The National Hockey League is halfway through its 2010 Stanley Cup Playoff run. Have we been paying attention? Have we learned anything? Sure we have. Here are seven key things that this year’s postseason has taught us already. 1. An extremely hot netminder (Mr. Halak), just one goal-scorer oozing confidence (Mr. Cammalleri) and a full-of-energy rookie (Mr. Subban) can pretty much take you as far as you want to go. Right, Montréal Canadiens? That, and the other 18 guys have to work their a**es off every single night. Game Seven should be a beauty – and the last-ever game in Mellon Arena!
2. The Detroit Red Wings’ run as an elite NHL team is over. That’s right, over. Without a top-level netminder – and Jimmy Howard sure ain’t it – they have begun the downward slide into mediocrity. I am not sad to see them go.
3. The City of Glendale, Arizona is simply the latest in a long line of southern businesses to be fleeced by the greasy talk of the NHL and VP Bill Daly. Offering to cover NHL losses of up to 25 million dollars? Are you friggin’ nuts?! Maybe Glendale council knows something we don’t (again, not a stretch when Daly is involved). But, here’s an idea – don’t build a brand-new facility for a team that never makes money!
4. Hockey Night in Canada, once Canada’s premiere television sports entity, is as stale as a week-old croissant. It’s like someone backed a U-Haul up to CBC’s loading bay and yelled, “OK everyone, pile in your personality. Not you Milbury…but everyone else. Sense of humour goes over there. Vibrancy, life, in that corner. Time to make you all about as exciting as vanilla pudding!” Then the truck simply pulled away, leaving viewers looking for an on-air commentator who doesn’t act as if he’d died a decade ago.
5. Roberto Luongo. Come to think of it, we haven’t really learned anything about him. Once overrated…always overrated. Years from now, after he shows his grandchildren highlights of his career, they’ll ask, “Grandpa, how exactly did you win a gold-medal in Vancouver?” He’ll be forced to reply, “Well, uh, a lot of pucks just hit me. And the equipment was bigger then. Hey…how about some ice cream?”
6. Dustin Byfuglien is awesome! 245th overall in 2003? Ahh, but he played major junior for the Brandon Wheat Kings and Prince George Cougars. Makes sense now. And he’ll spend the Western Conference Final doing the same thing he just did against Vancouver – shoving his butt right into Evgeni Nabokov’s face. And Nabby won’t like it.
7. Have patience, Winnipeg. Once the NHL draws up a contingency schedule with you included in it, the chips are starting to fall. Don’t put the roast in the oven yet…but you can set the table.