Saturday, May 19, 2007

Catching up on the Conference Finals

It's been a bit since something worthwhile was dropped on this blog...forever, arguably. But, I've missed a few happenings in the playoffs since my little no Versus issue from the last post.

First of all, what the hell happened to the Sabres? OK, in listening to Barry Melrose's podcast, the Sabres just haven't been working as hard as their opponents. I'll buy that for a $1(US). Game 2 against the Sens is a perfect example of that as the Sabres worked just hard enough to get it to OT, but then couldn't put the Sens away to even up the series. That sent the Sens to Ottawa with all the momentum, which they used to take a 3-0 lead. Buffalo staved off elimination in game 4, though, but have they learned their lesson? Allowing the Sens to cut the 3-0 lead to 3-2 in a span of minutes says no.

I won't be surprised to see the Sabres pull off game 5 today and send it back to Ottawa. Then again, I won't be surprised to see them not show up - except for Miller who has been the only one to show up every game - and call it a season.

Out west we have a series locked at 2-2 heading back to Detroit. Game 3 delivered us an ass-beating of biblical proportions which included the controversial head shot by Pronger to the back of Holmstrom's head. Pronger got a suspension out of it (more on that in a sec), and the Ducks went on to play a solid game sans-Prongs and even the series.

In watching game 4, my sudden love affair (purely heterosexual sports love) with Ryan Getzlaf continued. Is there anything this kid can't/won't do? Firing the game winner through traffic was an impressive shot, but he goes to the net, he goes to the corners, he takes big face-offs against the likes of Chris "I don't lose big face-offs" Draper, and he's more than responsible in his own end. Yet another draft pick from the ridiculously deep '03 draft. (The number of guys taken after Zherdev who are excelling while he flounders is mind boggling.)

On to Pronger's suspension: 1 game? Please. If you're going to take a stand on head shots, then take a flippin' stand. The game he got suspended could have put the Ducks in a hole, but 3-1 is hardly the end of a playoff series. A 2 game suspension in that instance would have hurt a bit more, IMO, as Prongs could have been on the sidelines watching his team drop 2 straight and the series without him. THAT would have left an impression. As it turns out, they won the game he was suspended, so the point is moot. However, the two game suspension could have still had his team down 3-2 coming back to Anaheim where he would have returned and had to step up to keep the Ducks from getting eliminated. I think one game was barely a slap on the wrists, it was more like wagging a finger in his face.

On the flip side of the hit was the relative noise coming out of Detroit. I'm a HUGE fan of Kukla's Korner, possibly the best hockey blog out there, but Paul is a Wings fan so there's a good amount of Wings content. I have no issue with that, and in fact expect it since they're one of the four teams remaining. However, in reading some of the articles posted there you'd think Pronger was in the book depository with a rifle as Holmstrom skated into the corner. I'm not condoning the hit at all, and think Pronger's suspension was in order, but the Helene St. James types of the world took hype to a whole new level. Had the tables been turned and Chelios's elbow met the back of Selanne's head, I doubt the media noise from the motor city would have been the same.

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