As much as I want to pull the covers over my head and hide away from the world after the heartbreaking 7th game loss by the Capitals, it's better to going back to business as usual. Which means breaking down what I thought were first round winners and losers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Capitals and Flames - Both teams that didn't win their series, but sure gave the NHL a show. Each pushed their series to game sevens and both raised a few eyebrows doing it. The future looks pretty bright for each. Boston gets honorable mention here as well.
Pittsburgh Penguins - It is quite the accomplishment to sweep any team in the playoffs, injured and downtrodden or not. Maybe if they let Ottawa win a few, Evgeni Malkin and Sid Crosby could be the scoring leaders now.
NHL Network - Being the first post season with the channel on my tube (as well on many of yours) was a godsend. The analyst was pretty dead on, and the NHL on the Fly program kept me up to date with every series. They did a great job.
Versus - They keep getting better and better. They are still finding the right games to air nationally and lately the production is head and shoulders above last year. Their coverage has been really good.
Dallas Stars - They knocked off the Stanley Cup champs, and they did it by keeping a cool head. After having a somewhat shaky end to their season, they certainly showed up in the playoffs.
Jeremy Roenick - After being a scratch for Game 6, Roenick responded with a 4 point night in Game 7. That's clutch. During his interview with Versus on live television, he saluted the crowd raising his stick in the air and the San Jose faithful responded. You could see him drink it in. It was a legendary moment.
Sean Avery - Now we have the Sean Avery rule! Anytime the league has to clarify a ruling mid first round in the playoffs means you did a major boo boo.
Ottawa Senators - The goaltending issue, the injury issue, the heart issue. From first to worst the only team swept in the first round of the playoffs.
Vancouver Canucks - They weren't even in the playoffs and axed their GM Dave Nonis just 3 years into what was his 5 year plan for the team. Talk about impatient. They just hired Mike Gillis today and as I am typing this he is talking to the Vancouver press at the moment.
Whoever threw the beer bottle from the 400 section in Game 7 - And hit the very nice lady in our row. I understand your frustration, but seriously.
ESPN Sports Center (or Centre for our neighbors toward the north) - For only covering two games out of 4 on one particular night. Honestly, I don't even watch ESPN for hockey highlights much anymore.
I don't really feel like making any predictions for Round two, but will probably get something up for tomorrow. In the meantime read the latest at KCI from Tarik here. Looks like Kolzig will not be a Capital next year. And I might be able to wrangle an interview from someone in a few days. We will see.