Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hockey. Hockey. Hockey.

The playoffs are in full swing, and now that I've figured out where Versus HD is on our TV (channel 1705, hello) I've been able to watch a good amount of action. Lots of observations

1) Friggin Anaheim. And you know what? It's not the Ducks, it's Scott Niedermayer. He's been doing this to the Wings for 14 years, ever since he scored on that bank shot off the end-boards against them in 95 while he was with the Devils.  I'd hate him, but he's really a great player.  At this point, doesn't he belong in the discussion about best defensemen not named Orr, Potvin, Robinson, or Borque?  If those guys are the AAA level, and you've got Lidstrom, Langway, Harvey at AA, then isn't Niedermayer in the A level with guys like Stevens, MacInnis, the wildly-overrated Paul Coffey, Larry Murphy, and Brad Park?  He's gotta be a lock for the HOF at this point. He's got the best old-guy playoff beard going. He still looks like the fastest, smoothest skater on the ice when he's playing.

2) Speaking of fast, smooth skaters, Sergei Federov is still getting it done. Honestly, he can still push off twice in his own zone and then somehow accelerate through the neutral zone without moving his feet.  From what I can tell, he's the only guy to ever win both the Selke and the Hart trophies.  You forget how freaking good he was in the mid-90's.  He was everything that Eric Lindros was supposed to be.

3) At what point do we agree that Malkin is a playoff choker?  What's he done this year to dispel the rumors last year that he was soft when it mattered? What's he done to help the Pen's so far?

4) The best thing to happen in the NHL recently is the Pens/Caps rivalry. I love that Crosby and Ovechkin don't like each other. I love that they openly admit it. I love that they are visibly pissed off by the other guy.  It's awesome. Their games have become must-watch hockey.

5) Ovechkin should be illegal. Seriously, if he can snap a wrist-shot to the upper corner at about 90 miles an hour while leaning away from the shot and being fronted by a defenseman, then what hope do you have?  On his last goal of the hat trick Monday, Gonchar played perfect defense - what else should he have done? And still Ovechkin gets off a killer wrister that Fleury had no chance on.

6) I'd actually like to watch Caps/Blackhawks in the Finals, if only because we could do away with all this bothersome defense and just watch two teams skate at full speed, all the time.

7) Did Boston/Carolina start playing?  What, they did? It's 1-1? Did they play on the moon?

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