The Opossum-Palooza

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

5.17.2006

Round 2 Round Up

Once again, I send you back to my playoff preview post (alliteration, heh) to help you understand what I'm talking about.

1) Enforcement: I feel like the officials have finally found a good balance. There have been an inordinate number of goaltender interference calls, but overall it seems like they are doing just enough to keep the flow of play at a new-NHL brisk pace, but without going overboard on the interference and obstruction calls. Some of this, I imagine, can be ascribed to the players' adapting to the way the refs have been calling it. Edmonton-San Jose was exactly the kind of playoff series I was afraid I might never see again in "myNHL".

2) OLN/NBC: Just keeps getting better. Hijacking the CBC feed for Edmonton games is the best thing to happen to ice hockey on TV in America since Fox stopped airing games.

3) Young guys: I had expressed some concern over the boom of young, inexperienced goaltenders coming into the playoffs. I even used goaltending experience as my criteria for picking the Finals, going with the two most battle-tested goalies in the bunch, Martin Brodeur and Mikka Kiprusoff. I am, apparently, not so good at the prognosticating. The four goalies still standing had a combined 16 playoff appearances between them. Which is a misleading stat, since all of those appearances belong to Dwayne Roloson of the Oilers (my new favorite to win it all, by the way).

4) Old guys: Are mostly gone at this point. The formula that is having alot of success is one or two older veteran guys (Rod Brind'amour in Carolina, Teemu Selanne in Anaheim) surrounded by younger, speedier guys. Teams centered around a large core of veteran stars, like the Avalanche, are already playing golf.

5) Shootout: Nevermind.

I think it interesting to note that if you went out on the street and asked a random person to name every active professional hockey player they could, you would be hard pressed to get someone to say the name of a player still alive in the playoffs. Even if you happened to stumble across a reasonably knowledgable hockey fan. The only player left with any sort of name recognition at all is Teemu Selanne. Unless you're any sort of hockey fan at all, then you've got Michael Peca and Chris Pronger in Edmonton and Brind'amour in Carolina, and even those guys wouldn't be anywhere near the top of my head if I was naming active players. Aside from that, it is all new faces, playing for teams from non-traditional markets and/or Canada, and I have to imagine the ratings for the next two rounds are going to suffer pretty heavily because of it. Not that I care about TV ratings.

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