It’s time for the NHL Playoffs to begin again when April rolls around. The NHL Playoffs are the ultimate game of survivor when it comes to professional sports, in the sports news and sports on the web. There are sixteen teams all challenging to drink from Lord Stanley’s mug and only one team will prevail and actually realize the dream. There is so much parity in the league today that not much difference can be seen between the division champions and the wild card teams. You have to be a pretty good team just to get to the dance. But once there it becomes a war of attrition to keep moving on. The NHL playoffs are the toughest grind in professional sports and a team requires sixteen wins to become the best. Each game is a dog fight with cuts and bruises becoming common place. If you don’t sport the marks of battle, well you just have not been in the game.
Official NHL Logo
Allsports will now attempt to predict who will win and move on in the opening round of the playoffs. See if you agree or disagree with the teams which I propose will move on. Each series will be feverishly contested and there is plenty of room for upsets and differences of opinion. That is what makes the NHL Playoffs truly unique.
Western Conference Logo
In the West,
Minnesota opens against Colorado. Colorado has come a long way this year considering they missing the playoffs last year and ended up with the first overall pick in last years draft. The Wild are known for their stingy defense and should make goals a premium. Allsports likes the team speed of the Avalanche even though Matt Duchene is injured at the moment. It will be a struggle but the Avalanche will prevail in 7 games.
Dallas goes to Anaheim to play the Ducks. The Ducks remember a good regular season last year turning into an empty feeling when Detroit put them out in the first round. Allsports does not think Perry, Getzlaf, and company will let that happen again. Dallas has been playing playoff hockey for about a month now just to get into the playoffs, but in the end the Ducks will take the series in 6 games.
Chicago opens in St. Louis. The Blues were looking like the team to beat just a couple of short weeks ago, much like the Leafs looked like they would be in the playoffs, ouch. The Blues have since fallen off a bit and allowed the Avalanche to overtake them for the division title. Add to that, some injuries and it could be another disappointing year for the Blues. The Black Hawks have some question marks of their own but until they are put out they are still the defending champions and can score in bunches. Allsports likes the Black Hawks in 7 games.
Finally L.A. opens in San Jose. The Sharks have had a great year and for their efforts they play the Kings which is likely the team they wanted to play the least in the opening round. L.A. seems to have the Sharks number, taking 7 of the possible 10 points in the season series. Jonathan Quick is a better goalie than Antti Niemi and the Kings play tough playoff hockey all year long. The Sharks are strong down the middle but L.A. should handle it. Kings in 6 games.
Eastern Conference Logo
Montreal opens in Tampa Bay, this series will be a toss up and likely go the distance. Carey Price in goal for Montreal could be the difference. Tampa has the leagues best scorer in Steve Stamkos but the Canadiens have a deeper lineup. Ben Bishop won’t start in goal for the Lightning so flip a coin and say Montreal in 7 games.
Detroit in Boston. Detroit has played some inspired hockey just to get into the playoffs but Allsports does not think they have the depth or the size to take out the Bruins. stranger things have happened but we will go with Boston in 6 games.
Local boy makes good, Mimico native Brendan Shanahan was announced last Friday as the new president and alternate governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs. That is the sports news and sports on the web in this neck of the woods the past few days.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Logo
Shanahan had a distinguished career as a hard nosed hockey player and hall of fame member, who could play any type of game you wanted to. A tough, hard checking game with a dash of fighting mixed in or a skill game. It did not matter to him, he was at home with any style on the ice.
Shanahan never put up with excuses when he was a player and his drive and determination will hopefully wear off on the Maple Leafs. Chances are if it does not, there will be a few guys heading out of town. Shanahan joined the NHL’s head office in December, 2009 as Vice President of Hockey and Business Development. He would later serve as the league’s chief player disciplinarian for three seasons. During this time he had the reputation of being tough but fair. For more on this you can go to the Toronto Maple Leafs website.
And that is the sports news and sports on the web, or the way I see it anyway.
“No Guts No Glory”
P.S. The NHL playoffs begin tomorrow night, there could be some upsets in the first round match ups. Allsports might try his hand at some predictions if I can find the time to write something up. Finding the time these days is the hard part. Anyway hears who plays who.
In the East , Detroit is at Boston, Tampa is at Montreal (the lone Canadian hope). Columbus is at Pittsburgh ( I think the Jackets have a chance), and the Flyers are at the Rangers in New York.
In the West, Minnesota plays a surprising Colorado, Defending champs, Chicago are in St.Louis (Can the Blues finally break through?), Dallas is at Anaheim, and the San Jose Sharks host the L.A. Kings. My feeling is the Sharks would have rather played anyone else in the division. L.A. lines up well against them and won the season series convincingly.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have almost made the total collapse and a missed playoffs a complete reality in the sports news and sports on the web. They have gone down like the Hindenburg in the standings, suffering their 8th straight loss. The worst part is that they were all in regulation time, so not a single point either. Add that to the fact that they were playing teams they were fighting for a playoff spot with and you get the picture. Done like dinner.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Logo
The Toronto Maple Leafs did manage to keep their very slim playoff hopes alive by squeezing out victories over the Calgary Flames and the Boston Bruins. But Jonathan Bernier went down with another injury against the Bruins when a leafs defenseman made the bone head play of knocking a Bruins forward on top of him. The Maple Leafs will have no choice but to go with James Reimer the rest of the way. I know I said Reimer would likely not play for the Leafs again but desperate times call for desperate measures.
The Winnipeg Jets pretty much put the final nail in the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff coffin last night. Skating away with a 4-2 win that was very convincing. The Maple Leafs showed no desperation in their game and were thoroughly out played. You had to feel sorry for Reimer, he played well but as has been the case pretty well all year, he had little help in front of him. So with the lose the Maple Leafs are not mathematically eliminated yet, but the hope is very slim. If they had beaten the Jets they would have had a 30% chance of making it to the playoff dance. With the loss however their percentage dropped to a meager 9%. Not to mention that the Maple Leafs three remaining games are all on the road in Tampa, Florida, and Ottawa. Good luck with that. The fat lady has not sung yet but she is starting to hum a few bars.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are the sports news and sports on the web in Toronto these days. Here in the center of the hockey universe The Toronto Maple Leafs are always the hottest topic of conversation and it becomes even more magnified once we start rolling into April and the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs are in site.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Logo
After what started off as a promising road trip where the Toronto Maple Leafs took four of a possible six points from the top western teams in California. The wheels fell off as they winged their way back east across the continental United States. Consecutive losses to Washington, Detroit, Tampa and Montreal have put the Maple Leafs on the verge of dropping out of the wild card seed. James Reimer, who was brilliant in relief of Jonathan Bernier in the L.A. Kings game has not been able to catch that performance as the Toronto Maple Leafs starter. He has been ok as Randy Carlyle stated. but seems to not be ready and is letting in a questionable goal early to put the Maple Leafs down and make it an uphill battle to get back. Don’t get me wrong I am not putting the blame on Reimer alone. Questionable coverage in the defensive zone has also contributed. But some of the goals Reimer has allowed were of the stoppable variety.
The four losses have hurt twice as much because they have all been in regulation, so no points were awarded, but even more worrisome is the fact that they are losing to the teams they are fighting with for the playoff spots. All four games were four point swings in the standings with the teams the Leafs lost to. Case in point was last nights game against the Montreal Canadiens. Reimer let in two early past his glove and the Toronto Maple Leafs could not overcome the early deficit against Carey Price. The Maple Leafs did deserve a better fate though as they did out play the Hab’s but three ringing shots off the goal post were their ultimate undoing.