The Best and Worst of the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs

2010 Chicago Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their first Stanley Cup championship since 1961 (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The day after the Stanley Cup Playoffs end is always a very hard day. No game to look forward to. No tension building in a series. No more hockey games…for a couple months anyway. Those were, without a doubt, one of the greatest editions of the Stanley Cup Playoffs ever. The upstart Philadelphia Flyers. The ready-to-be-annointed Chicago Blackhawks. Awesome. So, before we close the book on 2010, let’s take a quick look at the things that made the 2010 playoffs so memorable. (more…)

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Goaltender Antti Niemi is now the Chicago Blackhawks’ leading candidate to win the 2010 Conn Smythe Trophy. Entering this Stanley Cup Final v. Philadephia, the Blackhawks had several players who would have been a good choice. Niemi has now broken from the pack and, unless something dramatic happens, he’ll be waving the trophy by the end of this weekend.   

Blackhawks' netminder Antti Niemi makes one of his 29 saves in G2 v. Flyers

Blackhawks' netminder Antti Niemi makes one of his 32 saves in G2 v. Flyers (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

 

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Michael Leighton after allowing Marian Hossa's G2 goal
Michael Leighton, on his duff, after allowing Marian Hossa’s G2 goal (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

No surprise that the Chicago Blackhawks won the initial two games of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final. No surprise that Antti Niemi has had a big hand in both victories, especially last night’s Game Two. No surprise that Chicago’s fans almost blew the roof off United Center. But, 120 minutes into the series, there are three things that I just do not understand. 

1. Why would Flyers’ head coach Peter Laviolette have come back with Michael Leighton in goal? It makes no sense. In Game One, Leighton provided absolutely no spark, no lift, no inspiration to his team. He was out of position way too often. Laviolette had Brian Boucher right there. You remember Boucher? He’s the guy who wiped the New Jersey Devils off  the first-round map and sent the Flyers soaring to their current heights. Then, after he comes back with Leighton in G2, we watch Ben Eager score the game-winning goal over a falling and way-too-deep-in-his-net Leighton. Last night, Leighton seemed to spend the entire game on his butt. If Laviolette does not start Boucher in G3, he deserves to lose this series. (more…)

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What have we learned, if anything, from Canucks' netminder Roberto Luongo?
What have we learned, if anything, from Canucks’ netminder Roberto Luongo?

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. (more…)

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Mercifully, the Red Wings made sure we wouldn't have to endure any more Phoenix Coyotes' stories

Mercifully, the Red Wings made sure we wouldn't have to endure any more Phoenix Coyotes' stories

Thank God, the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is over. After another stupidly long regular season, we just had to watch eight teams, who had no business being in the postseason, bumble their way through seven-game series. Now, only the elite eight are left to rightly challenge for the Cup. The others never should have been there (yes, that includes Washington). So it’s time to send a memo or two to each of the clubs that just got punted in the first round. (more…)

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