Some odds and ends on a lazy Sunday.
The series I've probably enjoyed the most so far is San Jose-Calgary. I expect it to go seven games and I have no idea who's ultimately going to triumph because neither teams seems to be able to really carry any momentum for very long. I'm not sure I'd say that either team has played well for an entire game (and as a Sabres fan I think I have enough experience to accurately judge that). I want Calgary to win but for some reason I'm feeling San Jose. Unless the goalies carry them however, I don't see either team advancing any further if they continue to play the way they are right now. (Now I'm not sure about SJ winning the series. They were a hot ugly mess for most of the night tonight and Calgary mostly looked good.)
I missed almost every game in the Colorado-Minnesota series and I finally decided I was cheering for Nashville to upset Detroit even if it meant destroying my pick 'em pool but it looks like they're about to lose. Better luck with that playoff beard next year, JP. I have to admit, it's a little funny that they lost their captain to a mild concussion sustained during a goal celebration. That sounds like something only Tim Connolly could pull off. As an aside, I was super impressed with Nashville's crowds during this series. It was really nice to see them turn out and embrace the team despite all the off-season drama there. I was also enjoying hearing Vince Gill do the anthems because he has one of my favorite voices in the world.
I am largely uninspired by the Eastern Conference side. Some of the games in the Montreal-Boston series have been entertaining but I'm annoyed that the Bruins won't just go away. I hate you, Boston! Go away! I saw very little of the Rangers-Devils series and most of what I did see was dominated by talk about Sean Avery which is so not what I want in my playoff hockey. I did delight in the Penguins sweeping the Senators but that was not exactly unexpected and not really much fun to watch as far as the hockey goes. And despite the surprising spurts of affection for Danny Briere, I really want the Flyers and the Caps to go away as soon as possible. Perfection would be the Flyers winning the next game and then getting swept in the next round.
Theoretically I understand people's enthusiasm for the Caps (I guess) and I understand the NHL being excited about Alexander Ovechkin being in the postseason but Versus/NBC's endless pumping up of the team and the city is killing me. Pierre McGuire was having a heart attack because the crowd was really excited about a Caps goal. "Every time the Caps do something positive, this crowd responds!" Great! Well done, people of DC! I know when I first started watching hockey I had a really hard time keeping track of which team I was supposed to be cheering for! Every time the team had to switch ends I had no idea what was going on! Settle down, NBC and let me just notice the crowd on my own. It's not like I can't see or hear them.
Speaking of Pierre, when I was complaining about him the other day I forgot to mention the thing he does that bothers me the most: his interpretation of the body language on the bench. I don't need to see the bench to know that the team that's now done by two goals is bummed. And if I do see the bench I know that blank stares and bowed heads signify sadness and defeat. That's not something that is magically revealed to someone within a few feet of the bench which is what Pierre seems to believe.
In the Montreal-Boston game the other night there was a goal - I think by Boston - that went through what seemed like 18 bodies screening the goalie. Pierre yelled, "HE COULDN'T HAVE SEEN THAT EVEN WITH X-RAY VISION!" We're comic book geeks in our house so instead of going along with the hyperbole we had the following conversation:
"I don't think Pierre understands what x-ray vision is."
"Yeah, I see no reason that Superman wouldn't have been able to see that shot if he wanted to."
"Maybe Boston's uniforms are lined with lead?"
"That would explain it. That's the only thing that would make sense. But come on, they're not lined with lead."
"No, probably not. Too heavy for hockey."
Can we steal Stuuuuuuu Barnes back in the off-season? He's a veteran, right? I really enjoyed watching the Stars take the Ducks out in the first round. It was very entertaining to watch the rough and tumble Ducks bury themselves in this series with all the dumb penalties they took in the first couple of games. I have a soft spot for Marty Turco so I'm happy to see him with some success. I felt kind of bad for him because he played really well in the Dallas losses to Vancouver in the first round last season and still seemed to be stuck with the choker label. Hopefully he'll shake that a bit now.
For the record, I totally over thought my line-up changes for this week. Not knowing what teams were going to advance and when the next rounds were going to start really messed with my head. I'll probably be a disaster. And no, I don't care that everyone else has to deal with that as well.