I have lived in Ottawa for almost 7 years now and during that time Senators fans have complained about two things, the rough physical play of the Leafs that resulted in many playoff failures and the boring defensive, wait for a mistake by the opponent, hockey of the New Jersey Devils. Surprisingly, I am not hearing many complaints now that the Senators have decided to play a more physical neutral zone trap, wait for turnovers and powerplays to attack style of game.
If I were a Sabre’s fan, I would be furious at my team for not competing. Outside of Ottawa’s big three, Buffalo’s forwards are faster, more skilled and much deeper than Ottawa’s but they refuse to put the effort in to win the battles necessary to win the game. When they do they get some success like in the dying minutes of regulation in game 2 when they won the battle along the boards, shot the puck towards the goal and Brierre put the puck in the empty net. Or late in game 3 when some hard work had Ottawa penned in their own zone for what seemed like a full minute struggling to get the puck out. But for the Sabre’s that effort has been too little too late. With one loss in OT and another one goal game, had they just played hard for just 10 more minutes they could have had a win or two.
It amazes me how some people gave the Detroit Red Wings so little respect and so little chance of beating the Anaheim Ducks. I have heard many people picking the Ducks to win the series in as few as 4 or 5 games (which won’t hapen now) but the Wings are a team with oodles of playoff experience and who has finished atop the western conference standings 3 seasons in a row and 4 out of the last 5 seasons and trailing only Dallas in 2002-03 by 1 point. I think people get too mesmerized by the Pronger-Niedermayer combo of the Ducks and don’t give enough respect for Detroit’s all round veteren team.
Is it just me or are these playoffs much less interesting than most years. While some of the hockey has been good there haven’t really been any overly intriguing series or story lines outside of maybe the Senators figuring out how to play playoff hockey. There has only been one series last 7 games and that series, Dallas vs Vancouver, featured probably the least interesting hockey. Only twice has a team staved off elimination, Minnesota winning game 4 vs Anaheim and Dallas winning game 6 vs Vancouver. In all other series whenever a team won got their third win they immediately won their fourth the very next game. There have been no real upsets or underdog teams making a run like the Oilers of a year ago. There are no teams ravaged by injuries with unsung heros doing their best to help their team survive like the Sabres and their defense injuries a year ago. There are no rookie goalies, or rookies of any kind, playing with the poise of a veteren helping his team to the promise land like Cam Ward of the Hurricanes a year ago. For the most part these playoffs have been a storyless playoff with little intrigue unless you have rooting interest in a team still playing.