Sunday, April 15, 2007
After a slow start to the season the Flames roared back into contention - I remember saying back in early December or so that I figured they were the team to beat out of the West. Then they added Conroy and Stuart and Wayne Primeau, only subtracting Ference from their roster, and I figured they were golden for sure. On paper they had a roster that could match with pretty well anybody.
You wonder what Darryl Sutter is thinking right now? Loaded this team for bear and now they are down 2-0 and while they have been lights out at home they still have to win one in Detroit and that sure doesn't look likely. Without Kiprusoff this team would have been run out of the rink both games. Which might make Sutter's decision next year (Kipper or Iggy?) a lot easier then you'd think. And what of Jim Playfair? He might end up like Wayne Cashman or Trottier - highly touted assistants who waited for their turn for years, only to bomb out immediately.
Datsyuk is working pretty hard to erase that label of playoff failure, huh? And anyone who has seen the first two games of the Sens/Pens who thinks Alfredsson is a problem come playoff time hopefully moves him to the Oilers this summer if the Sens fall short again. He has been terrific. Spezza too.
On the other hand ... I remember when the Sens acquired Heatley and I have to admit I had seen little of the guy to that point but the hype surrounding him before his car accident made it sound like he was the second coming of Brendan Shanahan or Cam Neely. I haven't seen it and for a guy who has scored fifty goals two years in a row now, I have to think I can't remember a guy with those numbers who just seems to have so little impact on a game. Reminiscent of Mike Bullard, your classic floater from days of yore, who also somehow managed to score fifty goals one season. We all know that it will be Alfredsson or Redden or Murray (or all three) who take the fall if the Sens fall short but this guy is the luckiest guy in the world playing with Jason Spezza. He looks like Joffrey Lupul out there.
And careless with his stick as well which drives me nuts.
You know you're in trouble when Mike Comrie is showing more jam then you. Comrie has looked good and fighting Armstrong in G2 and challenging Talbot in G1 is surely making some GMS take notice. And playing with Fisher and Schaeffer its not like he's seeing the really soft minutes either.
Having said all that if the Sens do fall short (and in this round) and Roberts again is a big factor you have to think that Muckler's head will roll. The guy was available, wanted to go to Ottawa and was a Sens killer for years and Muckler figured, what, the price was too much? The Sens should be up 2-0, sure, but this is the way it always goes with them. They should be up and they're just not getting the breaks and next thing you know they're in game seven and then they are done. Better to just not put yourself into that position, no?
Warms my heart to see the Thrashers down two but what the hell is the deal with Sean Avery? He's showing what has been rumoured for quite a while - he's a good hockey player - but how does he get under a team's skin so much that they do what the Thrashers did at the end of G2? Nice to see that punk Kovalchuk make an ass of himself though, not that he needs a lot of help. He's one guy I would enjoy seeing getting a career ending injury, preferably a severely lacerated testicle or something fun like that.
Avery is going to cash in big time this summer.
And if you're planning on making a playoff run would you just avoid picking up Keith Tkachuk? I know he's a good player but at some point you have to wonder if he is ever going to have any playoff success? The guy is a jinx. Of course he strikes me as an A1 arsehole so hopefully he signs on in Atlanta - he and Kovalchuk are made for each other. Maybe we can get a 2 for 1 on the aforementioned ball ripping.
So the Lames are down 2-0 and the Wild have to win tonight or they're done and the Canucks, who have been badly outplayed for much of their two games, have to try and steal one tonight or I have a feeling that they may go down and quickly.
We're at the point in a lot of these series where we're going to find out if we're going to have much of a series. I'm thinking we might see a couple of teams go out a lot earlier then we thought (and you may not lump the Isles in that group now that DiPietro is back). The Lames and Wild on Jack Lemaire being the two prime candidates. Being down 2-0 going home is not insurmountable (see Oilers/Sharks last spring) but you basically have no margin for error - a hot goalie or a couple of bad breaks puts you down 3-1 going back on the road. Not insurmountable but pretty well (see Oilers/Canes last spring).
Posted by Black Dog at 5:09 PM