3-0, 3-0, 3-0, 2-1

Ottawa not so Sensational.

It’s not Duck season in Colorado.

Devils may blame an organization for their losing.

California’s unfriendliness with Oil.So, the “almost” summer season ended here in Florida, and now I got a good amount of time to make you guys read. You youngins out there who have those pain in the neck teachers who want you to read in the summer, this is the place! Although it’s not quite summer up there in Canada yet, is it?

Anyway, the Senators are different than previous post-seasons, and I’ll tell you why. The Sabres seems as good as they were in their hot streaks during the regular season, and there is a reason for that. The Ducks youth is killing the Avs. The Devils seem dazed and cofused, but I still say they will win. And, the Sharks screw it up! Edmonton went out of its way to win Game 3.

The not so SENSational team has been Ottawa. So, what is wrong with this team? First of all, I liked how Don Cherry described Daniel Alfredsson. NOT INTERESTED!. Except, it’s not just him, the whole team is! These guys got so dependant on their offensive skills throughout the season that they can’t figure out how to play playoff hockey. It’s not the same as regular season. So, they are playing like the usual playoff chokers. Wait, are they?

I do not think so. I just think they are getting beat. I remember their previous playoff losses with Martins as coach, they lost because they struggled…because they were still a young learning team. Because they did not handle the pressure of last minutes of survival. At least, I remember them trying to win. I remember the Senators of years past where they ended up in Game 7’s. But this year? They are playing like a bunch of sloths; and, speaking of which, is it me or does Bryan Murray sound like the sloth from Ice Age, sometimes? And what is with that face! Get some personality. For crying out loud man! Your team was going down 3-0 and he looks like he is about to cry. As if he is a little kid whose ice cream fell off the cone.

Going back to the players. It’s like they are playing as if they have never played Buffalo before. You cannot be serious. They are division rivals, yet they cannot figure out a way to beat them. They look surprised every time the Sabres skate hard with their usual high speed. These guys are fast and they are swirming all over the place. Ottawa’s defense? Terrible.

Please, don’t blame Ray Emery. He is no Cam Ward, no Ilya Bryzgalov, he is Ray Emery, not expected to be a real starting goalie. Blame the defense that is playing like total crap. What is up with the turnovers? They are even a danger when playing the points on the PP. Blame the offense. Come on, they are playing against an excellent goalie in Ryan Miller, but Buffalo’s defense is also doing a great job on the big Ottawa scorers.

Blame the coach! Bryan Murray can’t get his defense working right. He can’t get the offense to flourish. What can he do? Personally, I don’t even think he did much of anything. At this point, try to play a trap-like system to slow down the Sabres offense. It’s what Martins would have tried, and could have worked. So much for thinking Martins was the reason why the Senators could not have moved on. Well, they look much worse now than before. That’s why they are a different team now. There is no different tactic applied for the Senators. They played the same game and guess what? It’s not working.

Why is Buffalo playing so well, even with their injuries? First of all, I was wrong about Lindy Ruff all the way. I thought he was never going to succceed with the new rules as he has always played a defensive game. But, he is letting his forwards take all the chances. They are playing a very simplistic style of game, keeping all the plays simple. No fancy passing. They forecheck hard, they hit, they backcheck hard. All the small details that when they are done right eventually the goals come. The Senators? Far from it.

Ottawa just has to win tonight, they cannot get swept. I don’t think they will, they are too good a team to lose a series 4-0. Ottawa will win tonight and if not….well, GM John Muckler has no one to blame but himself for never getting a reliable goaltender after Hasek got hurt.

I’ve jumped on the Ducks wagon here. I’m rooting for them! They are young, fast, and big. Of course, Brian Burke does not deserve to get all the credit. He did not build the team, but he got Carlyle, great coach. He got Selanne back, great year. He traded away salary and this guy Bauchemin comes out of nowhere and becomes a solid defenseman. And, even Sean O’Donnell has been a solid addition. So, after Bryan Murray cowardly left the Ducks in shambles, Anaheim awaits to get into the Western Conference Finals. Colorado can’t match the energy, and the veterans are just not beating the youth. Jose` Theodore has been near-excellent in the series. But he has a sloppy defense in front of him and the offense is not helping him either. Colorado may win tonight, but no chance of winning four in a row. Still, GM Lecroix can look forward to a busy summer and building around Theodore. He’s doing just fine. The Ducks may soon, within the next few years, become one of the better teams in the West. The forwards are young and talented, and wait until Bobby Ryan comes along. This Ducks team will match up well against any team in the playoffs right now.

The Devils ought to blame FEMA. They were not warned that the Hurricanes would be 3-0 in the series. Aside from Game 1, my opinion is that the Devils have been the better team. They beat themselves in all three games. Game 1? Horrible. I wish they would have played like that against the Rangers. Game 2? You just cannot let that happen. With 20 seconds left, the Devils had the chance to win it. Clock is winding down, the Devils get to the puck in their corner, they lose it because the Hurricanes just crash to get the puck. But, there was a battle along the end board from corner to corner and they lost it all. One of the Devils players should have “fallen” on the puck along the boards. It was a battle, they lost it and the Canes got lucky, and later won it in OT. Carolina plays very well when skating inside the Devils zone, but they seem to struggle on defense and in the neutral zone. Somehow the Devils can’t find ways to capitalize more on their chances. I thinnk they will, though. They are not a team that gets swept. The Hurricanes have not really played that much better than the Devils, aside from Game 1. New Jersey will win Game 4 and that will get them on a roll to win three more in a row and win the series. They have the ability to do it. I did say that no one should have thought of the Devils as a great team after they swept the Rangers. That was an easy match up for New Jersey playing an easy team to beat. But, Carolina beat the Canadiens because Koivu was out and Cam Ward played miraculously. It’s an even match up, and it will come down to who gets the bounces and which team plays better defensively. I’ll go with the Devils.

Somehow California always had issues with oil and gas prices, and now they got Edmonton adding more problems to San Jose. The Sharks did not deserve to win Game 3. They played well, but not well enough to win. They allowed the Oilers to play beyond their capabilities and lost in tripple OT. I don’t think this will change this series all that much, but the Sharks gave Edmonton a spark. If the Oilers win Game 4, then the Sharks will face problems. But, San Jose should go back to their game, and start pounding the Oiler’s net with offense. The Sharks are the away team. They have to start hitting and playing fast with aggressiveness from the moment the puck drops and the clock hits 19:59 of the 1st period. Throw the Oilers off their game by making them take penalties. Edmonton is in “crash and bang” mode and playing aggressively. If Nemo (I miss the guy on the Rangers) gets on his annoying game, then the Oilers are bound to make mistakes. Look at what Ryan Smyth is doing, crasing the net. Trying to throw Toskala off his game. Get Neiminen to do that on Roloson.

This is one of the most aggressive post-seasons I have ever seen. These eight teams are spilling a lot of bad blood on the ice, and I’m loving it!

And by the way, NBC and OLN get two thumbs up. Much better coverage on hockey. OLN shows devotion to the NHL by showing the Legends of Hockey episodes, really well done. I like it, and I hope OLN keeps up the good work for next season. I much rather have a channel that gives its time to hockey, though lesser ratings and lesser poplarity, instead of a national channel (ESPN), that cuts off games.

Enjoy playoffs hockey!

Micki Peroni