Here We Go Again

18 04 2012

I honestly never thought I’d see this many suspensions handed out during the playoffs.  Yes, there’s something to be said for the fervor and passionate playing that gets kicked up a notch at this time of year, but this is completely out of control.  I don’t even know where to start, but let’s go with the most covered of them all:  everybody and their brother on the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers.

I know this might not be a very popular opinion with everyone, but hear me out.  As a hockey fan that does not like the Flyers in the least bit, I’m honestly so disappointed in the Penguins for their behavior during that game.  You know what Philly is going to bring to the game:  grit and aggression.  They’re known around the league as a team and organization that likes to push its opponents’ buttons.  With that said, Pittsburgh gave an uncharacteristic and inappropriate reaction to them.  I mean really?  You’ve got Sidney Crosby picking fights with Claude Giroux now?  Kris Letang and Kimmo Timonen both got tossed out of the game before it really started.  It seems like Pittsburgh wanted to let their fists do the talking instead of their skill, which only hurt them in the end.  Philly instigated maybe one or two of those fights.  They sat back, chirped, and let the Penguins come to them and take the fall.  Now you’ve got Asham out for 4 games, Neal is suspended for 1 which, to be honest, could be the last game of the Penguins’ season if they don’t clean up their act.  It’s just disgraceful.  And again, I know this might not be the most popular of opinions, but that’s what it is.  Take it or leave it.


New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators

Matt Carkner got into it with Brian Boyle in Game 2 in New York to start his team out with a little more energy.  However, I don’t think this was the right way to do it.  It’s a completely one-sided fight.  Carkner takes down Boyle, who doesn’t respond, and throws these sucker punches at the bottom of an 8 player pile-up.  I understand fighting and its place in hockey, but I thought there was more of a mutual respect between players in terms of fighting.  If Boyle doesn’t respond, you let him go.  You don’t take him down to the ice and start punching him around.  I didn’t think there should be a suspension here, I just thought it was uncalled for and inappropriate.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Phoenix Coyotes

So I have two bones to pick with my team:  one in favor, one against.  This hit by Andrew Shaw on Mike Smith wasn’t, in my opinion, dirty in any way.  However, I completely see how this hit requires review by the league and, ultimately, a suspension.  If this had happened to Corey Crawford, I’d expect a suspension too, strictly because goaltenders are like the quarterbacks of hockey:  you can’t touch them.  And no matter how much I like Andrew Shaw and think he isn’t a dirty player, if anyone else did this I’d expect to see the same punishment for them, too.

Now, on a more serious note, I was absolutely furious last night when I saw the hit that Rafi Torres laid on Marian Hossa.

If he doesn’t get at least 4 games for this hit, Brendan Shanahan needs to have his head examined, because this was dirty in every sense of the word.  Torres left his feet, targeted the head, and is a repeat offender.  Hossa was carted off on a freaking stretcher, and there was NO PENALTY CALLED ON THE PLAY!  I couldn’t believe it when I saw it.  Torres did this last year too, with Vancouver, on Brent Seabrook.  This feels like last season when Aaron Rome laid that hit on Nathan Horton.  But, in case you forgot, here’s a video:

There is no way the refs can play ignorance on this.  Skip to 2:48.  The ref, who is standing right in front of the hit, lurched back as a reaction, then did NOTHING.  Absolutely disgraceful.  I’d like to think that players were past this, but it seems that Torres missed that memo.  I would love to see what the league does with this, because I think they need to treat as they did Matt Cooke.  He was a repeat offender, and after being suspended repeatedly, he switched up his game.  Torres needs to do the same.

What do you guys think of the scrappy nature of this first round of the playoffs?  Let us know in the comments!

-M

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Beasts of the East

12 04 2012

Time for M to show the Eastern Conference just a little bit o’ love.  And heeeeeere we go!  UPDATE:  I know I’m posting this after the first day of games, but the internet in Italy doesn’t exactly understand timeliness.  Or, for that matter, working in general.  Booooo. -M

Boston Bruins vs. Washington Capitals

This would be a matchup to watch had the Capitals performed the way they should have during the regular season.  But, inevitably as they always do, the Caps find a way to disappoint.  But who knows, maybe that frustration will lead to a deep playoff run.  Personally, I wouldn’t bet on it.  The Bruins are just too good, even though I don’t think they’ll make it to the finals this year.  Thomas is still an elite goaltender, and if you’re Washington, you can’t just expect those issues to go away.  The Bruins have a grittier, deeper team, and they’re going to make a deep playoff run, starting with knocking off Washington.  Bruins in 6.

Ottawa Senators vs. New York Rangers

Once again, this has to be no contest.  The Rangers have dominated the regular season, and have an elite goaltender (with some sick flow) in Henrik Lundqvist.  Not to mention, they have the character of a championship team.  You see the guys in the locker room they have, they personalities on that team, and honestly I think because to the last few Stanley Cup Champions.  With the Bruins last year you have Marchand, Ference, Seguin, all guys that know how to keep it loose in the locker room.  With the Blackhawks, it was their role players like Burish, Versteeg, Byfgulien, Ladd, and Madden.  This year, the Rangers have characters like Boyle to balance out the offense talents of Marian Gaborik, among others, and I truly think this team can be unbeatable if they keep their eyes on the prize.  Rangers in 5.

New Jersey Devils vs. Florida Panthers

I can’t tell you how happy I am that the Panthers made it into the playoffs.  Dale Tallon made too many big offseason moves for them not to have drastically improved upon previous years, and they did.  I don’t think this series will be a blowout, because they’re both fairly evenly matched, but just for the sake of nostalgia, I’m hoping for a Panthers win here.  They deserve it.  And, as you’ll recall, I did predict they’d win a Stanley Cup in the next five years, so they need to get a little more playoff experience under their belts so they can git ‘er done.  Panthers in 6.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

It’s only appropriate that I put a picture up of these two teams getting into a scrum, because let’s face it:  this is going to be an all out fight to the finish and a series for the record books.  You couldn’t have scripted it any better.  I see this series as the Vancouver-Chicago series from last years playoffs.  It’s two teams that legitimately hate each other, both are extremely talented, and both like to get under the other team’s skin (though I think Philly is a bit better at that).  This series is for sure going to 7 games, and I think there are a few keys to show which team could come out on top.  For the Flyers, it’s their goaltending.  Bryzgalov is a talented guy, no question, but when he hits slumps, he just takes an epic tumble like that girl Scarlett from YouTube.  But, the Flyers have Giroux, Jagr, Hartnell, Briere, Talbot, and all these other offense threats on their teams that give them a chance to balance out potentially poor goaltending every night.  With that said, the Penguins are just too good to be true.  Crosby has scored 25 points in 12 games since coming back for the second time from his concussion.  But when you hear the names Malkin, Neal, Dupuis, Staal, Kunitz, Letang, etc., you might start shaking in your skates a bit.  Too many Penguins are having career years for them to waste away in the first round.  They need to keep a cool head and not let Philly get under their skin, because we all know that’s what they do.  And, to be honest, it works, so why stop?  The Pens need to just play their game and respond to all the trash talk by winning hockey games.  Penguins in 7.

-M





Oh Captain, My Captain.

18 01 2012

Say hello to your All Star Game captains.

welp. there ya have it.

I, personally, don’t have much to say about this. I’m kinda like *shrug* they’re alright…

So.. tell me, what are your thoughts?

*L