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First Round Playoff Surprises

  • The first round of the playoffs yielded some interesting results. Habs Blog playoff predictions went 5-3 and correctly called Anaheim over Calgary in 7 games but missed the Oilers upset over the Wings as well as the Avs over the Stars.

    The new NHL wanted parity and an even playing field for all teams. The Western Conference saw seeds 1, 2, 3 and 4 all lose to the lower ranked teams. How’s that for parity? That includes President’s Trophy winners the Detroit Red Wings losing to the 8th place Oilers who barely qualified for the playoffs.

    Proving that rankings mean absolutely nothing and each team is as good as the next in the Playoffs. Can you really call them upsets anymore? Does every team have an equal chance once the puck drops in Game 1? Should we pay more attention to the teams who are playing strongly down the stretch and less attention to their actual ranking?

    Anaheim was one of the hottest teams in the last half or last third of the season. They were victorious. Same for San Jose over Nashville. And we all know the Devils haven’t lost a game in ages.

    In the East all the top seeds won their series. Not without a couple scares, but the top teams prevailed.

    Looking at the next round the crop just gets better and winners harder to call. Let’s take another shot.

    East:

    (1) Ottawa vs
    Buffalo
    (7 games)
    New Jersey
    (6 games)
    (2) Carolina vs
    (4) Buffalo (3) New Jersey

    West:

    (5) San Jose vs
    San Jose
    (7 games)
    Anaheim
    (6 games)
    (6) Anaheim vs
    (8) Edmonton (7) Colorado

    Buffalo looked like the most dangerous team for a while and in the first round embarrassed the Flyers. I still have them as my Cup pick.

    Ottawa will fight it out and make it exciting but Ray Emery is about to be exposed for what he is.

    So in the East we get a real blue collar battle. The armpit of America Buffalo vs the Swamp Devils.

    Edmonton and San Jose will probably be the toughest series. Edmonton is sky high after putting away the Wings but San Jose might have the more complete team. As always whichever goaltender comes up a bit better will make the difference.

    Anaheim is a complete team. Well coached and disciplined. I can’t see Jose Theodore really being able to win another 4 games.
    So on the west side it’s a straight up California match up. Get ready to be tired at work if you plan on watching every 10 or 11pm start in the next round.

     

22 Comments
  1. Sorry to keep harping like this, but Jack Todd of the Montreal Gazette actually wrote me back saying he was in favour of a letter writing campaign to the CBC, and adding a boycott of HNIC sponsors.

    I suggest we all send something like this to the CBC (hnic@cbc.ca):

    Dear producers of HNIC:

    Effective immediately, we, the fans of the most winning team in hockey’s history, will no longer tolerate your bias and cheap shots at our team. My Canada is not the Leafs’ nation.

    Furthermore, we demand that the CBC cover the Canadiens nationally on every second broadcast.

    Also, if you wish to get rid of Don Cherry and Harry Neale while you are it, we won’t be upset by that either.

    Sincerely,

    A Habs’ fan

    Send this letter around to all the die hard Habs fans that you know, and together, we will stop the Habs bashing practised by the CBC! Thanks.

  2. #2 marcintouch says:
    May 4, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Heh. I like that, but lotsa luck getting them to understand.

    RDS provides better coverage anyway — HNIC hasn’t been state-of-the-art since it followed Wayne & Shuster and the Tommy Hunter Show.

  3. #3 Michael Morgan says:
    May 4, 2006 at 12:33 pm

    Don Cherry has never liked the Habs, ever.It’s about the Boston Bruins stupid!!He can’t get over how the Canadiens defeated Bobby Orr, Phil Esposito and Ken Hodge & Co. in 1971 and then mercilously choked the life out of his coaching career in Boston and ultimately in the NHL and whereupon he re-invented himself as a good ol’boy from nothern Ontario.
    1029

  4. Hockey is the universal language. I speak English only and LOVE RDS…At least I don’t have to hear the CBC and TSN crap. Not one of them has a good thing to say about the HABS. Harry Neale and Don Cherry are by far the worst of the worst. Been Habs fan all my life and what I have seen on the CBC is sickening… I don’t know if it is out right prejudice towards the many years of Montreal successes(French speaking people?) or central Canada mentality that they are Gods gift.As far how the other teams do…who cares…I personally don’t give a rats ass once MY habs are out.

  5. #5 Joe says:
    May 4, 2006 at 1:10 pm

    It’s Habs first and foremost. But I care about certain other clubs’ success from this point on. I’d love to see Edmonton shock a couple of teams, for example. And with the top four seeds gone in the West (the top four seeds… GONE… in the first round), it’s truly anyone’s to win or lose. Edmonton will have to start by finding a way to slow down Thornton, Cheechoo and Marleau. But then, they just found a way to limit the Detroit Red Wings’ scoring opportunities, so anything is possible. Edmonton will continue an improbable run. They are this season’s 2004 Calgary Flames.

    The only reason Disney is in the second round is a complete inability to score by Calgary. Colorado does not have this problem. Also, Theodore, with Montreal now eliminated, really has something to prove. He’ll play over his head. Colorado will defeat Disney.

