The seeds are set. Playoff hockey is about to begin and Jaime has a few thoughts on how the postseason might go.
If I could have been anything this weekend, I would have definitely wanted to be the owner of a sports bar. Between the close of the NHL regular season with seeding on the line and the start of the baseball season, business must have been booming. I’m going to go out a limb and say it was probably too rowdy for the Masters crowd that was also in full swing (HA!), so sports fans certainly got their fill this weekend.
At least they did down here in Tampa. The Rays swept their season opener against Yankees and Mr. Steven Stamkos scored his 60th goal. Unfortunately it was his last.
As a Tampa transplant, I’ve been rooting for the Lightning all season and I’m a little bummed that they won’t be playing any postseason hockey. For one, they’re a pretty talented team, but I think it hurts Stamkos’ chances at the Hart trophy if his team isn’t playing in the playoffs. And the boy deserves it! He’s only the 20th player to notch 60 in a single season and he’s only 22! Give the boy a prize!
Hockey wasn’t a total bust in the sunshine state though. My hometown Panthers are heading back to the postseason for the first time in 12 years and playing the same team they lost to in 2000, the New Jersey Devils. The last time I was at a Panthers playoff game people were still throwing rats on the ice so I’m excited to see how far Floridians will go this year after their prolonged playoff hiatus.
Another matchup that immediately caught my eye when I saw the final standings was the Penguins and Flyers. I don’t think you could pay me enough to pick a side in Pennsylvania once those games get under way. I imagine there will be more blows thrown in the bars than on the ice. These are two teams that do not like each other and I can see it going the full seven games…or until everyone is too injured to play.
Two other series I plan to monitor closely are the two involving last year’s Stanley Cup teams: the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins.
Now, I know what it feels like to come in second place and being the first loser is never fun (“if you’re not first, you’re last!”). I feel for the Canucks but they have a hard road ahead of them to get back to the cup. The L.A. Kings? They’re no joke. Jonathan Quick eats pucks for breakfast and I don’t think seeding tells the whole story here. L.A. had an up and down season, but their a pretty talented group of guys and slates are wiped clean once playoffs start.
The Bruins on the other hand will have an easier go at things with the Capitals. Alex Ovechkin has a history of under-performing in the postseason and getting past Boston’s back line won’t make it any easier. Have you seen Zdeno Chara? He’s like a solid seven feet on skates! He looks like an ogre out there! And Tim Thomas is a wizard between the pipes. No, I think the Bruins will be moving on.
One last un-hockey related note before I leave. Remember last week when I said how completely ridiculous it was that Tiger Woods with one win suddenly became a favorite to win the Masters? Well I was right. I don’t mean to rub his nose in it, but c’mon! One win and you’re the favorite? Since when.