All the Evil seems to live forever...
Well some of it
Regarding the East Coast.
Or some of it.
I kid I kid. What a round, eh? ( am I allowed to use that if I am not Canadian?)
The Canucks had to be scraped of the ice after the beating they were handed by the Sharks. The Ducks had no Wings, the Pens were saved by their backup goalie. That Boston series was all kinds of crazy till the end. the Sens showing the Price is not right and ultimately humiliating one of the the most arrogant team/fanbase in the league. The Rags .. well they were basically willed in by their goalie and .. ummm well some form of higher but non-celestial power, it seems.
It was a crazy round and I loved all of it.
Except the Penguins and the Rags moving on. That part I hate almost as much as I love what the Sharks did to the Canucks.
My "keys" were almost perfect. Marleau, Pavelski, Niemi and even Thornton played well or exceptionally well most of the time. And they will have to continue to do so. But enough gloating about my brilliance. It is obvious I am not infallible otherwise a certain Crybaby would not be playing hockey still.
Round 2 is upon us and it starts tonight with the West. Two series with glorious potential. First the Blackhawks are going to try to pluck some Wings for their head pieces. This is a series almost everybody expects to turn into a quick and painless dumping of the wings ... But I am thinking it won't be that easy. Or at least I am hopeful it won't be that easy. At this point, Detroit has already overachieved, according to many , including me. so they must feel pretty good about themselves .. and they might continue to overachieve for another round. At this point I would probably start talking about match-ups, strategies on both sides so on and so forth but knowing both teams pretty well as well as some of the tendencies of the coaches, any "prediction" on that would likely only be valid for a few shifts of the first game. While both teams have clear defined game plans and styles, they both showed extreme ability to adapt. It is going to be a very entertaining series full of strategic fencing by the two coaches and their respective teams. While Chicago has the far better team overall, I do believe this Detroit team who stunned the Ducks, has a chance to put up a fight with their balance of wisdom and youth. the Detroit team that won that last game against the Ducks was not the Detroit team we saw mid-season, tired, broken, dejected.
Mark my words, this might be the most interesting series of this round. Or it might be as most "experts" predict, a boring beatdown by the indians.
At a somewhat opposite end of the spectrum , at least in the coaching department, you have the Sharks vs LA Kinducks
These coaches are usually asking their players to abide by the system in a very strict manner. Typically. We have seen a bit of change in the Sharks though. Certain players being allowed more liberties, certain players not being punished for failed attempts at creativity. There is change in the air but for the most part Todd Mclellan is a system guy and so is Coach Sutter. La will try to be punishing all over the ice, they will bang the key guys for the Sharks while trying to win the series relying quite a bit on their secondary scoring. Or at least that is my opinion at the moment. Many in the Sharks fan camp are worried that the loss of Clowe and Murray will be felt in a negative way in this series. I, for one, I am glad they are not with SJ for this series. Kings have been threatening in the first round on speedy counterattacks. Exactly the kind of plays Clowe and Murray are absolutely horrible at.
Yes they were "the muscle" needed against a team like the Kings but do not forget the Sharks have showed a knack for creating PP's out of nothing. Sure, after all the media outcry following the antics from the first round and the Kings are not exactly that much more undisciplined, so the Sharks will have a harder time to get a PP going their way but the way Wingles and Torres are playing, sprinkled with the efforts of Desjardins and Sheppard and not forgetting Pavelski and Couture and even Fatbutt, the calls will come. And if the Sharks score on those opportunities, nobody will miss the muscle lost in Clowe and Murray. Not to mention nobody will miss Clowe blowing up and costing the team a goal or three.
But , ultimately, what I am trying to get at, my opinion is that, this is not going to be a series won by secondary scoring as some experts claim, this will be won by the heavy guns and goalies. Especially goalies. If Quick out-duels Niemi by a large margin, it's game over. Niemi has to be just like in the first round. Safe and steady, no extra flopping about, no theatrics, just cover your percentages and worry about the first shot. Quick has showed some rust this season and a bit in post-season but he also tends to get better with pressure so I think the Sharks need to take advantage of him .. quick. As in score and score a lot right of the bat, throw him of his game and keep him there. Shooting a million low percentage shots from the perimeter, right in his chest and pads will only warm him up. Pick your spot, Sharks, and make shots count. Rattle his cage and keep at it because if he enters the zone , you'll be playing golf in two weeks.
That is my western coast "preview" attempt. I know, it's pathetic. Blame it on Sam Adams. East coast follows tomorrow.