–Kevin Sellathamby turns off his spell check and looks at the Mike Green–Erik Karlsson comparison. It’s not something that worries me as a fan–I think Green is a more physical player, but looser defensively–but for those who are anxious for Karlsson to win the Norris it’s worth checking out.
–Ian Mendes provides a boatload of trivia going into the Ottawa-Ranger series. One bit not included: seven players who won the Calder Cup with Binghamton last year are on their roster–I’m guessing that’s a record.
–Joy Lindsay Tweets that Mika Zibanejad is in Ottawa and is expected to play in Binghamton’s final two games on the weekend.
–Nicholas J. Cotsonika points out that despite the supposed parity in the NHL no team outside the top-four conference seeds has won the Cup since 1995 (New Jersey). Post-lockout, only three #8 seeds have won (3 times in 6 years; Edmonton in 06, Anaheim 09, and Montreal in 10) and only two #7’s (Colorado in 06 and Philadelphia in 10). Cotsonika also provides his predictions and in Ottawa’s case see’s them losing in seven games with a realistic chance of an upset.
–Chris Stevenson makes his first round predictions and picks the Sens to beat the Rangers in seven.
–Central Scouting‘s final rankings for the 2012 draft were released this morning. CS ranks players in an odd way, with goalies separated out and European and North American players compared only to each other.
-Here’s a look at the entertainment value of each series. Defense tends to dominate the playoffs as scoring plunges due to a lack of special teams play. From best to worst, here are the series worth watching (Greg Wyshynski tackles the same issue and his rankings are in brackets):
1. Pittsburgh-Philadelphia (1)
Both teams hate each other, have players who play on (and over) the edge, and they both play an aggressive style
2. Nashville-Detroit (3)
While the Preds are defensive minded, they use an aggressive forecheck system and that combined with the Wings puck-possession and the teams mutual animosity should produce entertaining hockey
3. Boston-Washington (2)
This could turn into a snore-fest, but both teams have the potential to play energetic styles
4. New York Rangers-Ottawa (6)
The Sens are a loose team defensively and like to push the pace, while the Rangers will forecheck aggressively
5. Vancouver-Los Angeles (4)
The Kings play a style that makes your eyeballs bleed, but if the Canucks can push the pace it might create some excitement
6. Phoenix-Chicago (7)
The Coyotes are yet another dull team to watch, but the Hawks are a fun team to watch and might force Phoenix into something palatable
7. St. Louis-San Jose (5)
A defensive juggernaut playing a notorious playoff choker
8. New Jersey-Florida (8)
Putting the style of play aside, does anyone care about this series? Two of the NHL’s least interesting teams
-I had the misfortune of watching Sportsnet‘s playoff preview on Saturday and have no way to get my two hours back. It featured Scott Morrison, Damian Cox, Denis Potvin, and a bunch of other people whose opinions hold the weight of a wet paper towel. I sometimes wonder if TSN looks as good as it does simply because of how bad Sportsnet and Hockey Night in Canada are. The analysis from Sportsnet can be summed up like this: Nick Kypreos played for the Rangers, Mike Keenan coached the Rangers, Neil Smith managed the Rangers, and, er, everyone is confused by criticism of Crosby and the Penguins and theorize it can only be professional jealousy.
-Not to be out done with useless analysis, Pierre McGuire threw his hat into the ring this morning on The Team 1200 and offered the following chestnuts: 1) the Rangers previous playoff failures (referencing 09 and 11, although the Rangers haven’t made it past the second round post-lockout) were not due to Henrik Lundqvist being overplayed, 2) the Rangers playoff failures make them better suited for success this year. If there’s logic in that I can’t find it. Let’s use Pierre-think on Ottawa: the Sens lost in 2010 as did Craig Anderson with Colorado, therefore those failures have taught them lessons that will lead to success. Hell, if failure leads to success then the Canucks should win the Cup, right? No, wait, 15 teams in the playoffs this year didn’t win last year, so they will all have success! Given how rarely teams repeat as Stanley Cup winners, suggesting failure leads to success is going to work in at least one case every year.
This article is written by Peter Levi, be sure to follow @eyeonthesens