By now you know the story. The Toronto Maple Leafs surged out to a 4-1 lead against the Bruins in Boston in the third period of Game 7. Their stars had answered the bell in the biggest game of their young careers. Kessel from Kadri, Kadri from Kessel, the scoresheet showed Gardiner, it showed van Riemsdyk.
And then hockey happened. It all came undone.
For fans, a three-goal lead is enough to talk to one another comfortably. It’s enough to laugh, it’s enough to text, it’s enough for most people to get up and go pee and miss a minute of the game. But when the lead was cut to two by Nathan Horton with ten minutes left, it was time to quiet down and pay attention again. Too much time, not enough of a cushion. The stress-factor was reintroduced. Read the rest of this entry »
When the bells rang out in Nassau Coliseum to indicate that it was six-past-Fleury on Tuesday night, a very real question starting surfacing around the hockey world: who in the hell do the Penguins start in Game 5?
The above video is being passed around the hockey interwebz this morning from the end of yesterday’s Islanders/Penguins game. There was a melee around the final buzzer, and a linesman, trying to get around Kris Letang, makes some minor contact with him. An annoyed Letang tries to put his stick on the liney – who he clearly knows is a liney, by the way – and give him a little shove. It comes off as Letang trying to crosscheck an official.
I’m well aware that it’s not cool to make contact with an official in any way, but stripped of it’s context – the crazy energy of that game, fights just starting, the contact between them and all – the play looks a lot worse than it is. I’m pretty sure this is the last we’ll hear of this. If not…yikes.
This may not be the case for all hockey fans out there, but when I turn on the TV to watch a hockey game, my enjoyment of said game is affected by the uniforms being worn, the way they work together, and how they work with the crowd around them. I can barely watch the Panthers, for example, regardless of opponent.
A couple simple things matter:
* Contrast: for example, Oilers/Flames is going to be better than Senators (white/red/black)/Hurricanes (white/red/black).
* Simplicity: Clean, two-coloured jersey matchups – say Red Wings/Leafs – is going to be better than busy, multi-colour jersey matchups – say Florida/Colorado or something. (Guh, the thought of that.)
We all have our personal preferences – for me, I find red-on-red matchups less pleasurable than cooler colours. So we might not agree entirely on the order of the list below, but that’s only because you probably have bad taste and I don’t.
Without any further ado, here are this year’s eight playoff match-ups, ranked by jersey aesthetics. Obviously it differs depending on which team is home or away, so take the rankings to mean a general take on any combination of the main uniforms: Read the rest of this entry »
I didn’t come across too many people saying it last night, but there were definitely those that were sharing their thought that Eric Gryba should’ve recognized a vulnerable Lars Eller and let up. I’m not exactly sure what “let up” means, but assume it means something along the lines of “sidestep a player and let him start an odd-man rush.” Maybe it means wrap him up with a bear hug and take a penalty. …You can probably guess the stance I’m going to take here. Read the rest of this entry »
I feel like I’ve already read threedifferentpost-mortems on the Toronto Maple Leafs already this postseason, each piece a different account of a central theme: the Toronto Maple Leafs got crushed in Game 1 because they were due for a loss or two. No way could the wins keep coming they way they were in the regular season. The real Leafs are the ones we saw get crushed 4-1 by the Bruins.
That part is true, I guess. The most confident series’ predictions I made were Chicago and Boston advancing, but I don’t think that a poor performance in Game 1 is indicative of how the rest of the series will flesh out. Yes, the shots were 40-20 for the Bruins. Yes, overall shot attempts were 71-33, which is absolutely insane. Yes, I had the scoring chances at 24-9 for Boston.
So by no measure were the Maple Leafs fit to compete in Game 1. They were simply out-matched, and they will likely be out-matched for the remainder of the series. But that doesn’t ever mean it’s over. The playoffs are the equalizer. No matter how many wins you got in the regular season, you need to win 16 of your next 28 games, and in the proper order, otherwise you’re going home.
I’m proud to announce that this is my first full year as a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, which means I’m one of the folks who has the privilege of voting on the annual NHL awards. I’m taking the responsibility seriously, as the awards can actually affect people’s lives (particularly in a financial matter), and most certainly affect the historical record of our game.
I feel like the goal of award voting is not to prove yourself some unique, high-minded viewer of the game, but to simply award the trophies to players who legitimately earned them during the given season. That means where there’s obvious answers, you take them, and don’t try to get too cute with it. And of course, having stats to back up your opinions is pretty key.