    Buffalo looks as if they can create big problems for anyone. I expect their series with Ottawa to be a run-and-gun from the drop of the puck. However, while Miller is better than Emery, the Senators’ defense is better than Buffalo’s. It should be very interesting. I pick Ottawa.

    New Jersey will beat Carolina, despite what many think about Carolina’s talent. The Habs didn’t test them all that much at all and nearly sent them packing in the first round. New Jersey will give them all they can handle and more. Brodeur will intimidate Ward. New Jersey will test Ward, and we’ll see just how good he really is. This isn’t to suggest that he wasn’t good against Montreal – he was very good – but rather that the Habs didn’t test him nearly as much as New Jersey will. And let’s face it, The Devils are simply a better team than Montreal this season. They will prevail.

  6. #6 Rob says:
    May 4, 2006 at 1:19 pm

    Hey marcintouch:

    The point is not that they understand. The point is that WE understand. The Leafs’ have a huge economic advantage over the Canadiens because of the CBC trying to maintain the fallacy that Canada is the Leafs’ nation.

    I have lived in Montreal, Toronto, out West, up North, the Maritimes and Newfoundland, the only place that I have been able to watch Habs’ games on a Saturday has been in Montreal. Think of all the poor folks who are forced against their will to watch Tie Domi and Eric Lindros (AKA Arsenic to team chemistry.) Sidney Crosby is the future of Canadian hockey, and what team does he want to play for… The Habs.

    As far as the CBC broadcast no longer being state of the art, that is true, but remember we pay for it through our tax dollars! If on Saturday night, we accept listinening Don Cherry rant on about the time in 1975 when his ol’ dog, Blue, took a crap on Cheever’s lawn, and how Sanderson stepped in it, and ho ho ho, all that garbage then are we really not the ones to blame.

    The Canadiens’ fans have always been the most astute students of the game in my opinion. Demand more. Let the producers of HNIC know that we are fed up, and not going to take it anymore! Do it for Koivu; remember Cherry and MacLean almost gloating at the end of game 3 when the Canadiens lost a heart-breaker and their Captain to a serious injury.

  7. Rob…never saw that…but it doesn’t surprise me :-) Only RDS I refuse to listen to CBC BS. Any interviews I learn about are most likely from newspapers and online sources.I have voiced my displeasure with CBC.Oh to have the old days back when CBC was a “National” broadcaster.

  8. #8 Rob says:
    May 4, 2006 at 3:27 pm

    Phil:

    The CBC can be made to be a “national” broadcaster again! Canada never was, and never will be a Leafs’ nation. Keep sending those letters to the CBC (hnic@cbc.ca) Join the Habs’ revolution against the Leafs’ nation. Every little spark leads to a flame. “To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high.” Don’t miss out on the chance to be on the ground floor of this movement. As Sid the kid says, let your voices resound with the reponse: “I’m in!”

  9. #9 Joe says:
    May 4, 2006 at 4:10 pm

    I actually picked the Senators to win the Cup early on in the season. I did. I said, “The Cup is coming back to Canada this year, but the celebration is going to be in Ottawa, unfortunately.” But that was before the Hasek incident of course. I guess it was a no-brainer when he was in net for them, eh? Easy call.

  10. #10 Stephen says:
    May 5, 2006 at 2:14 am

    Woah, fellow Hab fans. CBC not broadcasting enough Habs games *is* a real problem & we all should write them about it — especially since, as TV run by the State, it grabs tax money equally from fans of all Canadian teams!

    But picking on Ron & Don? No way! Jack Todd from the “Montreal Gazette” runs a personal campaign in his columns against Don Cherry, which his readers will know is the result of Mr. Todd finding his oft-stated leftist political opinions challenged by Mr. Cherry’s conservative philosophy. In other words, it’s dreary politics, not exciting hockey!

    Anybody actually *listen* to Coach’s Corner during the first round? Ron & Don gave lots of camera time to discussing the Habs, & it was all fair & accurate. I remember Don defending Souray early on (2nd game I think) when it looked like he was lead-footed on a Carolina opening goal. Sure, he’s a Leafs’ fan, but that’s normal — I’m glad he doesn’t pretend to be “neutral” like some of the media phonies. Don *definitely* respects the Habs — he doesn’t hate them!

    Anyway, it’s Zero fault of Ron or Don what games get broadcast! That’s the Suits in TO!

  11. Oh one thing I forgot to mention yesterday you want to complain about the CBC to the CBC Always copy the CRTC….http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/contactus.htm .They do listen.

  12. #12 Rob says:
    May 5, 2006 at 7:25 am

    Not to play amateur psychiatrist, but Don Cherry does hate the Habs. The Habs ruined his coaching career. The Habs beat his Bruins for the Stanley Cup in both 1977 and 1978. He was fired in 1979 for his infamous “too many men on the ice” penalty in the semi-finals which occured against none other but…les Canadiens. If you ask me, he never completely got over his hatred for the Montreal Canadiens and French players because of this. Go back and get a copy of Don’s commentary after the game 3 loss to the Hurricanes. If it were the Leafs playing , would Don Cherry really be saying in a joyful way “that’s it for the Leafs; they’re done!” No, he would be screaming for Bettman to step in and hand the win to the Leafs because Sundin was nearly blinded by that stick, and what the heck is the matter with those referees.

