With mere hours before one of the most exciting sports events takes place – a Game 7 NHL Playoff Game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres – I’m forced to take a frustrated look at how the Flyers have limped to this point. When I took a look at this series through the rose-colored glasses the Flyers provided me for free about 2-months ago, it was hard to see them losing. However, that’s when what could turn into an epic collapse by a Flyers team that made the NHL Stanley Cup Finals just one year ago (losing to the Chicago Blackhawks).
Posts Tagged ‘Buffalo Sabres’
The Eastern Conference 1st-round of the NHL Playoffs offers me the opportunity to provide a quick-and-dirty review, preview, and prediction. While a painfully long NHL regular season rolls into a painfully long NHL post-season, make no mistake about one thing – I’m a huge fan of all things hockey. I can make it through a lot of hockey en route to the NHL Playoffs and then I’m hard pressed to miss a whole lot of it.
The Eastern Conference
#1 Seed Washington Capitals hosting the #8 Seed New York Rangers
The New York Rangers have enough fire power to hang with the Washington Capitals. Don’t let the difference in seeding fool anyone here. In terms of statistical comparisons, call it a draw. The Rangers scored more goals during the regular season and the difference between them in goals against was exactly one. Defense and goaltending rule the playoffs and these two teams have a near identical showing in each category. Throw the seeds out the window in this contest because they simply confuse the issue. These two teams are about as evenly matched as they get and a Rangers win would be the furthest thing from an “upset” as I will have witnessed in recent years.
Hot Spots: For the Rangers it has to be the 11-shutout goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. For the Capitals, it’s no surprise that it’s Alex Ovechkin that led the Caps to a sizzling close to the regular season as the Flyers fell back to the field.
I don’t see the Capitals choking two seasons in a row and pick them to win this series.
More outdoor hockey please. Such is the plan of the NHL after the success of last season’s Pittsburgh Penguins/Buffalo Sabres outdoor game on New Year’s Day. The event proved to be one of the more popular ideas put on by the NHL since their return from their self-imposed near-death sentence, if not before.
Naturally, Gary Betman and company want to capitalize on NHL’s version of the Ice Bowl and feature more outdoor shenanigans. This time the players are Wrigley Field, the Chicago Blackhawks and the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Detroit Red Wings. While the crowd for the second American NHL Ice Bowl probably won’t surpass Ralph Wilson’s almost-72,000 from last year, you can expect the Chicago/Wrigley Field faithful to be out in absolute force.
It should also be noted Wrigley can hold 41,000-plus Cubs fans and will, in all likelihood, be expanded for the NHL. While I’ve never claimed to be a hockey expert, more outdoor hockey can only be a good thing for the NHL. I watched a little bit of the Pens/Sabres game and you could tell the crowd was having a blast. Any time the fan experience is improved, especially for a sport that’s trying to regain a status it once had, it has to be deemed a good idea.
When you maneuver around a playing field on miniature katanas, there is an inherent risk of getting cut by the very blades that propel you. Such was the case with Florida Panthers forward Richard Zednik during last night’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. In the third period, Zednik was caught in the neck by the skate of teammate Olli Jokinen, when Jokinen was up-ended behind the Sabres’ goal.
As he was being knocked over, Jokinen’s right leg went parallel to the ground and his skate hit Zednik in the throat, slashing it open. Fortunately for Zednik, who is resting peacefully at the Buffalo General Hospital, he was quickly given the proper care he needed and a disastrous fatality was avoided.