Weekend Links: Let The Fun Begin

Around The Score offices, I made no secret of my hatred of the Devils/Panthers series. Sure, it went seven games. Sure, game 7 went to double overtime. Don’t care, hated it. I probably don’t have any rational reason for hating it so much (I rarely do), other than the fact I was kind of bored, but I do know that as soon as it ended my dislike changed to excitement for what was going to come next.

This Devils/Flyers series is going to be awesome. Really awesome. I’m excited and, if you like hockey, you should be too. Without further ado, here are five reasons why this series is going to be a whole bunch of fun.

1. Ilya Bryzgalov – It’s hard for me to hide my love for this man. I don’t particularly care for how he plays the game, because half the time he doesn’t play it very well, and he did kind of sink my fantasy team this year but man…just listen to the guy. Other than Nyjer Morgan, I don’t think there’s any athlete I enjoy hearing talk more. He’s like some sort of mix between Mike Tyson, that Zaza Pachulia interview and Jose Canseco’s Twitter except without all the bullshit. I don’t care how he plays, I just want to hear his press conferences. And you should too.

2. Martin Brodeur – So, yeah, let’s look across the ice for a moment, shall we? It’s impossible not to like Martin Brodeur. I’ve never been a fan of much about the Devils as a team (save for David Puddy) but Brodeur kind of transcends that. Yeah, he kind of shit the bed in the 2010 Olympics but I’ll never forget his performance in Salt Lake City. And, I mean, he’s Martin Brodeur, you could make the argument that he’s the best goalie of all time (another argument for another column). He’s only got so many shots at the title left, I mean, it wouldn’t shock me if this is his last run. He’s a free agent after this year and if he signs elsewhere well…that’ll just be weird.

3. Claude Giroux – So Claude Giroux is good. Like, really good. He’s so good he’s even started up debate on the Internets asking if he’s the best player in the world (he’s not but whatever). He pretty much single handedly dominated the Penguins, though scoring on Marc-Andre Fleury was not exactly the hardest of feats, and he showed in the regular season that he’s not just a guy who shows up in the clutch. Now he’s going against Brodeur? All I want in this series is to see a penalty shot – Giroux vs. Brodeur. That probably won’t happen but it’d be amazing if it did.

4. The Fans – The Flyers and Devils play just 89.8 miles away from each other and lack of distance makes for a rivalry, or so the story goes. The Battle of the New Jersey Turnpike, it’s called, because, sure, why not? Flyers fans are notorious for being…how should I put this…loud is the nicest word I can think of. Devils fans know their hockey and aren’t exactly the kind to stay in their seats when the action starts. I’m excited for some weird signs.

5. Just Good Hockey – These two teams both have, sometimes, great goaltending, solid defensive corps and forwards who can score while also knocking you on your ass. Before the playoffs started there was lots of talk about how whoever got out of the Penguins/Flyers series will be so beat up they’ll be hard pressed to do anything in round two. I think this is going to be that series. I see at least three overtime games in our future. Flyers in 6.

Links To The Past

  • Oh, hey, there was a bunch of hockey played yesterday. Here’s who did their jobs pretty well. (Puck Daddy)
  • Remember when Jordan Eberle was pretty much the clutchest player who ever clutched in the World Juniors? Well, in international play, he still is. (Toronto Star)
  • Is Braden Holtby the new Ken Dryden? (No.) Either way, he’s pretty damn good. (The Hockey News)
  • Remember that Ovechkin guy? The Capitals kind of need him if they’re going to have a shot against the Rangers (ESPN)
  • Toronto won a playoff series! Oh…it’s the Marlies. Well, shouldn’t that mean the Leafs will be good soon? Maybe? (The Leafs Nation)
  • The Philadelphia Flyers want to show that the old adage of “defense wins championships” doesn’t apply to them. If Bryzgalov plays like he did in the first round, they might not have a choice. (Philly.com)
  • Matt Greene is slow. And kind of hilarious. (LA Times)
  • They may be an 8 seed, but the Blues are going to have all sorts of problems with the Kings. (STLToday)
  • Oh, NHL…no. You were doing so well, too.