Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2011 Playoffs : Vol.3

Drum-Roll...Please...And the award for best playoff beard so far in the 2011 NHL playoffs goes to...Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators. Although he got an early start, Weber's facial growth adds a menacing look to an already scaringly talented defenceman.

Imagine if players like John Ferguson, Moose Vasko, Tim Horton and company from the Original Six era had initiated this tradition of abandoning the razor. In a time when helmets and masks were seldom donned, the impact of seeing an unshaven player would be far greater. Picture Glenn Hall and Johnny Bower with extended five-o'clock-shadow. Then, visualize Punch Imlach, Conn Smythe and Clarence Campbell turning purple with smoke billowing from their beet-red ears. Their eyes the size of saucers and bulging with rage.

Why don't current coaches and GMs join in this team-bonding ritual each spring?

Interesting to watch Blake Geoffrion as he takes part in playoff action with Nashville. Called-up by the Predators late in 2011, Geoffrion scored 6 goals in 20 games and finished with 8 points. To say he has rich hockey bloodlines would be a huge understatement. The family tree is as follows - Howie Morenz (great grandfather), Bernie Geoffrion (grandfather), Danny Geoffrion (dad). Following in the footsteps of "Boom Boom" Geoffrion. young Blake wears sweater number 5.

Great line from Jim Hughston on Hockey Night in Canada before the opening faceoff of game 2 in the Nashville/Vancouver series. After a song performed by Elvis Costello, the voice of HNIC told a national audience "Elvis is in the building."

A diminishing trait, signaling changing times - Is the era of the stand-up goalie over?

Playoff Rust. After an extended delay between games in Round 1 and Round 2, both Washington and Detroit turned in losing efforts. Neither club fared much better in game 2. On Sunday, Vincent Lecavalier potted the overtime winner to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 series lead. In San Jose, the Sharks edged Detroit 2-1. Game 3 between the Red Wings and San Jose goes this evening. Last night, the Capitals dug a bigger hold by losing game 3 in Tampa Bay by a score of 4-3.

Monday May 2nd marked the 44th anniversary of the Toronto Maple Leafs last Stanley Cup championship. One of my favourite all-time hockey books chronicles the 1966-67 season of both the Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. The Habs were the other Cup finalists in '67. Stephen Cole's "The Last Hurrah" is a must read for any hockey fan interested in the final season of Original Six play.

Does parity in the NHL spell the demise of Dynasty Teams - Will we ever witness a repeat of the 1940s Toronto Maple Leafs, 1950s Montreal Canadiens, 1960s Toronto Maple Leafs, 1970s Boston Bruins/Philadelphia Flyers/Montreal Canadiens, 1980s NY Islanders/Edmonton Oilers, 1990s Pittsburgh Penguins/New Jersey Devils/Detroit Red Wings?

This quote comes from Tampa coach Guy Boucher prior to game 1 versus Washington. "It's Goliath against David, so better get our slingshots ready." Not sure if the analogy is accurate taking into account his line-up includes Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. It looks like David is about to topple Goliath.

The smartest move made by rookie Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman?  Obtaining goaltender Dwayne Roloson who lead all puck-stoppers with a .949 save percentage in Round 1.

Why are the Detroit Red Wings still in the Western Conference? How about shifting the franchise east and creating an Original Six Division (Montreal, Toronto, Boston, New York, Chicago and Detroit). Why not embrace the past and market years of tremendous hockey to a new generation.

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