I was traveling from Toronto on Sunday after putting in eighteen days at Sportsnet Hockey Central.
It is nothing like being at the games and describing the action. You sit in a room and watch the games, taking notes on what you would like to talk about after the game or sometimes while the game is still on.
As we all know there is really only one time zone in this country when you are in TO. I liked talking about the Canucks when they were playing in Vancouver and the game would be in the early second period. Maybe that was a good thing.
The Canucks were just not good enough after they missed their chance to take a commanding lead by going up by two games in Chicago. People look at the turning point in this series as the undisciplined penalties in Game 3, or the goal 18 seconds into Game 4 or the injury to Alex Edler in Game 6, or the inconsistent goaltending of Roberto Luongo throughout the series, but it had to be in Game 2.
The Canucks had a 2-1 lead going into the third period, had two power plays and got outshot 14-5, gave up a shorthanded goal and lost in regulation. The Hawks stumbled into Game 5 but were in control after the second period of the second game. If I sound disappointed, I am. Being around the team as much as I am, I thought they would be better. The sad part is they are.
Anyway, back to the hockey still going on. Just to prove I am not going to use Game 1 in my favor, I like the San Jose Sharks. They are a bigger team than the Canucks and have added some key players to get a more competitive attitude. Rob Blake and Dan Boyle have Stanley Cup rings and know the ups and downs of a long playoff run. The Thornton line looks like they finally care if they win and Joe Pavelski gives them a threat on their second line. They made Detroit look tired.
Montreal has had a good run because Jaroslav Halak has been unconscious. Mike Camelleri has been a good story but Halak cannot stay that hot for two more series. The Flyers will pound them into submission. Chris Pronger will win the Conn Smythe if the Flyers win the Cup. I do not think either eastern team has a chance in the final but that is a story for another day. A story I hope to write before the first game is played!