Okee doke: so how do we beat the Pens?
*Super cool turntable scratching* Hey now youre a cool guy it’s the playoffs get paiiiiiiiid (we get paid so much $$$$$$$$$$ to write this!)
Well, the big bad Pengus are coming to town SOON! At the time of this writing tickets are going on sale in 32 minutes and there’s no schedule up on the team’s official website. IT’S A VERY ORGANIZED TIME TO BE ALIVE!
Okay, I’d like to preface this, as I always do, by taking an impressive leather bound book off of this custom built mahogany shelf and opening it to the case of The People vs. Horse Races. Pretty much every pundit is going to pick the Penguins to take this one because ‘nem Penjins b more better.’ Okay, awesome. A couple of weeks ago I heard some hockey analysts discussing if Toronto would manage to steal even one win from stalwart Boston and despite being stomped in a couple of games it’s anyone’s series with the Bruins looking like the ones on their heels. Now, admittedly, I don’t like Toronto, a little too “I hate everything about them” for my taste, but I must say, that match up is as cut and dried on paper as Ottawa-Pittsburgh, and when you compare paper to reality I don’t know why the New York Rangers don’t win the Stanley Cup every year. All that stuff said, if Ottawa were the underdogs last series they are some sort of undersloth this time around.
The last series was quite helpful to Ottawa in that the plucky Islanders exposed the speed issues that Pittsburgh has as a team. Especially now with Latendresse riding the pine, speed is not something that Ottawa lacks themselves. It’s rough to see Weapon X Erik Karlsson operating at “normal” speed but there still things about his game that remain strong like, I don’t know, his ability to deke out an entire fucking team or his patience and ability to hang onto the puck. To me this series is going to fall largely on the shoulders of the youthful exuberance: the Zibanejads, Silfverbergs Pageaus and Conachers. Tall order (sorry Cory, JGP) for a bunch of rookies, you bet, but with Pittsburgh clocking in as the NHL’s oldest team (29.5 avg. age) and Ottawa the youngest (avg. age 26) it would be foolish not to think that MacLean will be using sprightliness as a strategy. If you have wheels, use them.
While on the subject of age, it will also be on Ottawa to make this a very, very grueling experience for The Old Man Iginalas of the world. Ottawa has the tools to punish in Neil, Smith, Cowen, Gryba, Methot and for the love of god I hope Greening. Even Phillips is a pretty tough customer when it’s post season time. The greatest challenge of course is that Pittsburgh boasts some of the world’s most talented forwards…which is uhh nice for them.
This series will, as every hockey game ever has, come down to goaltending.
I feel it important to point out that the Islanders did not exactly get world class goaltending in their series. Evgeni Nabokov (the Alexei Kovalev of goaltenders if you ask me) gave up a putrid 24 goals in 6 games. I’m very much hoping we get a little bit better of a performance from Craig Anderson. Also, speaking of goaltending, I would like you to please put on your rant proof goggles now:
Why u heff be mad is just Tomas Vokoun! I love how going into the series the storyline as you mentioned above is all, “Oh no how will we survive now that Pittsburgh’s #1 overall pick, Stanley Cup winning, Olympic Gold Medalist, former all star goaltender has been benched and we have to face Mighty Tomas Vokoun! He who was the Washington Capitals 3rd string goalie LAST YEAR and was acquired for a seventh round draft pick! He who previous to this series rocked a 3 and 8 playoff record on the defense-first Predators. Am I the only one who forgot this guy was even in the NHL when Pittsburgh traded for him last year?
Goaltenders being the strange beasts they are I must admit, there’s nothing to say Vokoun isn’t capable of Jaroslav Halaking them to the promised land. It could happen. Pittsburgh is playing better in front of him. It just seems funny to me that not even a week after watching a team that “has trouble scoring” positively break Carey Price and then capable backup Peter Budaj’s respective spirits I’m not going act like Pittsburgh’s goaltending problems are in the past because Vokoun beat the Islanders twice.
What do you think shitty Jerry Seinfeld joke-device?
“What is the deal with Jason Spezza?” *canned laughter* *canned throwing a chair at my head*
One minute you have MacLean saying “He still a long way(s) away” the next you go on the Sens website and the top story is “SPEZZA PRACTICES!!!” What’s a girl to do? Spezza is a whole mess of questions. The most obvious is, “How ready is he?” Others include, “Even if 100% healthy can he just step in and play playoff level hockey after not playing since January?” or “If Spezza comes back this team suddenly has a ton of talented centres…who moves where?” Seems like the more we know the less we know with this here caper. Only one way to get to the bottom of it.
BUT THEN JAMES HAS TO GO AND BE ALL:
Just to build on what you’re saying about Spezza…yeah, the last thing in the world I’d ever want is for him to be rushed. Maybe it’s just a media circus but seeing the Sens organization hype it up too was interesting. Considering he’d be playing up against Malkin or Crosby there’s not going to be a lot of wiggle room for him to “feel it out.” I have to admit I’m very confused about the whole thing…which I’m guessing is the point.