- Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin in a playoff series — you know you wanted to see that happen, although the league would have liked it to come one round later. The irony is Gary Bettman's hope was torpedoed by his darlings, the New Jersey Devils, losing to the lowest-seeded survivor, Carolina.
- The Carolina-Boston series starting on Friday is a bone of contention. Time was, teams who went the distance in the first round only got one night off before having to start the next series. The Bruins have had plenty of rest, but Carolina should have as little chance to catch its breath as possible. The league shouldn't diminish the reward of finishing in first place and then sweeping the opening-round series.
- It would be nice to be a fly on the wall at CBC Sports, which is due to make it two straight Saturdays without a game in the 7 p.m. Eastern timeslot. Game 2 of the Blackhawks-Canucks series is a 9 p.m. start.
- The Elias Sports Bureau had better burn the midnight oil to find out if a team ever lose a playoff series when it was leading in Game 7 with two minutes to play, let alone if that team's goalie was selected as his country's starter at the following Olympics. Martin Brodeur didn't look good on either Carolina's tying or winning goals, although that was a very good Game 7. Granted, as The Two-Line Pass noted, "if every NHL team shot at nothing but Henrik Lundqvist's high glove, his save percentage would be .657 and the Rangers would lose every game by 12.
(5) CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS vs. (3) VANCOUVER CANUCKS
- Chicago, at least in the first round vs. Calgary, showed a tendency to take the higher-percentage shot, especially in the clincher when they dominated while being outshot almost three to one. That worked against the Flames, who aren't that good defensively or in goal (Miikka Kiprusoff was just overworked), but the Canucks keep a pretty tight ship in front of Roberto Luongo.
- Puck Prospectus figures the Canucks are the "third favourite" to be in the Stanley Cup final after Boston and Detroit.
- The irresistible force (Chicago's power play) vs. the immovable object (Vancouver's penalty killing, which did a number on a good St. Louis power play).
- The safe, gutless pick is to take Vancouver on goaltending, Roberto Luongo over the less consistent Nikolai Khabibulin.
- Is it possible to be pre-emptively sick of gratuitous references to Towel Power, since it originated from a Chicago-Vancouver series?
What kind of punishment could Colin Campbell the player have expected from Colin Campbell the NHL disciplinarian?
- The same goes for the line brawl they had in the regular season, although it's a valid part of the discussion.
- The story making the rounds is that the the Hawks were rumoured to have been "Roxied," a reference to The Roxy, a legendary Vancouver nightclub, that has gobbled up many a visiting team."
Expect some live bloggage of the series.
(8) ANAHEIM DUCKS vs. (1) DETROIT RED WINGS
- The Ryan Getzlaf-Corey Perry-Bobby Ryan line could really wear out the Red Wings defencemen; they're some big dudes.
- Is it OK to just openly root for Red Wings centre Pavel Datsyuk to win the Hart Trophy? Sports trivia nerds would love to see a Hart-Selke-Lady Byng trifecta. Datsyuk wouldn't be the first forward to win the NHL MVP award with less than 100 points (Martin St-Louis had only 94 in 2003-04) or the first two-way centre to win (29-goal man Peter Forsberg in '02-03). However, it would be an indicator
- Anaheim will try to intimidate Detroit, who is probably used to that treatment by now.
- Detroit had 11 different goal scorers in a four-game first-round series, so they have the depth to fall back on if a few players go cold.
- If Chris Pronger does anything warranting a suspension, the NHL will give Donald Brashear a couple more games.
(6) CAROLINA HURRICANES vs. (1) BOSTON BRUINS
- Honestly, not to sound like a defector to
Red Sox Patriots CelticBruins Nation, but this has "sweep" written all over it. The Hurricanes got by New Jersey despite a flaccid power play (6.9%) and Eric Staal and Ray Whitney scoring almost half their goals.
- Boston got through the first round with very few nits to pick.
- When the announcers mention that Washington won the season series 3-1, remember that the Penguins' one regular-season win over the Capitals came after they added Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz. (Fist bump: PenBurgh.)
- The goaltending matchup is Simeon Varlamov vs. Marc-André Fleury. Sometimes, it's OK to fall back on experience, especially since Fleury has a good record vs. the Capitals.
- Alex Ovechkin had far and away more shots blocked this season (179) this season than any other NHLer. Does that explain why he stopped shooting?
- Remember, Ovechkin plays like Canadians did 30 years ago and Sidney Crosby plays like Russians did 30 years ago. Play around with that for a while.
- There is no getting around the fact that Wade Redden was on the ice when Sergei Fedorov snapped in the series-winning goal for the Capitals vs. the Rangers on Tuesday. Redden always seems to be around when someone else is knocking out his team (see New Jersey and Jeff Friesen in 2003 or Buffalo and Jason Pominville in 2006).
- The runway is open for some columnist to take a run at the Sutter brothers. Brent couldn't win a playoff round with Martin Brodeur in goal and Darryl's Calgary Flames went out in Round 1 for the fourth season in a row, partly due to poor roster management that left them with a thin defence and no credible No. 2 goalie.
- History suggests the Sharks should not change too much. Teams which got knocked out in the first round after finishing first overall tend to win the Cup sooner or later.
- Darren Millard on Hockey Central just now, "If Gary Bettman does not at least look at putting a second NHL team in Toronto, he has no brain."
- Fun fact: Only one of the top 10 teams in penalty-killing is still alive in the playoffs.