2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Discussion in 'Hockey' started by Don Wassall, Apr 22, 2014.

  1. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    The Penguins played hard in Game 7 and dominated play, but the sad fact is that if they had played as hard in Games 5 and 6 it never would have gotten to a winner take all Game 7 where anything can happen.

    That's really frustrating to me as the Penguins are the only team I root for year in and year out; otherwise I root for individual athletes and have shifting allegiances toward teams that are at least relatively fair to White athletes. That's obviously not an issue in hockey. I expect a hockey team to play hard, especially given how much money fans shell out to support them and because that's what White men are supposed to do, but the Penguins are sadly reminiscent in some ways of the pampered teams and affletes we rightfully criticize.

    It's almost guaranteed that Dan Bylsma will be fired, but that should have happened years ago. The organization needs a fundamental shift away from its country club atmosphere, but given that Mario Lemieux is the league's original coach killer and originator of the country club ethos, that is unlikely to happen. GM Ray Shero also needs to go, and if this series illustrated anything, it showed that Lundquist is a far superior goalie to Fleury. Even when not imploding, Fleury routinely flops and flails around and is terrible at rebound control, whereas Lundquist is fundamentally superb along with making lots of great saves.

    Bylsma, Fleury and Shero need to go; so do soft coasters like James Neal and Chris Kunitz, and a slew of over the hill veterans. And what a colossal disappointment Sidney Crosby has become come playoff time, especially this year. We'll see what happens. And credit to the Rangers for regrouping when they were all but given up for dead and doing it while having to play 9 games in 15 days.
     
  2. Freethinker

    Freethinker Hall of Famer

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    As the resident Rangers fan, albeit a casual one, I've got to talk up my guys a bit. They played great the last 3 games after looking tired and beaten after the back to back shutouts at MSG. It may sound cliche but the team seemed to rally around Martin St. Louis after the sudden passing of his mother. This culminated with Marty scoring a goal on Mother's Day with his father and sister in attendance. Watching game 7 was gut wrenching, especially the 3rd period, as the Penguins dumped shot after shot on Henrik and the Rangers. I thought eventually they would get that equalizer.

    The Rangers are a fine team to support, unless of course you hate all things New York. They have zero minorities and a nice blend of veterans (Richards, St. Louis, Nash, Lundqvist, Girardi) and young talents (Kreider, McDonagh, Hagelin, Stepan, Zuccarello, Brassard). Both of their potential Eastern Conference Finals opponents prominently feature a black player. Boston with Jerome Iginla and Montreal with P.K. Subban.
     
  3. FootballDad

    FootballDad Hall of Famer

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    Hey Don, word is that you are going to get your wish. Both Bylsma and Shero are going to be blown out.

    [h=1]Report: Penguins firing GM Shero, coach Bylsma this morning[/h]
     
  4. Matra2

    Matra2 Master

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    I don't know what they need to do in Pittsburgh but things definitely need to be shaken up. Wonder what the problem is with Crosby? There are persistent rumours of some injury but it is also possible that having won everything there is to win in the sport at junior, international, and NHL levels he might just lack motivation.

    Game 7 between LA and Anaheim goes tonight.

    I tend to hate all things New York - beyond sports, especially my childhood favourite team, the Islanders. I wanted the two Pennsylvania teams to beat the Rangers. But I'll be supporting them against the Habs. No way can I accept a Montreal Stanley Cup win. The Western Conference finalist - probably Chicago - should win it anyway as the West is stronger.
     
  5. Average American

    Average American Mentor

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    Matra.. good insight/question on Crosby. I wonder about that too, not just in hockey (or sports), but life in general. It's hard to maintain a hungry edge, when your figurative belly is full. I'm amazed by dynastic teams like the Islanders that u mentioned.. 70s Steelers, Lombardi Packers, etc.. It takes masterful motivation to keep guys coming back to win the same prize over & over right.. Different in college (& modern pros) where u have more revolving personnel. I guess athletes have different level of appetites, that separates 'em (?) May be a while until Crosby gets that hunger pang back..
     
