In the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, four of the eight series went to seven games. Two others finished in six games. 12 games went into overtime and two series were won on overtime goals. Only the Detroit Red Wings and the Washington Capitals finished their series in five games or less. It was quite a round!
In this round? Not so much.
The Capitals were swept by Tampa Bay yesterday. The Sharks and Bruins are up 3-0 in their respective series against the Red Wings and the Flyers. There is only one series – Nashville/Vancouver – where both teams have won games. Is the competitiveness gone from the Stanley Cup playoffs?
That depends on what you mean by “competitiveness.” There have still been six overtime games during these playoffs, and those are always a fight. Detroit may be down 3-0, but they could have been up 2-1 if they had scored two more goals.
Of course, they didn’t and now we’re left with a very short round. Three sweeps in the second round is pretty unheard of, but that may be what we’re faced with shortly.
Does that mean this is, in the words of the Comic Book Guy, the “Worst. Second Round. Ever?” Some people certainly think so.
“With three of the four conference semi-finals matchups looking like they could end in a sweep, it would be awfully nice if we could just skip to the next round and avoid the inevitable.” – Randy Holt of Desert Dirt
“Hopefully, this round will get a bit more interesting soon. Some of the individual games have been pretty interesting, but sweeps are never very entertaining overall.” – Press Box Perspective
“After the first round of the playoffs was so wonderful and exciting, it just makes sense that the second round would turn into a complete bore. One sweep, two other series that could be sweeps, and Vancouver playing Nashville. Making things less boring, Caps failure, Flyers goaltending, and the Sharks playing like superstars” – The Blood, Sweat & Hitting
These playoffs are also quickly becoming a problem for television networks as well. With the Penguins, Blackhawks, Rangers and Capitals out and the Red Wings and Flyers on life support, the executives at NBC must be starting to sweat. They’re also probably starting to buy Bruins jerseys. Who will play on Sunday afternoon if all of those teams are gone? Casual fans who only watch hockey on NBC probably haven’t even heard of any other teams.
If the Canucks lose as well, what will Canadian TV do? Will Steven Stamkos become our de facto Canadian hero?
As exciting as it might be, a Tampa Bay/Nashville final will not break ratings records on either side of the border. It’s a good thing that the league signed that big TV deal before we ended up in this situation.
Maybe things will change. Maybe we’ll see a thrilling seven game series between the Canucks and the Predators that will keep us stuck on our couches and glued to our televisions. Maybe the Flyers have the Bruins right where they want them. Maybe the Sharks will find a new way to choke this year.
Or maybe the third round is going to start pretty shortly. At least that means it might not be mid-June when they hand out the Cup.