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NHL Playoffs 2008

April 6th, 2008 · 3 Comments · The Hockey Hippie

This is shaping up to be the best hockey in a playoffs maybe ever — seeing how the quality of NHL has gone up so much in the last few years.  Especially the top 4 teams in each conference.  This year’s second round will likely see a lot 6 and 7 game series.  The reason I’m jumping ahead to the second round . . .

A funny thing:  in the East, the only close series is the 1-8 match-up.  Get this:

This year, Montreal beat Boston 8 out of 8 times.

The Rangers beat the Devils 7 out of 7 times.  And

Washington beat Ottawa 4 out of 4 times.

That’s gotta have never happened before.  8 out of 8’s are very rare, let alone to have them be match-ups in the playoffs — usually teams who lose 8 out of 8 to anyone don’t make the post-season.  And to have it be a clean sweep in 3 series is pretty unusual.

And then to add to the wierdness, the only series that was close is the 1st place vs. the last place team.  But even they came in consistent blocks:  Philly beat Pittsburgh in the first 4 games, then Pittsburgh came back and won the most recent four.

Out West, the Minnesota Wild won their division for the first time in their franchise history.  And of course, San Jose only losing ONE of their last 21 games!  And classy Detroit once again proudly leading the league.

And how bout this — that the top 3 point getters this season as all Russian!  Ovechkin, Malkin, and Datsyuk.  And didja know, Datsyuk, in 3rd overall, played in all 82 games for the Red Wings, and got a total of 20 min. in penalties all season!  He has to win the Lady Byng.

And speaking of trophies, at least a couple are pretty obvious:  Hart MYP to Ovechkin (and bet ya he gets the Pearson too), and Jack Adams Best Coach to Bruce Boudreau at the Caps.  Since he took over Nov 23rd, Washington has gotten the most points of any team in the NHL, except beaten by only 1 point each, by Pittsburgh, Detroit and San Jose.

And I know there’s no trophy for best GM, but the Caps George McPhee brought in Chritobal Huet, Sergi Federov, and Matt Cook at the trade deadline, who were all actually the 1st, 2nd and 3rd stars in a recent game.

And how their team went from dead last (15th place) in November to 3rd place — that’s got to be the single biggest jump in position since its been a 30 team league — maybe ever since expansion.

I guess if the recent manditory rule of one Canadian team vs. one U.S. team for The Cup continues, we’ll be enjoying a Montreal – San Jose final.  Carey Price trying to pull a Dryden / Roy rookie season Canadiens goalie coup, or Coupe as they say in Quebec.

Feel free to leave your evaluations, observations, predictions or Weird True Facts here.

And may the best teams win!

Puck on!

 

For an excellent printable one-sheet of the Rangers’ playoff line-up — go here.

For an excellent printable one-sheet of the Penguins’ playoff line-up — go here.

For more hockey stories . . . check out the time I snuck onto the Penguins team bus during the playoffs.

Or the description of Blue Heaven at Madison Square Garden.

Or this amazing primer of Everything You Need to Know about hockey at the Olympics.

Or the complete printable Olympic team rosters with positions, stats, jersey numbers and everything for all the main teams.

Or a riff on how Canada’s flagship broadcast Hockey Night In Canada has suddenly become good again.

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by Brian Hassett           karmacoupon@gmail.com              BrianHassett.com

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Hawkman // Apr 6, 2008 at 9:18 AM

    Hey Brian, I finally joined !

    Didn’t know about those matchups. Wow, that’s good info. and will come in handy, for my annual hockey pool.
    I agree on all the trophies you mentioned, except the Adams. My prediction is that it goes to the Frenchee, Guy, or they’ll be another Montreal riot.
    And what about the Calder ? Gotta be my Hawkman, Kane.
    Vezina : Nabokov (SJ) or ?

    And the team with the most PIM in the first round ? Wild or Flyers, is my guess……

    The Hawkman….

  • 2 Hawkman // Apr 7, 2008 at 3:38 AM

    Nice ‘DUCK’ by Crosby & the Pens, on Sunday, to avoid facing Philly in the first round. Crosby sits out and the Pens muster only 20 shots. Nice effort. Hope you don’t get sidewhacked, by the Sens…….
    ……. I think that the Caps should start Kolzig in net. The Flyers will be expecting Huet and bang & crash the net. Kolzig is big and will bang back.
    Then come back with Huet, in game two.
    Just my thoughts…wanna see the Caps meet the Pens in the second round.

    Hawkman

  • 3 Brian // Apr 7, 2008 at 6:38 AM

    hey Hawkeye!

    With ya on that Pen-Cap second round! And ya know, I’m no conspiracy nut, but that Pen-flyer Sunday game was the first time I remember watching a game where I thought one team was intentionally trying to lose.

    It’s weird and bad — but ya know, the flyers intentionally injured SO MANY players this year, and were suspended almost record amounts, and the filthy way they played the prior game — i don’t want good honorable hockey players on the same ice with them. If the Penguins had earned the position of being tied for first place going into the game, and decided they’d just as soon not play against Tanya Harding, well, they earned that right.

    I just pray Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom and all the other highly skilled Capitals make it out of the series intact. I sure hope it’s a four game series, and it’s staffed with the most diligent refs and toughest linesmen in the league.

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