I was wrong. OK. I said it. I thought the Colorado Avalanche were going to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. If you are among the dozen or so people paying attention to the NHL playoffs you will know they cannot as they went out in a game 7 in the first round.
A game 7 for the Colorado Avalanche is mostly poison. They haven’t won a game 7 since the end of May 2002. So, it was not much of a shock really. Not to me anyway. To many at the bar I was at watching said game 7? They were stunned. My comment was “watch the fucking game!” They’ve had a ‘0 for whatever for over 20 years Game 7’ graphic up on the screen about a dozen times!” Then I had to leave. Luckily, I was stone cold sober and those threatening to do me bodily harm were stumbling drunk brave.
So they lost. Granted I did not know their fearless leader and captain Gabe Landeskog (That’s Landy in hockey parlance, NOT Gabby) was going to be out 95% of the season as well as the entire playoffs. However, they have more than one good player. Yet, here they are – playing golf when they are not watching their victors, the Kraken, as they proceed to the second round to face the Dallas South Stars (they really are not the South Stars, but since they came to Dallas via Minnesota where they were the North Stars, it just seems appropriate).
Let me tell you about the Kraken. The Kraken, if you do not know, is a fierce octopus-like creature capable of devouring ships whole. You’ll see in the actual photo below the enormous size of it. Granted, it is far easier to defeat on ice as out of the water and onto frozen water is not their preferred place of battle, but yet the Kraken won.
What you say, there are about 20 games still to play in the regular season and you’re talking playoffs and making a Stanley Cup Final prediction? And? Does it matter? Not really. Get your toe into the ice, push off and glide a bit as we look at the playoff picture by starting with the Eastern Conference.
Perhaps the word ‘love’ is a bit of a stretch. It wasn’t as if I hated the concocted “pre-playoffs” like she was a girlfriend who married the next person they dated after me. The playoffs, COVID-delayed or not, are perpetual. I have only had the woman I dated marry the next person they dated six times, and one of them decided to ‘curve their stick’ and shoot a bit differently, if you know what I mean.
Now the hoopla and fanfare, yes both occurred in the past couple weeks, of both the ‘Round Robin’ and the ‘Pre-Qualifying Round’ has officially exited the ice. Ergo we now have legit playoffs, so let’s take a look at who’s left for the next round. Apparently the NHL has now decided to call the next round the First Round, and I am okay with that. Essentially this means the NHL is now officially smarter than those college guys at the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament (hey remember that? It’s like nostalgia at this point). They convince themselves the play-in games are actually the first round. DUMB.
Did I say “let’s take a look at who’s left?’ I did. Not yet. Just a solid reminder the NHL teams are going nowhere. The Eastern Conference is still playing their games in Toronto at the venerable Scotiabank Arena. The Scotiabank Arena is like the United Center of the North. It’s nice, relatively new, but not a legendary place like Madison Square Garden (which BTW is not a square shape – who knew?). The Western Conference teams are still stuck in Edmonton and play their games at Rogers Place. Same deal. Nice, and kind of like an Olive Garden of arenas… without the breadsticks.