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The best is yet to come

Tuesday, 04.20.2010 / 11:38 AM / Columns

By Paul Kukla - NHL.com Correspondent

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The best is yet to come
Paul Kukla likes what we have seen so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and knows the better stuff is still ahead.
After watching my favorite team play, it normally takes me about an hour after the final horn has sounded to wind-down and come back to reality. I then return to my normal routine, which most likely means I am watching more hockey.

During these Conference Quarterfinal games, I am now finding myself winding-down, no matter what teams are involved, after every game. The hockey we are witnessing has been at the top of the excitement meter and it leaves you wondering which teams are going to survive once this first round is completed.

It is now evident you can toss the "favorite" tag out the window. The favorite in my mind is the team that won the last game, but if the games play out as they have, we may not be able to declare the favorite until a Game 7 is played in most of these matchups.

 
The hockey games have been fantastic. Grit, mad rushes, outstanding saves and crashing the net seem to be the words to describe the action we are witnessing and it is only going to get better. As teams approach a clinching game, the intensity and play will only pick up. As a fan of the game, I can't wait.

As an experienced (or old if you must) hockey fan, there is one thing I have learned while watching a playoff series. You must forget about the game that was just played as soon as possible.  If your team won, you can't afford to bask in the glorious victory because there is another game approaching and you need to be mentally prepared. If your team lost, the last thing you want to do is start putting yourself in a "woe is me" frame of mind. In simple terms, don't get too high with a win or too low with a loss.

Very soon, eight teams will be packing their gear up for the summer and the other eight teams will be moving on to the Conference Semifinal round. I could tick off the teams that are going to move on to the second round right now, but I could be very wrong and I won't go that route.  If we have learned anything from the first six days of playoff hockey it is anything can happen and probably will.

There will be plenty of time in the future to reflect back on these games that are being played right now. Where did it go wrong? What unified the team allowing them to get on a serious playoff roll? All questions that will be answered, but now is not the time.

We are living the greatest hockey moments on a nightly basis and we should only be concerned about the next game, the next period or even the next shift. Anything can happen to turn a series around and we certainly do not want to miss it.

Expect the unexpected to happen. Prepare yourself in the best way you can, knowing all along your team has not won or lost a series yet. 

Put on the rally hat, cross your legs, use the double-cross method and include your fingers. Whatever you do, don't forget to watch the game because I know some of you feel by not watching your team, it guarantees a victory and you will "take one for the team" for a sure win. But don't do that, it doesn't work. I know, I've tried it twice in the last six days.

Have a question or concern?  Email me at pk@kuklaskorner.com of visit Kukla's Korner for everything hockey.


Quote of the Day

I kept refreshing the page on the NHL website after the second round and I was shocked he lasted that long. I'm sure the Coyotes were pretty happy to get him. He's such a good player and he plays big in big games.

— Arizona forward Henrik Samuelsson on prospect Edgars Kulda being drafted by the Coyotes