Tuesday, May 10, 2011

2011 Playoffs : Vol. 4

If your Philadelphia GM Paul Holmgren, which free agent goaltender do you pursue this summer - Tomas Vokoun or IIly Bryzgalov? Of course, Holmgren may elect to stick Bobrovsky, Boucher and Leighton. Dating back to Bobby Clarke's administration, the Flyers haven't come to grips with the fact their inability to advance in playoff action, can be attributed to not having a true number one netminder.

What more can Bruce Boudreau do as Washington's head coach? Following the 2010 playoffs, the Capitals were criticized for being all offence. This year, Boudreau took steps to install an improved defensive system. In Round One, Washington had no problem eliminating the New York Rangers in their best-of-seven series. Then, the highly skilled and talented Tampa Bay Lightning came calling. The Caps were bounced in 4 straight, resulting in the knives coming out for Boudreau's scalp. Perhaps, it is the coach who needs to perform some surgery. The only trick left in his coaching trunk would be to conduct heart transplants on certain players in his line-up. Until general manager George McPhee obtains more grit on his roster, the fortunes of his club will remain the same. No matter who is behind the bench.

The good thing about George McPhee having to sit through that train wreck? He had a first hand glance at the damage role players with substance can inflict on an opponent. He must have been green with envy, watching Dominic Moore, Sean Bergenheim and Steve Downie. All 3 made solid contributions on both defence and offence.

On the topic of things green...Remember when 'Green Men' were Martians from the planet Mars and not individuals who dealt with environmental issues? Who can ever forget their invasion in New Jersey as depicted in Orson Welles thrilling radio drama "War of the Worlds". In the 2011 playoffs, these aliens have found a home base in Vancouver. Also, they have ventured back to the U.S.A., having been spotted in Nashville, Tennessee. With the Canucks bouncing the Predators last night, will their next spotting be in San Jose or Detroit?

I wonder if Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne ever played baseball? His lightening-quick glove hand resembles a back-stopper who must contend with a wild pitcher, who is delivering a combination of speed balls and change-ups which are travelling way, way off the plate.

Today marks the 41st anniversary of Bobby Orr's Stanley Cup winning goal against St. Louis on May 10, 1970. It was the Bruins first embrace of Lord Stanley since the 1941 playoffs. In the '41 Cup final, Boston eliminated Detroit in the minimum of 4 games. It was the first 4 game sweep in National Hockey League history. The league MVP and Hart Trophy winner was Bruins centre Bill Cowley.

News that Donald Crump has passed away at the age of 78 in Newmarket, Ontario. In the Harold Ballard regime, Crump served as Maple Leaf Gardens chief bean counter. And players/coaches thought they had a tough job during Ballard's time as Leaf owner. Also, Crump held the position of CFL Commissioner from January 1990 to December 1991.

This gem from Detroit general manager Jack Adams after his team won their second consecutive Stanley Cup in 1955. "I used to think that marriage made players too careful and cautious. I found out it just makes them hungry for those victory bonuses. Now I'm all for it, I think it's a wonderful institution."

Jumping 56 years ahead...The Original Six era is nicely represented in these 2011 playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings. After going down 3-1 early in the final frame on Sunday, the Wings finally came to life. Dan Cleary and Jonathan Ericsson scored 1:46 apart to even the score. The winner was potted by Tomas Holmstrom at 13:52. Of the Original Six teams, Detroit has been the most successful franchise of late. The Wings have won Stanley Cups in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008.

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