    It’s not really about Don and Ron anyways. When the Habs are holding a jersey retirement ceremony for Hockey Hall of Famer, six time Stanley Cup Winner and inventor of the slapshot, Boom Boom Geoffrion in Montreal, a day which also happens to be the same day that Geoffrion dies, that is national hockey history, and deserves to be viewed by all hockey fans across the country. However, when the English CBC is playing a tribute to Tie Domi in the rest of the country while the aforementioned ceremony is going on in Montreal, that is insulting! Houston, I think we have a problem.

  13. #13 Rob says:
    May 5, 2006 at 7:35 am

    Thanks for the tip on the CRTC thing, Phil.

  14. #14 Joe says:
    May 5, 2006 at 1:21 pm

    I despise everything Anaheim. They are associated with Disney, and no team associated with Disney should ever be anywhere near the Stanley Cup (this is truly sacrilege and it speaks volumes about how far we’ve gone past the point of any remaining decency). Also, the ‘Mighty Ducks’ is not the name of a hockey team. In fact, it’s an unacceptable name for any professional sports franchise that is not cast for a Disney movie. And if that stupid team is ever lucky enough to win anything, Disney will make a f**king movie about it! You can count on that.

    ‘Hockey’, along with the culture that breathed life into it, are truly dead. Disney is the clinching proof. And we’ve made a full conversion to a culture of metrosexuals as a result. ‘Don’t touch him, that’s a penalty!’ Hey, the Mighty Ducks are playing well this season! Shit, I think Teemu broke a nail on that goal!’ Why do I even watch the bloody Ice Capades– I mean, the NHL, anymore?

  15. #15 PACTUM SERVA says:
    May 5, 2006 at 7:40 pm

    wow rob great comment so very very true.

  16. #16 Joe says:
    May 5, 2006 at 8:52 pm

    Or perhaps Emery AND Miller will be exposed for what they really are – average.

    Anyone having players from these two teams in their hockey pool is smiling from ear to ear right now.

  17. #17 Stephen says:
    May 6, 2006 at 4:22 am

    Hi Rob:

    Hmmm …. A hundred percent agree with your second paragraph. CBC is a total joke — worse, they’re deliberately insulting. With the Habs nation-wide support, I hate that I actually PAY the State broadcaster NOT to show me the team I love! *&!!&^!% Torononians :-(

    Like I said, though, Don obviously likes the Leafs better than the Habs personnaly. I’ve read his autobiography, & he doesn’t blame the Habs — he actually praises lafleur who scored the OT goal. The last year we won the Cup, he put a big rah-rah Habs section on his Rock ‘m Sock ‘m Tape for the year.

  18. #18 Rob says:
    May 6, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    Hi Stephen:

    I will drop the part about Don Cherry (and Harry Neale.) I was only joking about that part anyways. Here’s one that I think all Hab fans could support:

    Dear producers of HNIC:

    We, the fans of the most winning and storied professional hockey team in the world’s history, demand a return of our team to the regular CBC national broadcast. Our Canada has never been, and will never be a Leafs’ nation. Les Canadiens should be for all Canadians!

    Sincerely,

    Your name here
    A Habs’ fan

    If you have already sent something in to the producers of Hockey Night in Canada on the CBC (hnic@cbc.ca), send it in again. As Phil also points out, forward a copy to the CRTC (www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/contactus.htm.) Don’t forget to forward a copy to every Habs’ fan that you know so the voice of Hab fans comes through loud and clear. We can put the Habs back into the national spotlight where they belong to be. Down with the Leafs’ nation!

  19. Sign this petition and get HNIC of their butts!

    http://www.petitiononline.com/gosens/petition.html

  20. #20 Rob says:
    May 8, 2006 at 3:00 pm

    Carl:

    That petition is great, but what does that have to do with the Canadiens. I guess that it shows that Ottawa fans feel the same way as Habs fans do towards the CBC when it comes to covering their team. If someone could petition HNIC to start covering ALL Canadian teams equally, that would be great!!!!
    (ie. The CBC was forced to drop its’ “All Leafs, all the time” attitude.) Think of the support that that petition would have across the country.

  21. #21 mel (#1 fan) says:
    May 11, 2006 at 5:50 pm

    i hate the following teams: ottawa senators, toronto maple leafs, boston bruins, detroit red wings and the carolina hurricanes other than that all of the other teams aren’t bad but the habs are still my #1 forever no matter what happens… who agrees with me???

  22. #22 J.J. says:
    May 12, 2006 at 11:42 am

    mel (#1 fan):

    i’m curious as to why even bother hating the carolina hurricanes? i can understand the leafs, sens, bruins and red wings. . . but the hurricanes?! how can you put them in a category w/these other teams?

    am i missing something? carolina may be hot right now but they won’t pull it off. i consider them a non-entity.

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