The frowns started in Michigan back on Friday when the ‘young guns’ of the Nashville Predators sent the ‘old farts’ of the Detroit Red Wings a-packin’ in just 5 games. A team that just four years ago won Lord Stanley’s Cup was eliminated in the first round by newcomers to this whole “winning in the playoffs” thing. It really got me thinking about the Wings; there will be a time when the Red Wings do notmake the playoffs. Weird right?! It’s been since the days of Adam Oates and a young Steve Yzerman that Detroit was last thought as one of those “other teams” in the Western Conference and not a formidable cup contender. I’m sorry Wings fans, but I can’t say I’m sad to see your days of dominance come to an end. Give someone else a try for once, c’mon.
With the end of that first playoff series one of the best traditions in hockey was witnessed for the first time since last June; the handshake. Imagine what it’s like working your guts out against another person, trying to beat them no matter what for a week or two, then having to look into their eyes and shake their hand once it’s decided one team is better than the other. You can’t find such a tremendous display of humility and sportsmanship like this at the end of a grueling series in any other sport! Regardless of whether you’re the winner or loser, it’s probably pretty weird, although I’m sure the winners have a much better time at these end of game gatherings.
That’s how it all began, and next we said goodbye to San Jose Sharks. Not a real shocker in the moment, but if someone had told you in the beginning of the season that the 7th seeded Sharks were going to get eliminated in 5 games in the first round by the 2nd seeded St. Louis Blues, you’d be all like, “saayy whaatt?!”
We then said goodbye to the Vancouver Canucks and that was a real shocker. It’s pretty hard to believe that the President’s Trophy winner and former Western Conference Champions would lose so decisively to the 8th seeded Kings, but that’s what’s so great about the playoffs, you never know what’s going to happen! Raffi Torres could get suspended 25 games!
The beloved Pittsburgh Penguins were sent home by the evil Philadelphia Flyers. A lot of people picked these Pens to go on another Stanley Cup run but they were simply out-played by the Flyers and didn’t really deserve to win. All we can hope for now is that the Rangers can be the Senators in tonight’s game 7…which brings me to my next point: Game 7’s!! We’ll have three of these babies in the East this year! The division winners have all had their hands full with the bottom of conference playoff barrel, but we’ll know what the second round match-ups are by the end of Thursday.
Mike Smith really bailed out the Phoenix Coyotes in their series with the Chicago Blackhawks. Without him they would be toast, but with his goose egg performance the Quarterfinal match-ups are set in stone in the West: Blues-Kings and Coyotes-Predators. One of these four will represent the West in the Cup Final, who are you rooting for?
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