Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Quick Introspective to the 2007 NHL Playoffs

The second round games have just started so I thought I'd take a moment to note my observations on how some of the teams have played so far.

Who has been disappointing: Nashville's early exit from the playoffs was a bit of a surprise here. The team played great all season, and managed to lead the western conference for a good part of it. Even after their February trade for Peter Forsberg, (who may not return next year) they couldn't get it done in the opening round of Lord Stanley's tournament. Like most Jacket fans, this season's series sweep by the Predators put the nail in my proverbial anti Tennessee hockey coffin.

Detroit is also not performing as they should be for #1 seed. They had a difficult time against Calgary, and as I write this they are down 2-0 in the first at home against San Jose. The Red Wings' play appears incomplete. They're consistently missing passes and giving up the puck, particularly when they try to drop it back to the point. The Sharks have done an admirable job shutting down Detroit's offensive opportunities. Nabokov was even able to stop a 3 on 1 situation following a turnover in the Sharks' zone.

I was also hoping to see Atlanta make a run, but they just got beat with experience by the Rangers. In hindsight, they didn't stand a chance.

Who has been exciting: Ottawa has been a thrill to watch. Maybe its just the fact that we Jackets fans are so oriented in the Western conference, but the Senators seem to have largely slipped under the radar. As Buffalo dominated the East, Ottawa certainly took their share of wins. As Dan will remember, we predicted the Sens' success back when they signed Heatley, who is a goal scoring machine when the world is watching. (Recall the 2003 All-Star Game) They managed to shred the young Penguins as well, making short work of Crosby, Fleury, Staal, and Malkin. (Those guys will win a cup in due time.) Keep your eyes on Ottawa. They've got the experience and talent to win this thing.

Buffalo and Anaheim have both performed as expected, obliterating everything in their way. We'll see how long they can keep it up, or if the Rangers and Canucks can rise to the occasion and shut them down.

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