Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 Playoffs : Vol.6

When Tampa Bay won the Cup in 2004, the team was constructed by general manager Jay Feaster. Last week, Feaster was confirmed as the full-time GM in Calgary. He took over the position on an interim basis, following Darryl Sutter's resignation on December 28, 2010. Under Feaster, the Flames went 25-11-9, missing the playoffs by only three points. The eighth and final spot was snagged by Chicago.

I wonder if San Jose forward Patrick Marleau and Jeremy Roenick will be getting together this summer for a round of golf?

Hockey fans in Winnipeg are once again having a carrott dangled in front of them. Let's hope this isn't another ploy on the part of the NHL executives in New York. The threat of relocating Atlanta's franchise, could be a tactic to stir the pot in Georgia. It worked in Phoenix, with city council making a $25-million payment to keep the team in Glendale. Is the league operating under some theory a rich investor will scoop-up the Thrashers and keep them in Atlanta? Then, down the road, move the club to a location on the NHL's wish list - say Kansas City or Las Vegas. At this stage, the odds are in Winnipeg's favour. Let's hope it becomes official - sooner, rather than later.

The more I watch Boston goalie Tim Thomas, I can't help but see Roger Crozier. Granted, Thomas is a larger, bulkier version of Detroit's wonderful goalkeeper from the 1960s. I would love to view a split screen of the two in action. Vintage footage of Crozier on one side and HD quality of Thomas on the other side. Thomas and Crozier moving out from the net to meet a shooter head-on, taking away as much of the net as possible. Playing the angle and giving the puck carrier nothing to work with. If the player holds onto the puck, Thomas and Crozier slowly retreat to the crease. A scramble shows both goalies flopping and twisting. Their bodies being extended here, there and everywhere. Their mission is complete, only when the puck is stopped, smothered or cleared.

I wonder if Dwayne Roloson has consulted with Johnny Bower on tips for goalies who have extended their career beyond the age of forty?

Scotiabank is running a cool contest - See Stanley with Lanny - with the prize winner attending a playoff game with Lanny McDonald. The concept is excellent, but with no slight to Lanny, my choice of an alumni player would be different. My selection? Imagine sitting down with Habs legend Jean Beliveau for sixty-minutes of playoff hockey and hopefully, several periods of overtime. The conversation drifting from the game in progress, to Montreal's dynasty in the late 1950s, which included five consecutive Stanley Cups. "So, Mr. Beliveau, what was it like to play with the Rocket, Dickie Moore, Boom Boom Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, Jacques Plante and company?" I toss this question to Beliveau as he closely follows the play on the ice. He is watching Vincent Lecavalier lead a rush into the offensive zone. The Tampa Bay forward wearing number four in honour of the Canadiens icon. The questioning would be endless. What was it like to play for Punch Imlach in Quebec? How did it feel to have the entire Province watching every move you made as a young player? Was Toe Blake a difficult coach to play for? Which guys in the Original Six era kept you on your toes? How much fun were those train rides and team dinners? How about the Conn Smythe Trophy; scoring 500-plus goals; the Hockey Hall of Fame; life after hockey? For the sake of time, we better make the game Beliveau and I attend a triple-overtime extravaganza. I may have a couple of more inquiries.

In a previous 2011 Playoffs Volume, I wrote a piece concerning Nashville's Shea Weber having the best playoff beard. After watching some Memorial Cup matches from the Hershey Centre, I have to change my vote. Gaining the number one spot in this category, is Saint John Sea Dogs left winger Mike Thomas. Although he is playing at the junior level, his facial growth is on par with any NHL player.

P-L-E-A-S-E. No more afternoon games on the weekend. The lawn has to be cut and it won't stop raining. Adding afternoon hockey to the mix doesn't help the situation.

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