Sorry for taking so long to write this, between being really busy 75% of the day and then incredibly lazy the other 25% I just haven’t had the time nor the ability to write a proper recap of recent events. As a result, I’m going to try to rapid fire some important events as best I can.
Congratulations to the LA Kings, Stanley Cup Champions for the 2011-12 NHL season. Special big ups to Rob “The Piece” Scuderi. Certainly it is easy to make fun of Scuds for not being that dynamic offensive machine, however, as he’s proven twice now and to quote the words of my father, “you win the Stanley Cup with guys like that.” Amen.
Although I gave them a hard time throughout the playoffs I am really pumped that Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, the two cornerstone pieces of the Flyers franchise until this past season, are Stanley Cup champions only months after they were dumped by Philly because neither the coach nor the GM felt that the team could win a Cup with those guys. A friend of mine who is a Philly fan tried to explain to me that the objective in Philadelphia wasn’t to win the Cup this year, but to build for the future. I believe him because I don’t want to delve into the rottenness that is Philadelphia sports, their fans, and their pundits, but that leaves me with a couple of questions. If you weren’t trying to win the Cup this year, why did you overpay by more than 60% for a 40-year-old winger who had been out of the league for three years? Further, if you aren’t trying to win the Cup really soon why did you spend a fortune on a goalie well over thirty when you already had an extremely promising one going into his second season in the league? If you were disappointed with your stars, why not wait til the trade deadline and trade them to contending teams who would be willing to totally overpay for their services rather than trade them to some meh teams for some meh third line players in the offseason? Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, if you aren’t trying to win the Cup, what the hell are you doing?
The best good news about the Kings winning the Cup is that now it is officially the offseason and that means that there are officially stories to report about the Penguins again. I’ll be writing about them momentarily.
Wow time for the Conference Finals already. This postseason is really moving along quickly. If not for the Caps and Rangers we could probably be two or three games into the conference finals. The Western Conference has been set for a week and the Devils have been waiting since Tuesday. We’re getting down to crunch time now, there are only four teams left. One of them will end up winning the Stanley Cup. Who would’ve predicted these teams to be the last one’s standing at the start of the season. Read the rest of this entry »
Sorry that we never did a Gameday on Game 6 of the Pens/Flyers series. We’ve both been super busy, and let’s be real there are a lot of mixed emotions to consider when your team goes from Cup favorite to out in the first round. I don’t want to go into depth at this time about the personnel changes that await the Penguins this offseason, but you have to feel that for all the money the Pens spent on defense, it just hasn’t worked. This is just my (Andrew’s) opinion, but to me both Michalek and Martin need to get shipped, neither have done enough for the Penguins and you’d be foolish to think that the Penguins couldn’t get a decent return despite their lack-luster years in Pittsburgh. Kris Letang and Brooks Orpik exemplify what type of defensemen you need to be to play in Pittsburgh. You either need to be an amazing skater, like Letang, and Gonchar before him, and to a slightly lesser degree, Niskanen, or you need to just be bad to the bone like Orpik. Both Martin and Michalek fit into the gray area between those skill sets and it just doesn’t work in Bylsma’s system. The other major cause for the Penguins demise has to be that, again, in my opinion alone, the Flyers have been built, above and beyond anything else, to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins. Laviolette pretty much stated as much, and it seems pretty obvious why the Flyers did spend so much on Max Talbot, not so much for his playing ability, but for his ability to divulge every last secret of Bylsma’s system.
When talking with friends I bring this statistic up all the time. The Flyers were 4-2 against the Pens (or 8-4 if you want to count the playoffs) and 0-6 against the Rangers this year. The Penguins went 5-1 against the Rangers. You really can’t convince me that the Flyers are a better team than the Penguins, it is just that the Flyers were built in the expressed interest of beating the Penguins and that’s what they did. And hey, maybe Philly deserves it, it’s not a secret that they have basically never won a championship in a salary capped, or as I like to call them, “competitive” sport (*cough* Phillies *cough*) in well, basically forever, so the blind squirrel catches a nut every once and while.
Now onto the Conference Semifinals Round of the playoffs. There’s going to be a lot of turnover in the NHL this year. None of the West teams that remain have ever won the Cup, and only three of the eight remaining teams have ever won the Cup before (Flyers, Rangers, Devils), only the Devils can claim to have won it in the last decade. And that could be good or bad. It is good because no matter what it will grow the game in some less-traditional markets, although it sounds really weird to say that with the Rangers and Flyers still in the playoffs. The bad news is what happens if the SCF comes down to Phoenix and New Jersey, literally no one will watch the games, which would be disastrous going into a collective bargaining offseason.
Anyway, a few thoughts on the matchups for this round after the jump.
Well let’s spend some time with the matchups in the first round of the Playoffs. I don’t want to make predictions, especially not for the Pens themselves, but I’ll give it a go with the other fifteen teams who stand a chance of winning the ultimate prize. Read the rest of this entry »