Friday, May 13, 2016
Three and one in an entertaining second round, the only loss being the Caps. Hilariously enough I was going to go with the Pens and then changed my mind at the last minute, going with my gut. Stupid gut. Anyhow, now at 8 and 4 for the year and all time I am 63-25 in the first round and 25-19 in the second. On to the conference finals where I am 14-6.
The Penguins really look good huh? I mean really good. Not that this is a huge surprise. When Phil Kessel is on your third line (!) it means you're a damn good team and you survive Crosby and Malkin scoring 1 goal between them.
(By the way remember the time Toews scored no goals in three rounds and Chicago still winning the Cup? That's right, even the best players go cold and it has nothing to do with character or wanting it more or knowing how to win.)
This of course leads into my rant (redux) about the media and in this case Rogers in particular. It is hard to believe how bad Rogers is. I mean they are terrible. Only ten years more! Shoot me right fucking now, as Daffy Duck used to say.
I don't mind Strombo to be honest and of course Elliotte is Elliotte but the rest of the crew is ... well just awful. They've carried on with the Cherryification of hockey coverage that HNIC started. The talented players get insulted, their character questioned, their play sneered at. The grunts are deified (Never forget that without Shawn Thornton the Bruins never win that Cup!) and in place of real analysis we are provided with a morality play. How did Pittsburgh beat Washington, in particular how did they shut down so many of the Caps' stars (though not Ovechkin)? I mean literally how did they do it? What did Mike Sullivan do when he came in that turned their season around?
Who knows? We don't know or at least none of these guys paid a lot of money to analyze the sport have told us. Instead we get cliches about a fresh voice in the room and a team that knows how to win beating a team that does not have the character or leadership or 'winning knowledge'. You know, like the Blues and the Sharks who didn't know how to win until they suddenly ... did. Of course if the Pens end up winning it all, or Tampa, then I guess both San Jose and St Louis will not have learned to win.
My head hurts.
And can you not afford to send your own crews to cover each series? How bush can you be, streaming another network feed? Unreal.
And what of Phil Kessel? His career playoff stats (like Marleau and Thornton, two other guys with terrible playoff reps) are very good and yet we all know his reputation. Frankly it's disgusting to see the media members who delighted in running him out of Toronto now saying that he wasn't a cancer at all but rather a very good player who was stuck on a terrible team. Much like Mats Sundin dragging Jonas Hogland around the ice with him for years so was Kessel burdened with plugs and also rans and all he did all of his time in Toronto was score goals, the hardest thing to do in the sport. And when he was in Toronto well, he got shit on, to put it mildly, because like Ales Hemsky, to name another, he did not play the game (ie he was not a good quote/wasn't chummy with the old boys in the media).
The media ran him down and the Leafs, in one of their rare missteps recently, took a page from the Oilers' management playbook and let it happen. The end result is that their best player was devalued to the point where the return was abysmal. If Kessel did not fit into the rebuild (and his age and contract and for that matter his personality may not have, in their view, which is fine, if that is their belief) then that's okay - trade him. But don't stand by and let a hack, the hackiest of hacks, Steve Simmons, assassinate the character of your top player. You may not like the guy yourself but business and asset management demands that you go in front of the mics and defend your man strongly and with conviction. But instead there was silence.
I want the Sharks to win it all but if it ends up being they and the Pens in the Final I do hope that Kessel goes off in a big way, albeit in a losing cause.
Anyhow on to the Pens and the Lightning ... if Tampa had both Stralman and Stamkos I would like their chances a lot better than I do. I mean, they're good and they have a shot, of course. Bishop is capable of winning a couple of games himself and I am still not sold on the Pens' goaltending and D (I know I know, what will it take, I guess if they win the Cup I will become a believer). Murray has been good but Greiss had a great first round and then pfft and we've seen Lundqvist and Holtby and Quick and Crawford all go down already. Goaltending is ... impossible to predict. And if Murray does go poof do you really trust that grinning buck toothed bastard to carry the day? I don't.
But without Stralman ... well the Tampa D is pretty solid and they are nice and deep up front as well but the Pens have that edge at forward and their D is proving better than advertised and well, I can see them losing, sure anyone can be beaten, but Tampa hasn't faced anyone like the Caps and the Pens handled them pretty well.
Pens in 6, maybe even 5. And then all things being equal, I think the west wins again. These eastern D corps are just terrible, aren't they? Taylor Chorney killing a third period penalty in an elimination game? REALLY!
Posted by Black Dog at 8:05 PM