman and CuJo were the backbone along with Hatcher, etc..)

Sorry Ranger fans.
Well, the old Red Wings teams had enough Russians to drink all of the vodka in your house!

I picked the Flyers purely b/c of evil Forsberg. Maybe the New NHL has negative the evil advantage? at least for the first round... we'll see
Edit to the Edit:

Joe Sakic scores the OT winner... making him the all time leader in Playoff OT goals.
Thank you official scorer for the scoring change ;)
I think Renney benched Henrik Lundqvist for 2 reasons

1. He's not 100% healthy
2. Weekes has a good playoff record against the devils.

Either way, Renney was proven wrong.
About the Habs/Canes game you said:Any fans in the building who are watching this game as the first NHL game of their lives are probably going to be hooked for life.

On the way in, I talked to a guy who had flown in from London for some other purpose, and was being treated to his first hockey game ever. I'm sure he had a blast.

Despite the loss, that was a great game, and I don't feel bad about our chances looking forward.
i think the speed kills is being a vastly simplistic view of a few wins by the underdog team. Speed is always good, and perhaps never more good than in today's hockey,

but i am also guessing if you look at the suprises (and there are none, no one has advanced yet!)

you will find stronger corelations to coaching and goaltending!!

goaltending is always a playoff must unless you are the gretzky oilers or the jagr-mario-francis penguins (and even they had hall of fame candidates in net, they just got scored on a lot). that has not changed

and coaching? yea a maxium is they get too much praise and too much blame, but THIS playoffs it is a true factor, basically every coaching staff, team captain, and experience vet is at the same starting point, this is a somewhat new team they test drove for 82 games, and now the b est will find a way to accentuate the positives and limit the negatives.

the devils should ALWAYS be given leadership nods.

the avs have q who has been out coached multiple post seasons, but never in the same way, going to FINALLY, be tough to outcoach him, and he has gotten far in the playoffs with turek in net once, so he has experience with a tub of lard minding his net

carolina could turn out to be a familiar story in the nhl, team finally arrives in reg season to be a disaster in the post season. this is certainly not a given, but they will be tested even by the likes of the habs.

i say this post season, you name your goalie, then you name you staff, then you name your speed, then you name your d, then you name your scoring.

and that makes this year a bit on the unique side.
2. Weekes has a good playoff record against the devils.

It may be true that Weekes is is..... er WAS 2-0 against the Devils in the playoffs, but if not for one single play, known around here as "the save", New Jersey would have won game five of that 2002 series, and may have gone on to win the series.

On that night, Weekes made the best stop of his career against John Madden. On Monday, however, Madden handed Weekes his ass.

I love that you remembered your history and the irony which was the Madden/Weekes dynamic from last nights game.

I was giddy like a schoolgirl watching Madden exact his revenge :)

Best of luck to your team, they show some serious heart last night and got nothing to show for it. They did show, however, that they will not quit, and that bodes well for the rest of the series.
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