The Opossum-Palooza

It's okay. We don't know what the name means either.

5.03.2006

NHL Playoffs

So far the NHL playoffs have offered excitement (and minor penalties) at a level not recently seen in the sport's premier tournament.

At least, I'm assuming as much. For me to actually find time to watch the games would simply be to easy. Instead, I've managed to catch very little of anything, but that's not going to stop me from reviewing the now (nearly) completed first round, by taking a look at the points I raised back before it all started.

1) Enforcement - As near as I can tell, penalties seem to be way up. Perhaps too much. It seems, as I've noted before, like officials are almost eager to find an excuse to send a guy to the box. Sometimes, their reasoning is *ahem* suspect. (Not that Don Koharski would ever make a mistake.)

2) Coverage - Like I said, I haven't had many opportunities to catch these playoffs, but from what I've seen, OLN is a huge improvement over ESPN/ABC. If only for the fact that there has been a game on when I get home at 11:30 PM every single night. In the days of ESPN/ABC, virtually none of the first few rounds were nationally televised, and the fact that I could be watching Detroit-Edmonton (if I didn't need so badly to sleep) is very comforting.

3) Young guys - Henrik Lundqvist is out, but he played really well. San Jose and Carolina have both advanced on the strength of unproven commodities, while Anaheim has gotten remarkably strong play from Ilya Bryzgalov.

4) Old guys - The Red Wings are out. With them go Steve Yzerman and Chris Chelios.

5) Shootout - Dallas lost three games in OT against Colorado. Given their proficiency in the shootout during the regular season, one must assume that these are games they would have had a significantly better chance of winning if the shootout had been in place. Granted, the first two losses came via Avalanche goals in the first five minutes of OT, which would have been a loss during the regular season as well, but not having that safety net at the end of five has to have had an effect on Dallas' play.

Here's hoping that the last two periods of Anaheim-Calgary are as exciting as I hope they'll be. Potential Live-blogging to follow..

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