Friday, April 30, 2010

Round Two (without the Rangers)

Round two of the NHL playoffs is here - and still no invitation has been extended to our New York Rangers to participate. I had assumed when Round One began without us - that this was some sort of scheduling mix-up. Perhaps some invitation had been lost in the mail - or lost on some server out there in the internet ether.

But no - It is starting to dawn on me that we really didn't make the playoffs - and the only thing left to do is face that sad reality.

So - Okay - round two is here. The Capitals - with all their regular season wins and goals - are gone. The Devils? They were the first team to go. Ryan Miller and the Sabres? Thanks for playing, guys.

It all goes to show you - the regular season doesn't mean much. The Caps had the most Points in the NHL this season. But can they feel proud of that achievement after being ousted by the 8th place Habs?

No. It makes it worse - more of an embarrassment this way. And next year their whole season will be looked at in a different light. Are they in forst? So what? Because, until they can win a playoff series - the regular season doesn't matter.

So in the NHL - its really a negative to finish first. You're not battle ready the last few weeks of the season because you've clinched early. And there's much more pressure on you because of your first place finish. I'm not saying 8th place is ideal - but the 4-6 slots look like great positions to start from.

And this is in spite of the fact that unlike any other sport - there is a specific rules advantage for the home team - the right to make the last line change at each stoppage. It's a tangible advantage - but the extra home game isn't enough to offset all the negatives of finishing first.

Anyway - with the second round beginning - who do we root for now?

In the East - the Penguins play the Canadians. Hmmm. Who do we like more? Scotty Gomez or Sidney Crosby?

This is an easy one. We root against Sid the kid and for our former teammate. Go Habs.

The other match up is Bruins and Flyers. That's another easy one. We don't like the Flyers. They eliminated us from the playoffs in the shootout of the last game we played. They try to intimidate their opponents instead of letting skill decide the outcome. So we root Boston - as odd as that may feel to Yankee fans.

In the West - I don't know. I'd sort of like to see the Red Wings win the cup this year - or someone from the left side of the country - so that the Penguins or Flyers don't get it. So I'd want the best team to get to the Finals.

It all starts tonight.

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