I was on the ice when I heard the news. Somehow, without the help of Havlat and Madden, the Wild as icehogst put it, "skated their butts off," and took it to a Dallas team who had to want it more. With that, the Hawks "clinch" the eighth seed. When I heard the news I couldn't help but feel a bit melancholy. I was relieved, but also felt like they didn't deserve it. 97 points should be enough to clinch, and when one game can place you in 5th or 9th there has to be some consolation on the matter. Its just, I guess I am still not satisfied with what I saw yesterday. But, they are in and that is all that matters now.
The Blackhawks clinch the 8th playoff spot by the hair of their chinny chin chins.
Physical play, and a tired top line played a huge role in the outcome of the last game. When the game was theirs to take back in the final minutes, no player on the ice had any gas left. Maybe a bad move by Q to rely so heavily on the top line, or maybe it was the right move and just didn't work out. Doesn't matter now I guess.
Going along with fourfeather I felt it was a good game, and it could have gone either way too, but I also saw the Hawks give it away when they needed it more. When coupled with the rest of the season, that just isn't good enough for me. Maybe they can dig deeper in the post season and find the kind of consistency and high gear play that we know is in them. If they don't then I fear a short run.
Vancouver huh, Vancouver, Vancouver, Vancouver. Are you ready to be disappointed again? Are you ready to watch your big goaltender crack again? Let the scoring race begin. The Hawks have been playing games with the season on the line for weeks now, and Vancouver has been just coasting. My gut tells me that this, paired with the psychological hold that Chicago has on Vancouver will spell disaster if you are a Nucks fan. How brutal will it be to watch the President's Trophy winners go down in the first round?
Thats right. If I was a betting man, since we are talking so much about betting. I would put money on the Hawks making it to the second round. Again, my gut tells me that Keith is finally ready to wake up, and that Kane is starting to play his best hockey of the season. That hangover might finally be wearing off. It tells me that Toews has more than the Sedins and that a healthy Bolland will destroy all things good for Vancouver. I think that Luongo will choke and that Crawford will be steady, and that Hossa will produce for the first time in the playoffs.
Anyways, without further ramblings, here are my picks for the first round. A more complete bracket will follow in the coming days.
Nucks v Hawks - I am obviously going with the Hawks.
Sharks v Kings - Duh, Sharks. In 5 or possibly a sweep.
Wings v Yotes - A short series with the Wings ending on top.
Ducks v Nashville - I think Oneteam set this one up perfectly. Nashville wins it and I think they have it in them to win the West. Everyone fears playing this team.
Caps v Rangers - A hard fought series, but I am going with the Rangers, however unlikely that the Caps blow it again.
Flyers v Sabres - Flyers in 4 or 5.
Bruins v Habs - A 7 game series that will have everyone on their toes. Im going with Boston.
Pens v Bolts - The defensive play of Tampa will win in the end.