  6. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    Crosby was always known for having a strong work ethic until the 2014 playoffs. The most common speculation is that he and others were fed up with Clueless Dan Bylsma and had been for a long time. That's not an excuse for his play; but it does reflect on management when not just the players but virtually the entire fan base came to the conclusion years ago that Bylsma's expiration date had passed.

    Crosby was constantly hit in the head by both Columbus and New York in the first two rounds, yet no penalties were called, and more importantly the Penguins lacked a single player who would stand up for Sid. This is a guy who is not just the face of the franchise but supposedly one of the faces of the league, and who recently missed over a season's worth of games due to a severe concussion and its aftermath. So I have sympathy for Crosby being fed up, though I don't condone his body language and general "let's get this over with" performance in this year's playoffs. As the team captain, his failure of leadership was the key reason for the debacle against the Rangers.

    Mario Lemieux always hated the rough parts of the sport and wanted the Penguins to be a "model franchise" that eschewed the rough stuff and won with great offense. But Mario had lots of protectors around him when the Penguins were a dominant team in the first half of the 1990s, and they are still needed today. The Penguins of the last few years have been soft, unaccountable, refused to consistently play a system (if they even had a system), and otherwise have been a "model" country club failure rather than what Lemieux was hoping for.

    Shero was atrocious drafting, and never surrounded Crosby and Malkin with high-caliber wingers. The fans were disgusted when Bylsma and Shero were retained after last year's sweep by Boston -- which followed their implosion in the first round against the Flyers the year before, which followed them blowing a 3 games to 1 lead against Tampa the year before that, which followed squandering a 3 games to 2 lead over Montreal the year before that when they were defending Cup champions. If there isn't a clear commitment made to constructing a team that can contend in the nitty gritty of the playoffs again rather than one that looks great during the regular season making sweet passes and picturesque goals but crumples once the real games begin, the fans will turn on the organization in a big way.
     
  7. Fortitud3

    Fortitud3 Guru

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    You are exaggerating.

    There was Staal incident and that was all and Crosby was perfectly fine.

    All those are just pathetic excuses. Should go back in history and remember how Messier was a a-hole who stirred stuff up in the playoffs. He won a lot of Cups. Then theres Lindros the power forward who fought, but never won a cup because he got picked on in the playoffs.

    Same goes for Thornton, big guy. Gets picked on in the playoffs.

    Crosby and Malkin are 2 superstars in the cap era who get picked on during the playoffs.
     
  8. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    Of course stars are going to get hit and "picked on"; my point was that Crosby didn't have a single teammate who would stand up for him, that's one of the big problems with the make-up of the Penguins.

    And I didn't "exaggerate" anything -- Staal clubbed Crosby on the head from behind several times along with cross-checking him, and Dubinsky of the Blue Jackets mauled Crosby the entire previous series, as did other players. Try to read and comprehend someone's post before criticizing it.
     
  9. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    The Kings were very strong knocking off the Ducks in Game 7, setting up what should be a tremendous series against the Blackhawks. The defending champs against the 2012 champs. The winner should be a prohibitive favorite over the survivor of the Montreal-New York series.

    Great scene after this game as the Ducks, the Kings and the fans all saluted Teemu Selanne, who played his final game at the age of 43 and ends his career with 684 goals scored.
     
  10. PamelaOC

    PamelaOC Banned

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    I will miss watching Selanne, as a hometown hero and as an opponent.
     
  11. BoxingSpecialist2

    BoxingSpecialist2 Mentor

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    Currently, I live in Toronto. But when I was younger I lived in Montreal so because of that Ive always been a Habs supporter. Montreal last won the Cup in 1993, and the city is buzzing that the Habs are in the final 4. Its unfortunate that 1 of the Habs' players is black and it would be better with an all-white team to support. As a kid I grew up in Montreal in the late 90's and my favourite player was Saku Koivu. Those were tough times to be a Habs fan, because we always missed playoffs.
     
  12. BoxingSpecialist2

    BoxingSpecialist2 Mentor

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    Agreed, Selanne has always been a tremendous talent. I can remember him playing excellent hockey in the 90's, and he's still doing it 20+ years later. He was terrific for Finland in Sochi this year.
     
  13. Matra2

    Matra2 Master

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    The momentum of the playoffs has been lost due to a stupid schedule. They've had too many two day breaks between games all to suit NBC.
     
