Posts Tagged ‘Detroit’
In the first round, we predicted six of the eight series correctly. The two we were most unsure about were the two incorrect picks – no surprise at all that New York or Los Angeles won.
Now that the second round is here, the picture becomes a little more clear. Only one of the four series will go the full seven games. Which will it be, and who will move on?
The playoffs have been interesting so far. Some teams have surprised me. Others haven’t at all.
The biggest surprise was the play of the New York Islanders. I thought Pittsburgh would wipe the floor with the Isles and that they should feel lucky if they pick up one game in the series. New York ended up staying with the Penguins in almost every game, and lost two heartbreakers at home in overtime. I never thought I’d say this, but the Islanders look as if they are finally turning things around. (Just in time for their move to Brooklyn!)
Another surprise was the performance of the Minnesota Wild. I’m not surprised that they lost to Chicago, but because they got bounced in only five games. Losing their top goaltender didn’t help, but Minnesota’s offense was stagnant the whole series. The Wild also looked terrible in Game 4 as they got shut out at home and handed the Blackhawks all the momentum in the series. Nevertheless, Minnesota looks stable and if they can add another scorer and fix their inconsistency in the net, they should be a force next season.
Speaking of net consistency, here’s Vancouver. The Canucks’ first-round sweep didn’t surprise me at all. They looked flat-out awful against the Sharks. Roberto Luongo started the first two games in net and didn’t look that bad, but then he was pulled for Cory Schneider, who wasn’t an improvement. Vancouver needs to fix its goaltending problem next season, or else they can kiss their fading Stanley Cup hopes goodbye.
Anyway, we’ve said goodbye to eight teams and are now off to the Conference Semifinals. Here are my predictions for the second round.
As I type this column, I feel a great sadness. Snow is lightly falling outside my apartment window in the background and instead of watching the Winter Classic on NBC, I’m watching a bunch of unimportant bowl games on ESPN. Normally I enjoy college football, but until the BCS National Championship occurs next Monday, none of the games matter to me.
I have a love-hate relationship with BadJocks.com’s Blood Alcohol Count ranking page. If that sounds like a scandalous website, it is. This is no Bleacher Report click-through photo gallery – just a comprehensive list of coaches, athletes, broadcasters and jock-sniffers who have challenged conventional notions of how much booze one can consume while incurring mere embarrassment, not death.
I love it because you pick up tidbits like this, about retired NBA center Arvydas Sabonis’ wife: “Her second drunk driving offense in less than a year, her BAC in the first arrest was only 0.23%, but she was on the way to pick up the kids from school.” Ingrida Sabonis is tied for 16th place on BadJocks.com’s all-time BAC list, at .26 percent.
I hate the site because, well, it’s never good to see role models behaving badly. Fatal freeway accidents aren’t good either, but this is like a compilation of the best fatal freeway accidents ever — you just have to get a close look at the wreckage as you drive past.
Today brought a big one worth slowing down for: Detroit Red Wings prospect Riley Sheahan, who already earned infamy for a 2010 arrest for public intoxication and minor consumption while at Notre Dame, just took “mere embarrassment” to new heights.
I can recall several years ago interviewing CBC Analyst and “Battle of the Blades” contestant Brad May. He was in the twilight of his career with the Anaheim Ducks. I was in the dawn of my career as an NHL reporter. May was about to visit Buffalo for the first time in several years — perhaps the first time ever as a visiting player. We talked about those great Sabres teams of the mid-to-late 1990s (Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!) and all the great players he once counted as teammates.
Of course, it didn’t take him long to mention Dominik Hasek.
I figured that I’ve had written this by now, but here it goes: Dominik Hasek has announced his retirement from hockey. The Czech goalie last played in the KHL in the 2010-11 season. Apparently he was looking to come back to the NHL. It would be convenient to say that the lockout cost him that opportunity, but more than likely time had simply run out.
Hasek’s fire was rivaled only by his athleticism. The combination made him one of the best goalies of his era, one of the best of all time, and one of the most likely to still be playing in the NHL at age 47. He was simply remarkable.
A die-hard Red Wings fan awakes in a cold sweat these days, terrorized by voices. They’re saying Detroit’s domination of St. Louis is finished, all while a rekindling of a frightening past is under way.
“St. Louis is better than Detroit. Just like the early ’90s.”
As a major college hockey fan, I’ve seen some pretty impressive rivalries – North Dakota-Minnesota and Denver-Colorado College – up close. The one rivalry people can’t stop talking about is the Beanpot rivalry in Boston.
For those who are unfamiliar, the Beanpot is a unique tournament held on consecutive Monday nights every February between the four college teams in Boston: Boston University, Boston College, Harvard, and Northeastern.
The winning team not only gets bragging rights over its rivals, it hoists the coveted Beanpot trophy in front of a sold-out crowd. BU and BC typically dominate, having won 46 of the 60 tournaments (BU, 29; BC, 17). Harvard has won the Beanpot 10 times, most recently in 1993, while perennial underdog Northeastern has won four – none since 1988.
Let’s tank the season and get the No. 1 draft pick.
That’s a cockamamie plan, right? You’ll hear it every year among delusional fans – never Red Wings fans, because we think logically and never have to worry about finishing dead friggin’ last – but you’ll hear it everywhere in the circle of sports. Los Angeles Clippers fans. Indianapolis Colts fans. Cleveland Cavaliers fans. The list goes on.
Let’s tank the season and get the No. 1 draft pick.
It’s a crazy theory, really. I mean … who wants to lose? And who would go through with such a ridiculous idea? Gutless people, heartless people, cheaters. That’s who.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, that’s who.
I love hockey.
Not just the 60-minute game, which ticks away one second at a time.
I love the process of hockey.
The parts of the game that attacks the five senses – the unique smell of the dressing room, the unmistakable sound of sharp steel making slivers of crisp ice.
And the parts of the game that mostly go unnoticed, but are really worth paying attention to.
Let’s start with a story.
It was April of 2002. Western Conference quarterfinals Game 2. Detroit vs. Vancouver. Yet again, the Red Wings lost inside Joe Louis Arena, and now a roster chock-full of Hall of Famers was down 2-0 in a best-of-seven series.
It was the ninth consecutive game the Wings failed to win. They finished the regular season 0-5-2, lost back-to-back home playoff contests, then had to board a plane, travel six hours and try to break the spell inside a hostile, Vancouver environment.
Done, over and finished, right?
One fan certainly thought so. He walked down the Joe Louis Arena steps, approached the short glass, took off his No. 39 Dominik Hasek sweater, and threw it onto the ice.
Four wins later, he wanted it back.
Sixteen wins later, he was the biggest fool in Detroit.
Welcome to Panictown, where the goalie crease is always a bull’s-eye for abuse, and overreaction comes at a premium. A recent six-game losing streak took bizarreness to a whole ‘nother level, even causing Jimmy Howard to tell nhl.com there’s no need for sacrificing “a live chicken.”