Thursday, April 26, 2012

NHL 1st Round Analysis

I might be a prisoner of the moment but I would have to believe looking back on the 1st Round of the NHL playoffs this year might have been the best ever.  There were so many overtime games.  There was so much chippy play, and players were actually fighting in the playoffs.  There was the Penguins - Flyers series in the 1st round.  A bunch of game 7's in the last couple days, that were very exciting.  How could you seriously go wrong with what went down?

So let's do some analysis based on the picks and how the first round went down.  Starting with the Western Conference:

Los Angeles Kings (8) vs Vancouver Canucks (1) - In what had to be the most surprising series in the first round, the Kings handled the President's Trophy winners in 5 games.  Seasons in the Sun was quoted as saying, "The Canucks should easily win this series in 5 or 6 games," boy were we wrong.  The Kings' goalie, J. Quick, was the difference in this series, he played lights out.  On the other hand, Luongo, played terrible for the Canucks and was benched in favor of the back-up goalie.  It went so bad for Luongo in Vancouver, that he is apparently asking for a trade, unbelievable.  Seasons in the Sun - 0 - 1

San Jose Sharks (7) vs St. Louis Blues (2) - In another series that ended in 5 games, the St. Louis Blues showed that their regular season play was equal to the task in the playoffs.  Seasons in the Sun could not pick the Blues because of a conflict of interest (a classy way of saying we hate the blues hahaha).  The Blues goalie Halak was hurt in this series, and will be ruled out of the first two games of the 2nd round.  That was a little matter as Elliott, the back-up for the Blues, came in and put the Sharks in a net they could not swim away from.
This is just another failure for the Sharks, whom have the talent to get to the cup final, but just have not made it there.  Seasons in the Sun - 0 - 2

Chicago Blackhawks (6) vs Phoenix Coyotes (3) - In a very testy series, that would be the only series to go more than 5 games in the Western Conference first round, the Phoenix Coyotes got the better of the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2.  The series was dealt a black eye when Raffi Torres knocked out Marian Hossa, the Blackhawks leading score on the season, in Game 3.  Mike Smith, the Phoenix goalie, played brilliant, shutting down the Blackhawks offense.  The world knows how we feel about the Blackhawks, and let's just say that this series really left a very bitter and bad taste in our mouths. Seasons in the Sun - 0 - 3

Detroit Red Wongs (5) vs Nashville Predators (4) - Thank God for the Nashville Predators ending the Red Wongs' season in 5 games.  Season in the Sun said, "It was Nashville's time," and it was, only losing one game in the series.  The series was testy early, but the Red Wongs did not really answer the bell when it came to be physical.  They have a pretty old team, and the younger players did not step up their game as the Red Wong fans would have liked.  Great Job Nashville! Seasons in the Sun - 1 - 3

Eastern Conference:

Ottawa Senators (8) vs New York Rangers (1) - Seasons in the Sun, brought up the idea in the preview that this might be a trap series for the New York Rangers, and it was very close to that.  The Rangers prevailed in 7 games, which leads us to believe that the Rangers might have over looked the Senators a little bit.  The Senators probably the worst team in the playoffs really gave the Rangers all they could handle.  Ottawa might have given the Rangers' opponent in the second round a blueprint to beat them.  Seasons in the Sun - 2 - 3

Washington Capitals (7) vs Boston Bruins (2) - There will be a new Stanley Cup Winner this year as the Boston Bruins were downed by the Capitals in game 7 in OT.  This might have been the best series to watch, really good physical play, and up/down the ice action that was hard to beat.  This was a slightly less upset than the Kings - Canucks, media was really not giving the Caps much of a chance.  Too bad we did not pick this upset, hahaha.  Seasons in the Sun - 2 - 4

New Jersey Devils (6) vs Florida Panthers (3) - It went to double OT in the 7th game but the Devils beat the Florida Panthers 3-2.  We were not that high on the Florida Panthers when the series started but they played very well, hats off to them.  New Jersey should also be given a pat on the back for winning the last two games in OT to advance to the second round.  Its really too bad that both teams could not move on because they were very equal teams.  Seasons in the Sun - 3 - 4

Philadelphia Flyers (5) vs Pittsburgh Pen-goons (4) - In what was the most testy series in the 1st round the Flyers beat down the Pen-goons in 6 games.  It was a very high scoring series, and the goalies, well, they did not show up.  Fleury for the Pen-goons had another playoff flop, he let in so many soft goals that it was hard for the Pen-goons to keep up.  The Flyers power play was unbelievable at 53%, in the regular season you're lucky if you are at 25% to 30%.  Giroux, was an animal for the Flyers, and really set the tone for them.  Thank you Flyers for destroying the Pen-goons.  Seasons in the Sun - 4 - 4

Our first round wrap up would not be complete without a section on 1st Round Conspiracy Theories.  You know everyone loves a good conspiracy theory or a good conspiracy thriller like The Fugitive with Harrison Ford.  There is really nothing like Harrison Ford running around trying to be like he is in Die Hard, and at the same time trying to prove that he did not murder his wife.  There are no murders here but these are the conspiracies that caught our eye from the first round:

Is there really parity in the NHL or is it all set up?  The NHL has been going around preaching about how awesome the parity has been in the sport but did it systematically eliminate the last four cup winners all in the first round?  You might think that this is not fishy, but they eliminated them in the order that they won the cup.  In 2008, the Red Wongs won the cup, they were eliminated on April 20th by Nashville.  Next, was the 2009 winner, the Pen-goons eliminated on April 22nd by the Flyers.  Thirdly, the Chicago Blackhawks eliminated on April 23rd by the Coyotes.  Toews and the Blackhawks raised the Cup in 2010.  Finally, the Boston Bruins were upset by the Capitals on April 25th.  This is too weird not to think something is not up.

The second conspiracy has to do with Coyotes - Blackhawks series, and it is what we at Seasons in the Sun have dubbed, "The Red Wong Conspiracy."  This has to do with the fact that the NHL does not want the Blackhawks to win anything.  Why would the NHL want the Coyotes to win? Duh, they own the Coyotes.  Coyotes attendance has been at the bottom of the league, and the only way the league can break even is if the Coyotes get to the playoffs.  Well, they have been in the playoffs the last couple of seasons, and that has done little for attendance.  The NHL finally decided that it needed the Coyotes to win a playoff series so maybe someone would buy the team from them.

That's not all though let's talk about some of the plays in the Coyotes - Blackhawks series that bring up questionable officiating.  For example, Smith, the goalie was run into by Shaw of the Blackhawks, Smith missed two periods, Shaw was thrown out of the game when the play happened and suspended 3 games.  Next play, Marian Hossa was knocked out by Raffi Torres, no penalty was called on the play.  Torres as compared to Hossa has almost 50 less points on the season.  Luckily, some justice was given when Torres was suspended 25 games.  There are 4 officials on the ice during an NHL game, how can they not see this? Who was the only player thrown out for the Hossa hit?  Bollig, a Blackhawks player for going after Torres.  Finally, Hayes in game 6 with about 10 minutes left was thrown out of the game after he checked a Phoenix player into the boards and gave him a bloody nose.  You see a theme? Only Blackhawks players were getting thrown out of the games.

We would like to thank you for reading Seasons in the Sun NHL 1st Round Wrap Up, coming soon will be the 2nd round preview.  As always thanks for reading, and have a great day.

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