Monday, May 4, 2009
Now that things have settled down since the Rangers bowed out in 7 to the Capitals, I have some thoughts about the series itself. First, the lack of scoring is really the reason that the Rangers could not move forward into the second round. Sure, we can point fingers in other directions. But really folks, Rangers fans have known this was the number one problem stemming all the way back to the start of the season. This will have to be addressed in the off-season, cap willing! Also, size and toughness is something that the Rangers have lacked for the last 2 years. If you look at the teams that have moved on into second round... my God! It looks like the old sci-fi show, "Land of the Giants" compared to the Rangers. With Naslund officially hanging up the skates, the Rangers will get some relief capwise and let's hope the problems I stated will be fixed.
Now, onto the second round of the NHL playoffs. In the Western Conference you gotta like the job that Joel Quennville has done with his young Blackhawks. This team sort of reminds me of the Edmonton Oilers of the 1980s. If you remember back then the Oilers were stocked with young and fresh talent - we all know how that turned out. Chicago is loaded with youth: Kane, Sharp, Toews, Etc. Vancouver has their hands full with this group.
How about those Anaheim "Quack Quacks"? What a game it was for the Ducks to prevail against the Detroit Redwings in the 3rd OT. This was a fun game to watch! Speed, skill, great goaltending, and very physical as well. I believe the Ducks have a shot at winning this series. How would Ryan Getzlaf look in a Rangers uniform? For that matter, you could include Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan as well. Oh yeah, when do you think Colin Campbell will take a hard look at Niklas Kronwall's leaving his feet when he delivers a hit? Just wondering.
In the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Bruins and Hurricanes are tied up. Boy, you got to give some love to Carolina. Nobody even talks about them, but if you go back about 30 games or so - they've been real hot. Sure, they got lucky a few times against New Jersey (Nice meltdown Marty!) but they are still playing. It's like they are irrelevant to the media during the playoffs, but I think they have caught the eye of the Big Bad Bruins who now know who the Hurricanes are about.
Last but not least, this is in fact a Hockey Fan's dream (I know Gary Bettman thinks so anyway). The Pens and the Caps on prime time TV. Two of the games biggest stars are going head to head in this series. The first game was a game that I thought the Penguins were the better team, but Varlamov sort of stole the show with the highlight save of the playoffs on Sidney Crosby. The Caps went on for the eventual 3-2 win, taking the 1-0 lead in the series. Game 2 of the series just ended and Washington won by a score of 4-3, lead by Alexander Ovechkin's hattrick, the Capitals were able to top the Penguins and Sidney Crosby's own hattrick. Hey, both of the big time players played lights out tonight. However, in the end, Simeon Varlamov's goaltending is what really won the game for Washington. The Pens once again played a stronger game, in my opinion, outshooting the Caps 36 to 33. Ovechkin will get all the props he deserves for his virtuoso performance, but trust me - right now the Penguins are asking themselves "Who is this guy?" regarding Varlamov (just like the Rangers did). The Caps are on a roll and now lead the series 2-0 and the dream match-up may fizzle out soon if Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal continue to be invisible. Over and out!
*Also coming soon is "Greschner Sports". It will be a Sports Memorabilia website started by my good friend Ron Greschner, as well as Nick Fotiu and Vic Hadfield. If you want authentic autographed memorabilia, this is where to look! The site will be up very soon and when it launches I will add the link to the right hand side.