Because It’s the Cup!

April 24th, 2015 by Joe Buscemi | Filed under Flyers, General, Hockey, Sports, TalkSportsPhilly.

itsthecup

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Some call it Christmas, others call it the NHL playoffs. If you are a die-hard of a hockey fan, as I am then you understand just how awesome and intense playoff hockey is.

There really isn’t anything better, and this year it has lived up to all its hype.

Interesting stat, there was a seven team turnover from last year’s NHL Playoff’s (seven teams from last year did not qualify this year), the highest turnover rate in the history of the NHL. That speaks volumes of how much the game has changed, from a business/salary cap perspective, and also from the balance of talent surrounding the league.

As a Flyers fan it is obviously tough not watching them compete for the cup, however I have caught quite a few games and they are some of the most evenly matched and entertaining series’ I can remember. Old-time hockey seems to be making more of an appearance as the refs are letting the boys play and blowing the whistles less. Tons of hits, fights, highly electric offensive displays, stellar goaltending performances, and a series that shockingly ended in a sweep.

The highly talented Anaheim Ducks spoiled the Jets first playoff appearance since relocating to Winnipeg back in 2011. The original franchise was last seen in the playoffs 19 years ago. That was a tough one for die-hard Jets fans to swallow.

There is no secret that we are entering a new-era of hockey. Many of the legends from the 80’s and 90’s are retiring (still odd not seeing Teemu Selanne, Peter Forsberg, John LeClair, and Mike Modano, to name a few, not on the ice) however there is a resurgence of highly-touted young stars and rookies such as the Blues Vladimir Tarasenko and the Predators Filip Forsberg. Both are taking the league by storm and performing quite well in the playoffs so far.

Another interesting story lies in Ottawa. As of February 10th, the team was fourteen games out of the final playoff spot. Four days later, they lost Craig Anderson, their starting goaltender to injury. They called on back-up Andrew Hammond, the 27-year-old rookie. To most experts the Sens playoffs hopes were over, however Hammond had other plans. He wound up stunning the league, not only did he become one of five goalies in NHL history to go fourteen games without a loss, he also did not allow more than two goals in each, becoming the first to do so since Boston Bruins goaltender Frank Brimsek, way back in 1938. The Sens would finish the season with a 22-4-4 record, eventually knocking the Boston Bruins out of the final playoff spot.

It looks as though the Pittsburgh Penguins will be exiting the first round yet again and as Flyers fans we all are loving it. For the past few years the Penguins have started their seasons red-hot, cool off in March, and then wind up choking in first round of the playoffs, usually to us, however the Rangers are doing the honors this year. Captain Sidney Crosby, the man we love to hate, has been dismal in the post-season. Only posting four points in his last fourteen playoff appearances. I see the Rangers finishing off the Penguins in New York tonight.

I could go on all day about every match-up but I don’t want to bore you to death, so here is a quick recap of where the match-ups currently stand:

  • Anaheim swept Winnipeg 4 games to none.
  • Washington leads NY Islanders 3-2.
  • St. Louis and Minnesota are tied at 2 games a piece
  • Chicago leads Nashville 3-2.
  • Calgary leads Vancouver 3-2
  • Montreal leads Ottawa 3-1
  • Tampa and Detroit are tied at 2 games a piece
  • NY Rangers lead Pittsburgh 3-1

So there you have it a very entertaining first round of playoff hockey is almost in the books. Yes it is definitely not the same without the Flyers but in my opinion we will be back in it next year.

Have you filled out your playoff brackets? If so who do you see hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup come June? You can find my predictions on twitter @joey_boosh. Come follow and share your cup predictions with me!

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