Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The Postseason rulebook (followup)/A wrapup of the final four NHL teams/Finals Preview (RW77)

The PostSeason Rulebook

Much has been said (and ignored) by the NHL about the postseason rulebook... and sadly most of the issues in round 1 went away in the subsequent rounds.  Why sadly?  Because it gives ammo to the NHL to simply dust it under the rug and ignore what is painfully obvious:

The Rulebook is wrongfully applied in the postseason...or is it the regular season?  Either way the rulebook used during the regular season has been replaced by a new rulebook that allows spearing, embellishment, roughing, boarding, slashing, and randomly allows/disallows interference and tripping.

Diving is a huge problem in professional sports.  HUGE.  It's on the rise in the NHL and NFL, it's pretty entrenched in the NBA, and it's an absolute PLAGUE on soccer/football.

Semifinal Reviews:

Montreal Canadiens

They weren't outplayed by New York.  They fell victim to two things:  Bad luck and Karma.  It was bad luck that Price got injured (for many reasons).  It was bad luck that Dustin Tokarski came in and played very well except for one game and will STILL be remembered as the guy who couldn't pull a Carey Price.  Montreal will be more known for their diving and embellishing than they will for the skill they put on the ice.

Carey Price played out of his mind.  I STILL do not believe that this is the norm.  Price STILL isn't an elite goaltender.  He's VERY good, don't get me wrong.  He had an EPIC postseason this year.  But in the end, PK Subban and Tomas Plekanec (among others) placed BAD KARMA on the Canadiens by flopping like fish when they were touched.

PK Subban is a GREAT fit for Vancouver because, like the Vancouver Candivers, he's EXCEPTIONALLY talented.  He's one of the best puck moving defensemen in the NHL... but he can't let his gameplay do the talking.  He has to showboat and dive.  The guy is the most visible minority hockey player in the NHL right now.  Sure, there are others (Wayne Simmonds, Johnny Oduya, Jerome Iginla, among others) but PK is the most visible.  And he's representing himself POORLY.  He reminds me a lot of Robbie Earl while he was with Wisconsin.  Robbie had a TON of talent.  He was fast, a great stick handler, a finisher... but you breathe on him wrong and he falls to the ice like he's been shot.  And, like Earl, the team representatives defend him (I still remember hearing UW blowhards talk about how Earl skates on the balls of his feet which causes him to be unstable on his skates... whatever...  when it suits him nothing knocks him off of his skates).

Anyways, ethical behavior amongst players in sports is almost dead anyways.

NY Rangers

Have they beaten any opponent outright?  Have they laid the smackdown at all this post season?  The answer is no.  They "got by" every opponent they faced.  Does it matter?  No.  Because, do you know what's the worst thing that could happen to the Rangers if they get by the Kings?  Nothing because they'd still be hoisting the Cup.  The truth is, the fact that they've had to fight through EVERY opponent they've  faced and dominated in the areas of goaltending and capitolizing on the other guys mistakes (they've done little to create their own victories really) means that they will once again have to slog their way through the LA Kings in the finals.  Good thing is that Lundqvist is a beast...well except for that one game where he looked epically awful.

Chicago Blackhawks

Tons of talent and no depth.  Oh, and Corey Crawford joins Marc Andre Fleury in proving that it doesn't take elite goaltending to win the Stanley Cup.  Crawford was singularly AWFUL for most of the series.  Game 7 was astounding to me.  Quick gives up a horrendous softie to Patrick Sharp and they can't win despite it?  If Chicago was all that great wouldn't 4 goals be enough to win a game?

Not with the Hawk D and Corey Sieve Crawford.  He looked SO MUCH like Cristobal Huet that I could've SWORE the French Sieve kidnapped the real Corey Crawford and undermined the Hawks.

Nick Leddy, I know you botched a block which resulted in the game winner for the Kings in Game 7, but don't feel bad.  In all likelihood the next shot the Kings would have made would have beaten Crawford anyways.

In the end, the Hawks focus on depth this offseason but they should focus on shut down D, a 2nd line Center, and training Crawford's replacement.

LA Kings

They outlasted the Hawks.  It is evident that they will be the favorites to win the Cup and I hope they do win, but they have a team eerily similar to the NY Rangers.  Good D, Great Goaltending, and mediocre Offense.  It's strange that the Kings boast a 4th line in Pearson/Taffoli/Carter that outscores their first line... or at least the commentators call that line the Kings' 4th line.  It's kindof like calling the Toews line the Hawks checking line.  Call it what you will but we all know that the first line that does almost no scoring isn't the first line and the fourth line that does most of the scoring is usually called the first line.  Whatever.

Prediction:  If LA is going to win it, they'll need to NOT see Game 7.  If Game 7 comes around, Quick's streak ends and the Rangers hoist the Cup.  My prediction:  Kings in 6.
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