Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2011 Playoffs : Vol 2

Who would you rather be - the player who scores an overtime goal or the goalie who blocks 40-plus shots and leads his team to victory?

Time for an episode of NHL Idol. The two contestants are waiting in the wings, preparing to leave nothing on the table. Who would get your vote - Jim Cornelison the featured vocalist at the Madhouse on Madison with his riveting rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" or the duo of Lauren Hart and Kate Smith from Broad Street with their powerful presentation of "God Bless America"?

On the topic of Anthem singers, doesn't Mark Donnelly in Vancouver have his role down-pat. The tenor in an opera ready to perform his solo in a crucial aria. His booming voice hitting all the notes. The troops on stage feeding-off his energy, ready to fight to the end.

Something no NHL team can match. The torch passing ceremony at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The ritual of having former Hab legends passing a lighted torch to a youngster, who then makes several laps around the rink, is an amazing sight to witness. The visual becomes even more stunning when the skater glides to centre ice, places the torch downward, setting off a pyrotechnical explosion which engulfs the entire ice surface. In games 3 and 4 the alumni participants were Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard. Last night, Yvan Cournoyer was the torch bearer in festivities prior to game 6.  There is one change I would make. How about having a current player accepting the torch? Imagine having Patrick Roy passing the torch to Carey Price.

When I see fans in Vancouver waving their white towels, I can't help but think of Roger Neilson.

Do you feel cheated when overtime comes to a quick end? When Michael Ryder scored at 1:59 of the first overtime period in game 4, it was a classic example of "sudden death". I was settling in hoping for end-to-end rushes that would extend well beyond midnight. During the intermission I made a mad dash to get the garbage curbside and ordered an extra-large pizza to get me through the early morning hours. The overtime in game 5 was more to my liking. My pizza was consumed way prior to Nathan Horton's goal at 9:03 of the second overtime period.

Razzle-dazzle. Michael Ryder's brilliant stop on Thomas Plekanec in game 5.

Razzle-dazzle (2). Bobby Ryan's maneuvering of the puck every-which-way past human pylon David Legwand. Without his stick, the Nashville forward resembled a mouse being played by a cat. No matter what Legwand did, he wasn't going to escape in a positive fashion from Ryan's wizardry.

Let the debate commence. Is it an advantage or disadvantage when a team must sit and wait for their next opponent to surface? On one hand, nagging injuries can be rested, but being game ready and any momentum which has been established can suffer.

Tuesday. Hockey Night In Canada. Montreal lives to play one more game. Vancouver lives to play one more series.

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