Tuesday, June 1, 2010
The Chicago Blackhawks have defended home ice by winning games 1 and 2 at the United Center (otherwise known as the Madhouse on Madison Avenue). Both games were extremely close as the Blackhawks prevailed in Game 1 by a score of 6-5 and in Game 2 by a score of 2-1. My thoughts on Game 1 were, "what in the hell was going on in the defensive zones of both teams"? I thought I was watching house league 6 year olds on a cold Saturday morning. It was laughable how two NHL teams that are battling for the Stanley Cup stood around all night and watched the puck. I’m pretty sure that both coaches were having heart palpitations watching it all unfold. Sorry, folks… it was not pretty! In the end, the Hawks will take the W. Pretty or not!
In Game 2, things were much different as I’m sure both teams got taught a lesson on the off day about defensive zone coverage 101. The Hawks once again eked out a 2-1 win with Antti Niemi holding down the fort. Niemi was spectacular down the stretch of the third period when the Flyers made it a 2-1 game. Honestly, I thought the Flyers were going to score and send the game into OT. However, Niemi and his Hawks would have none of that. I’ve got one question for you all… has anyone heard of Antti Niemi before the playoffs? I have to admit, I knew nothing at all about him. I certainly do now! Anyhow, the Flyers have been in this situation before. Can they fight back into this series? Games 3 and 4 are in Philly and I’m sure the Flyers faithful will be ready. Chicago is a monster on the road, though (8-1 in the playoffs). Only time will tell.
Lastly, I have one more thought on the Finals. It’s time to rant! Again, the officiating has been a huge topic of discussion. Why? Well, what goes on during the regular season apparently doesn’t apply in the playoffs. Confusing? You bet! I’m confused (doesn’t take much though), the players are confused, the referees are confused, the NHL is confused, and most importantly the fans who pay their hard earned cash are confused! It’s like beating a dead horse, but I have to keep doing it. The NHL has created this problem. There’s way too much tinkering of the game over the last 5+ seasons. How can Chris Pronger and Dustin Byfuglien hack and slash each other in front of the net (which I personally love) and not receive penalties? While a touch stick foul is still called? The fans around the league see this and the NHL wonders why it’s hard to sell the game? This happens too frequently… message to the NHL: the fans are not stupid! Wake up and review some of the rules that have been implemented in the last 5+ years. It’s time! Over and out!