NY Islanders News

Hockey from the Blind Side, Playoff Observations

By John Panarese

My apologies to both Gary and our readers for my lack of contributions. As I had previously indicated, I was in the midst of preparing for taking the Apple Certified Support Professional exam for Mac OS X Lion Essentials. It was a nearly 3 month journey, but it concluded yesterday with a passing score and my certification. Thus, I hope to get back into the swing of writing more and enjoy life outside of studying ….

To be honest, I don’t recall all of my predictions for the first round, but I can tell you that I caught many of the games. The coverage by NBC is fantastic, and I can’t tell you how many times I sat in my living-room with my Mac Book Pro or iPad in my lap studying while I listened to the games.
To say the least, the first round was quite entertaining, and the second round is shaping up to be as well. I was quite surprised that Pittsburgh and Boston went down in the East, while Detroit and Chicago were shocking enough in the West. I had no idea Vancouver would be so easily handled by Los Angeles.Here are some random “blind observations” about a variety of subjects and some of the playoff series from the first round. Also, I’ll toss in a few about the current round.

• The first couple of games between the Flyers and Penguins were intense even by this “old school” hockey fan. I was surprised by the level of “hate” and animosity demonstrated by both teams. I was expecting a war after the last few regular season meetings, but I had no idea of the level of combat that would occur.

• In regard to that same series, that had to be the worse example of playoff goaltending. What a mess. Fleury and Brizgalov didn’t seem capable of stopping beach balls at times ….
• Give Nashville a lot of credit. Taking out Detroit so relatively easily was a very impressive accomplishment. Pekka Rinne was the polar opposite of either goaltender in the Flyer/Penguin series.

• I had a strong feeling that Chicago would go down to the Coyotes. Something was missing with the Hawks. It had little to do with them losing Marian Hossa to injury. Crawford gave up a couple of weak overtime goals, and it just seemed that the level of desperation needed in the playoffs was missing.

• Yeah, the Rangers were #1 in the East, but the Senators took them to the ropes. As far as I am concerned, Ottawa has only themselves to blame. They had the Rangers down with a 3-2 lead in the series and let it slip away.

• The New Jersey/Florida series proved to be a lot more entertaining than I expected. Let it not be said that Marty Brodeur is “”declining”. He came up with some big saves, while he got some timely scoring from his teammates. Florida, though, has nothing to be ashamed of. They had a great season and a nice run.

• The discipline and suspension actions by the league were disgraceful in the first round. There was a clear double standard shown as far as punishment goes for “super star” players compared to “non-star” players. As an example, Aaron Asham receiving 4 games and Nicklas Backstrom getting 1 game for doing the same thing. There were countless other incidents like that, and, frankly, it was confusing and embarrassing on such a national showcase.

• I am surprised, but Saint Louis is in big trouble in the second round. Los Angels solved Brian Elliot, but Jonathan Quick is still a wall in net.

• Equally so, Nashville is going to have to find ways to score when the series returns home for them. Mike Smith, right now, is besting Pekka Rinne.

• My jury is still out about a clear “better” team between Philadelphia and New Jersey. With just 1 game that went to overtime, I don’t have a read on that series yet.

• If Washington wants to upset the Rangers, they are going to need scoring on top of their goaltending and better defense. Potentially, I think the Caps have more to throw at Henrik Lundqvist and company than the Senators did, so if they manage to win both games in Washington, the Rangers could be out quickly. However, if the blue shirts even split in DC, the Caps are going to have a hard time advancing to the third round.

Unfortunately, I am going to miss much of the game tonight between New Jersey and Philadelphia, as I have to work late with a west coast client. . However, as I said earlier, the coverage the NBC network is giving the NHL playoffs is something they should be commended for. The broadcast teams are great and the analysis has been informative and entertaining. I’m truly enjoying the ride thus far.

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