HTR Talk, Playoffs Hockey **UPDATED**

Good day hockey fans, it’s a nice Sunday as a we got a bunch of hockey talk to discuss.

First, some HockeyTradeRumors.com talk. Which fans are so dedicated and just a note for members submitting articles.

Second, playoffs hockey….all the way.So, could a Sunday like today be so interesting? We have two possible elimination games. Right now it is Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils. I have the radio on from NHL.com so we’ll see what happens as I write through this. And………the Callllllllgary Flammmmmes against the Detroit Red Wings. Hmm, this one will be a nice topic for me to discuss as I may irritate some Detroit fans!

HTR.com talk comes first. I want to say that I am so amazed at the dedication of Leafs fans. This team has missed the playoffs two years in a row and you would think that Leafs fans would contribute less, yet they keep submitting articles. I enjoy that, I really do. The content of the articles may be a little out of the realm of reality, and some are quite a laugh to read. But Leafs fans, despite driving other fans nuts, are so dedicated to their team and passion is what I respect. I think more fans of other teams should show as much dedication. Of course, we cannot post a total of seven Toronto Maple Leafs articles on what they should do, yes that was the exact number I just read since this morning, when it’s playoffs hockey and the team is not in the playoffs. So….my message to Leafs fans out there who love talking Leafs hockey, and I like to as well, is to be patient. I know you guys want to see your team make the right moves and tell other fans what you think, and we’re all about that here at HockeyTradeRumors.com, but now is not the time. Do not be disappointed to see your article not being posted if it is about the Toronto Maple Leafs. What I suggest is that you write articles, as many as you want, and save them on your computer. Once the playoffs are over, then give us your best article and we will take a good look at it.

Now, away from Leafs fans and on to the other fans. Yes, last night was brutal in Detroit and yes…a lot of Wings fans are quite upset. And, I just saw five Fans Rants articles, more like short passages really, on the events last night. As much as I like to see passion from Wings fans, which I feel is lacking here on HTR, we also cannot post all of those rants. So….do not be disappointed in that either. We have an article on that topic and post your rants there.

In the end, all I want to say to you HTR members is to be patient with submitting articles. Right now it’s playoffs hockey and the playoff teams get the most coverage, even the Pittsburgh Penguins, who got eliminated. Playoff teams deserve to get the coverage. I can tell some of you are impatient because I noticed a couple of articles, and not the first time this happens, that get re-submitted. I believe HTR member malkin_71 wrote a short piece on the NHL Draft. We will get it out there once the playoffs are over. So, to everyone else….be patient. Save your articles on your PCs, or Apples, and when the playoffs are kaput, then we will take them and read them. Just be patient, please.

By the way, the most elaborated and best written article from a Leafs fans regarding the Maple Leafs was titled: “The Leafs Have One Major Problem”. Now…..reading that title I’d expect something very interesting, worthwhile reading. And man….was it ever interesting and lonnnnnnng to read. Here is what it had: “…..John Ferguson Junior!!!!“. The end. Awesome article there.

PLAYOFFS HOCKEY!

Brought to you buy………..HTR Brewing Company. Please drink irresponsibly.

No, I am kidding about that! Never do that, of course. It would be cool if we had our own beer though.

Anyway, on to playoffs hockey.

Two thumbs up for the New York Rangers. Most likely I would expect them to play against the Buffalo Sabres, and it could be an interesting match-up. Rangers are in the right direction though. Made the playoffs two years in a row, moved on the two second round this year. Youngsters like Ryan Callahan, Brandon Dubinsky, Marcel Hossa, Dan Girardi, and Thomas Pock all showed to be good NHL’ers to have for the next few years. So, there is progress happening in the Big Apple.

Two thumbs of the for the New York Islanders. I think the officials were actually too much in favor of the Buffalo Sabres. I still support GM Garth Snow’s decision to have pulled the Ryan Smyth trade. I know it did not get the team anywhere. I know he gave up a chunk of the future, though I don’t think those young players will be that great. But, it was gutsy and Snow tried to make a strong statement with this franchise. Isle’s fans should be happy to have a gutsy general manager who wants to get this team to win. I think they are in the right hands and even if the Isle’s will lose Ryan Smyth and Jason Blake this year, they can still put together a strong team with solid depth players, put a lot of emphasis on the defense. Obviously Garth Snow should try and trade away Alexei Yashin. Like I suggested before, try to move him to the Washington Capitals. If not, though, then you can only make the best of it. The Islanders cannot shove Alexei Yashin on the third or fourth lines. They have to try to find the right wingers. So, what if Aleksey Morozov could be a good get for Yashin? Try to give him wingers that can elevate his game. Make the best of the situation. But, this Islanders team has an excellent goalie in Rick DiPietro, and with a strong defensive style team under Ted Nolan, the Islanders will become a tough playoff team to beat. Yes, I am a Rangers fan, but a hockey fan first. Two thumbs up for the Islanders.

The Pittsburgh Penguins just got their feet wet. They could use some adjustments, but nothing major to add on this team. Keep it the way it is, add a couple of second tier free agents, solidify the defense and allow it to mature. It is a young team destined for domination and it needs not to be rushed.

Two thumbs up for the San Jose Sharks. They played Nashville extremely well and Peter Forsberg was the best Predator on the ice. The Sharks look a scarier team than they appear to be. Look out West. Two thumbs down for the Predators. What the hell was that? Tomas Vokoun will not get this team anywhere. The defense needs retooling, and if Paul Kariya walks away, they must find a scorer. I have a bad feeling for this team, though, as I think it will struggle next season.

