Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Playoffs : Vol.5

It is an age-old question come each and every playoff season. Is it a benefit to start a series on the road or at home? Certainly, home ice advantage is important, but it can quickly disappear should the visiting team secure a split in games one or two. On Saturday, Tampa Bay seemed less tight than the hometown Bruins and their fast start (3 goals ion one minute and twenty-five seconds) lead them to a 5-2 victory in Boston Garden. It should be interesting to see how Boston responds this evening in game two.

In the Vancouver/San Jose series, the Sharks appeared to be suffering the consequences of going through seven tough games against Detroit. They were unable to hold a 2-1 lead in period three. The extra rest (the series doesn't resume until tomorrow night) should benefit San Jose.

It was a joy to watch and listen as Jim Robson recalled his memories of Vancouver's prior playoff experiences during the intermission on Hockey Night in Canada. His call at the end of game six in the 1994 Cup final, is something one never gets tired of listening to.

As if advancing to the Stanley Cup final isn't enough inspiration for Tampa Bay to beat Boston, there is another factor providing them with incentive. On May 3rd, assistant coach Wayne Fleming underwent an operation to remove a brain tumor. Tampa Bay players certainly must have Fleming on their mind each and every time they hit the ice.

Jaromir Jagr's performance at the World Championships begs one question - Why isn't this guy playing in the National Hockey League? Sure, he could be difficult and uninterested at times, not to mention being a coaches nightmare, but there is no doubting his gifted offensive skills and ability to dominate a game.

Is it time for NHL clubs to reconsider employing enforcers who have only one purpose within the team structure. We are all aware of the physical pounding these players take, but the mental repercussions can be just as devastating. Last week, the fraternity lost one of it's current members with the passing of 28 year-old Derek Boogaard, who played for the New York Rangers.

On this topic, isn't it strange how most people in hockey boil over when a player suffers injuries from a head shot. Many argue, at both the league and club level, that blows to the head will not be tolerated. However, the same policy does not apply to two heavyweights who are engaged in fisticuffs and landing repeated blows to the skull of his opponent. Are violent impacts to the head region acceptable only if clinched fists are involved?

The sports media lost a gifted writer and editor with the passing of Glenn Cole. In his career, Cole worked for the Montreal Gazette, Toronto Sun and Montreal Daily News, to mention a few of his employers. He was also a statistician, working for the NHL and several media outlets.

There seems to be a buzz concerning Montreal assistant coach Kirk Muller. Will he be the next head coach of the Dallas Stars or the New Jersey Devils?

What is up with the National Hockey League. They seem to be using the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba as a designated destination when negotiating financial terms with less than solid franchises. The threat of relocation to Winnipeg always seems to enter the discussion when the league isn't getting their way with a troubled ownership group. What are their true intentions regarding putting a team back in Winnipeg?

Came across an ad for the 2011 Memorial Cup which offered a ticket package consisting of two weekday games plus the championship game at a reduced rate. This late in the proceedings, a consumer could be wondering if the organizers are having trouble unloading tickets to the event at the Hershey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario.

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