Anyone who has spent an afternoon at the track (or watched a horse race at say the OTB or of course on the Score Television network), has heard those words many times. It basically means “the finish line is right there, so make your move now”. Like any good degenerate gambler, I have spent an afternoon or two at the track (I actually worked as a camera man for a while at Fort Erie racetrack. The only problem was because I was an employee, I could not bet. That’s like unleashing a kid in a candy store and telling him he can’t touch a thing). Most teams  have about 10 games left, so if the NHL regular season was a race, we would be hearing the announcer say those 6 words right about now. Since I can’t control the finish of a race in real life (or predict it very well either!), I figured I would use this post to do just that. Here are the five calls I would love to hear if this season was a horse race (yes I have taken the liberty of giving the following teams/players horse names) .

Coming around the corner and “I Swear Gaa” is making a charge.

We have spent much of this season (and last) ripping on Alexander Ovechkin, and its been with good reason. Everyone wants to know why he just hasn’t been his dominating self, you don’t just forget how to score! Right now Washington holds the 8th and final playoff spot in the east and I would love nothing more than Ovechkin to enter the playoffs on fire. He has 3 goals in his last 3 games and if he heats up and the Caps get into the playoffs, they could easily make a run.

It’s “Shooting Stammer” and “Russian Geno” neck and neck at the wire…and it’s Shooting Stammer by a nose.

I have nothing against Evgeni Malkin and the guy has had a great season, but he is playing on the hottest team in hockey, he already has an Art Ross and they just got the game’s best player back.  Steven Stamkos on the other hand is playing on one of the biggest disappointments of the season, and still pulling his weight. Last season he got off to a great start and faltered in the homestretch. He worked hard in the off-season with trainer Gary Roberts (another horse reference, wasn’t even trying for that one), and it is showing. I would love to see him win the scoring race.

“March of the Penguins” crosses the line in 4th while “Broad Street Universe” right behind them in 5th

If this happens in the eastern conference, it will be the series I will not miss one minute of in the first round. Yesterday’s game was another great match-up and these two teams (and their fans) clearly don’t like each other. Two hot goalies, tons of firepower, and overtime as a real possibility in every game, I’ll take it.

“Kings Ransom” comes across in 8th

I want the Kings to make the playoffs for one reason: Jonathan Quick. His season can only be defined as unfair. 7 shutouts, a GAA of 2.00, three 1-0 losses, and eight 2-1 losses, and the team is battling to go to the dance. Let’s give him some kind of reward because his teammates (who sit 28th in the NHL in scoring), have done nothing to help him out. .

And after flying out of the gate, the “Leaf Blowers” cause many to rip up their tickets

This one already happened. I’m going to cash my ticket!


Let’s head to the links

Looks like Radulov is all but back with the Preds (Pro Hockey talk)

18 straight wins…now that’s impressive! (Puck Daddy)

This just caps off an amazing turnaround season for Matt Cooke. I will be the first to admit that I NEVER thought this would be possible, but Cooke has earned the  Pittsburgh Penguins nomination for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy (Dirty Dangle)

Katie Baker talks about how Marc-Andre Fleury haunts John Mitchell’s dreams (Grantland)

Down Goes Brown looks at the history of  the 50 goal season in only a way he can.

Bigger Pads= more saves: Seems simple enough, right Steve Mason? (The Sporting News)

Kevin Dineen just can’t watch (The Rat Trick)

The Atlantic race will come right down to the wire (Blue Shirt Banter)

This is Part 1 of Winnipeg Whiteout’s look at what will happen if the Winnipeg Jets make or miss out on the post season.

And remember when Ovi used to do this every game?