Preds fans had to wait until overtime to see their team take Game 1 on Friday night. No problem, really–they should be used to the waiting by now.
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Good times keep coming for the Nashville Predators; maybe another team can learn something from them?
Not only did Nashville wait until OT against the Ducks, and the playoffs in general, to turn it on and start taking it out on other teams, but they’ve been running a slow burn towards success for years now. Though they may be a surprise team this postseason, you can’t say you didn’t see them coming, because The DFR made note of their development a couple of years ago–back when the idea of the Predators in the Conference Final seemed a tad premature.
Continue reading Delayed-Action Predation
Have you been feeling unsettled, confused, and discombobulated lately? If so, you’re certainly not alone. There’s so much weirdness going on in the world these days: missiles in North Korea…madness in Syria…passengers being dragged off planes by United Airlines…the on-going antics of the “Commander-in-Cheeto”…hell, even Twin Peaks is coming back, because apparently the world just isn’t weird enough these days. It’s all a ball of confusion for sure.
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The Pittsburgh Penguins: The only sure thing skating around with the Puck of Confusion?
You don’t even get to escape the confusion if you flatten out that ball into a disc-shaped piece of hard, vulcanized rubber and turn your attention to the Stanley Cup playoffs–because that hasn’t exactly been a model of things going according to plan, either.
Continue reading Puck Of Confusion
A Leaf Grows In Toronto
For a moment there, it looked like the Toronto Maple Leafs were going to pull it off.
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Auston Matthews: making it happen against the Caps…almost
When Matthews scored the goal that briefly gave the Leafs the lead against the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of their First Round series, Toronto’s faithful could have been forgiven if they started thinking destiny was on their side. They had the lead, were less than a period away from a Game 7, and putting it over on the one team in the league that is known for, shall we say, gripping the sticks a little too tight in this sort of situation.
Alas, it didn’t work out that way–but Leafs fans should definitely be encouraged. Everything is finally pointing upward for the storied but beleaguered franchise.
Continue reading A Leaf Grows In Toronto
Well, at least I got the number of games right.
It wasn’t the Sharks winning the Stanley Cup in six games, as predicted here, but the Penguins who got the job done last night. But even with the lack of a Game 7, that Final series was closer than it seemed.
As laid out in that earlier piece, Martin Jones actually did his part, standing on his head and making save after save after save against Pittsburgh’s extremely talented offense. I briefly thought that Jones might get the Conn Smythe trophy despite the loss, much as Ron Hextall did against Gretzky’s Oilers back in the day, but that didn’t happen, and probably rightly so. (I’m not sure Sidney Crosby should have been the guy for the Penguins; that smacks more of marketing than the actual results on the ice. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel seemed like better bets there.) Jones was great, but given the way Pittsburgh’s unexpectedly stout defense stifled the Sharks’ offense, he needed to be spectacular, and he simply fell short of that distinction.
So the better team definitely won, no doubt about that. The other takeaway from this Stanley Cup Final might be this: this match-up may not be over. Given the major contributions we saw from Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary, and Matt Murray–the first two were all over the ice the whole series–for Pittsburgh and Joonas Donskoi, Rob Tierney, and Melker Karlsson for the Sharks, the future looks bright for both teams. All of those players are either one year in or rookies. And while young players sometimes flame out quickly after brief flashes of brilliance, it’s hard to believe all of those guys will fall off the table in the future. The road will be tough next year–it always is–but I won’t be shocked if there’s a rematch in next year’s Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins lived through that with Detroit in ’08 and ’09; they might see it again with the Sharks next year.
Until then, the Steel City gets to have some good times with 34.5 pounds of silver and nickel. Enjoy.
A week and a half ago, in this space, I made a prediction which now looks remarkably foolish: I expected the San Jose Sharks to win the Stanley Cup in six games over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Alas, that event does not seem to be in the cards. Continue reading Reverting To Form