  14. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    The Kings-Blackhawks series is very enjoyable to watch. The Kings have really turned it on the past two games and will try to take command at 3-1 by winning tonight. They have size and enough skill combined with relentless effort to make beating them very difficult.

    Looks like the Rangers' magical run will continue to the finals, but I think L.A. or Chicago takes them in four or five games, though Lundquist may make it a competitive series as he's been outstanding all through the playoffs thus far.
     
  15. Fortitud3

    Fortitud3 Guru

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    With Montreal out, the NHL dodges a scheduling blunder. If it was Montreal and LA, Game 2 would be in Montreal the same day as the Canadian GP.
     
  16. Average American

    Average American Mentor

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    Good times in Gotham..
    And I agree about Lundqvist. To me, he's been the most significant story of the playoffs. NBC commented last night, Lundqvist has only given up a total 2 goals in the Rangers' 3 combined series-finale' games (1 against Philly, 1 vs. Pittsburgh, and a relatively light workout in shutting out Montreal last night).

    I'm rooting for NY, but thinking both LA or Chicago will get a lot more offensive pressure on net than the East could.. My caste football predictions & prognostications are often wrong tho.. Any other thoughts on how Lundqvist & NY will do (?)
     
  17. Matra2

    Matra2 Master

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    The GP is in the afternoon while the hockey should be at night. I think Montreal is big enough to handle two events on the same day though if the Habs had been in the final the GP would've been completely overshadowed.
     
  18. Freethinker

    Freethinker Hall of Famer

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    Well to my knowledge, I'm the only Rangers fan on the board so I'll have to cheers myself after the victory last night. :beer:

    Lundqvist has absolutely been the catalyst for the Rangers during their improbable playoff run. This is probably the best stretch of hockey he's played in his career. Martin St. Louis has also been instrumental to the teams success. I was admittedly skeptical when the Rangers traded heart & soul of the team, Ryan Callahan, for Marty but it's paid off. As I mentioned previously, the team seemed to get a mental boost after Marty's mother unexpectedly passed. They looked dead in the water to the Penguins before this.

    Another cool (or cheesy feel-good story, depending how you look at it) is that Dominic Moore, the game winning goal scorer, did not even play hockey last year. He took the year off to mourn the death of his wife who tragically passed from liver cancer. Seeing how the cards are aligning for this team, I'll predict Rangers in 6 no matter who wins the west. Sure, either opponent will have the talent advantage and will be favored but how can you bet against the Rangers and Lundqvist right now?
     
  19. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    The Rangers looked tremendous last night, especially in the third period. It was a 1-0 game, yet Montreal could mount no offense in the final period when it was do or die. New York just smothered them with speed and outstanding defense. They wore the Canadiens out; Subban in particular was slow as molasses toward the end with Rangers skating circles around him like he was wading in cement.

    I predict Los Angeles will likewise close out Chicago in Game 6 tonight, then go on to beat the Rangers in five or six games. Jonathan Quick is the equal of Lundqvist and the Kings have the size and skill to wear down the speedy but smallish Rangers, but New York has been underestimated the entire playoffs and it should make for compelling, can't miss hockey.
     
  20. Don Wassall

    Don Wassall Administrator Staff Member

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    The Blackhawks come from behind late to force a Game 7 Sunday night in Chicago. Even an old schooler like Mike Milbury says this is the best playoff series he's ever watched. Two great teams going toe to toe, it's been highly entertaining not to mention showcasing skill, stamina and athleticism at the highest level.
     
  21. Liverlips

    Liverlips Hall of Famer

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    Rangers v. Blackhawks would pull crazy TV ratings.
     
  22. PamelaOC

    PamelaOC Banned

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    As would Kings vs. Rangers.
     
  23. Westside

    Westside Hall of Famer

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    :clap2:
     
  24. Westside

    Westside Hall of Famer

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    :hail:KINGS!:hail:
     
  25. BeyondFedUp

    BeyondFedUp Master

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    Bad start, good ending for Game 1 for those of us wanting a Kings Cup again. They looked better late, but better late than never...
    This might be a very close series.
     

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