*******DEVILS, 2-1 LEAD********

– You never want to trail when playing against the Devils. Tampa cannot afford to take untimely penalties. Bolts need to keep pressure down low on the Devils end. The Devils need to keep the plays simple and take as many shots on Johan Holmqvist as possible.

Two thumbs down for the Minnesota Wild. Huge disappointment. Yes, the Ducks are a great team, but the Wild should have played with more inspiration and passion. As for the Ducks, extremely dangerous team if it is starting to get back in shape and perform the way they did in the first half of rht eregular season.

What’s going on with the Vancouver Canucks offense? Dallas is not that much better than the Canucks. You can’t give up a 3-1 series lead, it’s embarrassing and extremely counter productive for the team. I really expected the Canucks to play simple hockey with excellent defense and find a way to get the Stars to choke, as they always do. Yet, I still expect the Canucks to advance in the second round.

What happened last night in Detroit was twisted, but entertaining. Why entertaining? Because this is what hockey has. Dirty plays, blood, anger on the ice, and a nasty attitude. Hockey has always had these games before. I know….Detroit fans must be going “WHAT!?” But come on….it was entertaining! As a hockey fan and not a Flames/Wings fan, that was entertaining and what is even more entertaining is that they play tonight, again! I know what Jamie McLennan did was horrible, although not nearly as bad as what Chris Simon did to Ryan Hollweg. But, I’ve seen McLennan play since his Minnesota days.

********TAMPA BAY SCORES, 3-2 Devils********

-This game is just starting to get better. Tampa obviously lacks the needed goaltending, but they are finding ways to score on Martin Brodeur and the Devils defense. Devils need to look out, they are not taking enough shots on Holmqvist, they started to get too many penalties. They need to get out of the 2nd period with a 3-2 lead and play Devils hockey in the third. And that’s the typical lame boring Devils hockey, but hey if it gets them to win then what’s there to argue about?

………As I was saying, McLennan has had a pretty lengthy career and is one of the most likeable players in the NHL. He is funny, huge supporter, great teammate….respectful. A nice guy. So, something must have happened to have really upset McLennan. It’s not like him to do a slash like that, but it had to be because something really got him upset and the Detroit players were absolutely looking for trouble, and asking for it. If a nice guy like McLennan, who has experience, gets that angry…then the Wings were definitely not playing honest hockey out there. Is it excusable? No. McLennan could have gotten more than five games and I think he should have gotten ten, counting next season’s games starting in October.

But let’s see who is to blame here. Jerome Iginla made himself look foolish with that play, yet I’ve rarely seen him to a cheap shot like that as well. And, this guy has playoff experience. Something must have happened that really got on the Flames nerves and I don’t believe it was the score. They lost badly before, it was not Game 7, they were not going to be eliminated. They were not embarrassed on home ice. The Red Wings players must have done something to have triggered all this. Yet, no….I am NOT blaming the Wings either. So, who am I really blaming? The Coach, Jim Playfair. Sorry dude, you have no idea what you are doing behind that bench. You cannot get this team to win on the road. You lost control of your team last night. Please….resign by yourself. Don’t let Sutter fire you, just resign. I thought you were a good coach who couldn’t get the team to follow your plan, but I was wrong. Instead, you are just not a good head coach. You’re probably great as assistant coach, but nothing more. You don’t let your players act like buffoons on the ice like that when the game is nearly over. You just don’t and there is no excuse, or no way of giving the public a good explanation for it. You lost control, it’s your responsibility to keep your players on the same page and stick to the game plan.

Yet…….you have no game plan. I called this series a Game 7 win for the Wings because the Flames can only win on the road. So, I actually expect the Flames to win tonight. If Playfair had any smarts….he would fool Mike Babcokc and the Wings. How? The Wings should expect the Flames to come out angry….energetic, and upbeat. That should force the Wings to play conservative hockey, maybe be very alert on toughness, try to match up Calgary’s physical play and expect it. How can Playfair fool them then? Pretend that’s going to be the game. Pretend that his Flames are ready to beat up the Wings. Get his players to talk, to yap, to try and intimidate. Get his players to crash the net. Get Hasek off his game as he can really lose focus like that at times. Get the Wings to expect that. And yet, the Flames should come out being quick to the puck, forecheck, and score the first two goals. The Flames NEED to score the first two goals of the game in order to win it. Let the Wings wait for the physical play that gives them a different focus to the game. Take advantage of that, keep the game simple, get the pucks on net, crash the net….and get the Wings frustrated by getting Hasek upset.

Will Playfair have enough control over his team to do that? I have little faith in the guy, but I expect the players themselves to win tonight by themselves. Sutter should have done what Lou Lamoriello did, fire Playfair and coach the team for the playoffs. I don’t think Lou has made a difference on the Devils. They are playing the same way really, no big diff. But Sutter would have made that difference.

So yes, Wings fans are upset and disgusted, but don’t think your team played like angels either. I am not defending the Flames, just trying to figure out what alerted them to be so nasty and first to blame is the head coach, second is Iginla (captain has to lead by example –although what he did was almost Messier-ish), third are the rest of the Flames, and fourth…..well……someone on the Wings must have done something to really p-off the Flames.

*****UPDATE*****

The New Jersey Devils have eliminated the Tampa Bay Lightning and win the series 4-2. So the Eastern Conference is set with the Devils facing the Ottawa Senators and the New York Rangers facing the Buffalo Sabres. If you have any thoughts, share them as well. I think the Devils will beat the Senators in six games, 4-2, and the Sabres will win the series against the Rangers 4-1.

Thanks all for reading as always, enjoy Sunday!

Micki Peroni

Vice-Administrator

ps What do you think of my new topic icon of challenging mikster? Like the boxing gloves? Preferred the toy pistol? Or should I change it into something else? Let me know what you think, opinions always appreciated.