Announcement: I was 4-for-4 in my NHL Playoffs Western Conference predictions. The teams that have moved on include the Vancouver Canucks, Nashville Predators, Detroit Red Wings, and San Jose Sharks.
After the whirlwind of excitement that was the NHL Playoffs Western Conference quarterfinals round, which included an unbelievable game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks, we’re set with the semi-finals match-ups beginning tonight with…
The Western Conference probably had the most exciting close to the regular season in terms of undecided NHL playoff implications. The field is tight. However, the field is led by this year’s runaway powerhouse – the Vancouver Canucks. Here’s the quick-and-dirty look at the Western Conference Round 1 match-ups for the 2011 NHL Playoffs.
#1 Seed Vancouver hosting the #8 Seed Chicago Blackhawks
While the defending Stanley Cup Champions from 2010, this team is a far cry from the Chicago Blackhawks from last year. And, they’re about to insert their collective heads into hockey’s equivalent of a wood chipper in the Vancouver Canucks. Wholesale changes have doomed the Blackhawks to a likely quick and embarrassing exit from this round of the playoffs. Long gone are Stanley Cup impact players including Annti Niemi, Dustin Byfuglien, and Andrew Ladd. You can’t jettison that many players from a Stanley Cup crew and expect to make your way back there the following year.
Vancouver was like a runaway freight train en route to the President’s Trophy for 2011 for the best record in the entire NHL with 56 wins. The Canucks don’t appear to have a single “chink” in their proverbial armor. Best in scoring, best in defense, best powerplay. They would have scored the “quadrifecta” if not for finishing a mere third in penalty-killing. If this isn’t an embarrassing broom-fest, I’ll be shocked.
Yeah, I know our NHL coverage has been, well, sparse, to put it mildly, but that doesn’t mean the NHL Playoffs aren’t always enjoyable sports-watching, especially in overtime situations. No, I suppose I fall onto the “out of sight, out of mind” side of the fence, and yes, that’s meant as an indictment of Versus. Sure, they broadcast in hi-def and their coverage does get viewers, but I’ve allowed myself to be brainwashed by ESPN. Maybe my response to NHL Playoffs will change if the two entities partner up again.
Mea culpas aside, one thing’s pretty clear: If you are a fan of the about-to-be-bounced-out-of-the-playoff Nashville Predators and your are near the Chicago Blackhawks’ penalty box with Duncan Keith inside, leave the enemy combatants alone, or else you might wind up getting sprayed. Granted, the penalty box is surrounded by glass, but that didn’t stop the fan in the video from flinching so severely, his arm would’ve been covered with black-and-blue bruises if he was playing the “two for flinching” game.
Unfortunately, Mr Heckler’s efforts didn’t help his team either. The Blackhawks closed out the Predators by winning last night’s game, 5-3.