Around the League - Playoff Edition - wk 4

Jason Gregor
May 13 2010 09:28AM

I love the scrutiny, passion, analysis and most of all the emotion that we experience during the NHL playoffs. The hockey is awesome even though Albertans had to enjoy it all on TV, and now Canuck fans are feeling like Sami Salo in game five, but this postseason is still the most riveting I’m witnessed in years.

The Canadiens’ run, which irks me because I hate the Habs, has been great and I’ve watched every one of their games. There is something about the underdog that makes sports great. Very few, except the diehard Habs fans, thought the Rouge and Bleu could win a series never mind take the defending champs to game seven, yet they did. And with each win their story becomes more intriguing.

Every game at the Bell Centre has had an electric atmosphere that you could feel through the TV screen. (They sold tickets for $7.50 last night and they sold out the Bell Centre, that’s impressive). I might not like Habs fans, but I have the utmost respect for their fan’s passion and that passion makes the games more exciting to watch. Of course the losers who had to cover up their face and loot the downtown core last night aren’t real fans, and hopefully their actions won’t damper an electric atmosphere.

Every Canadian city that has a team go deep in the playoffs generates the same type of passion we’re witnessing in Montreal. In 2004, the Red Mile unified a city that hadn’t seen the playoffs in seven years. In 2006, every Oiler fan under the age of 30 got to experience their first real playoff run, and it was invigorating.

In 2007, the normally subdued Senators fans came alive while watching their team finally live up to their talent. The past two years in Vancouver the fans have become more vocal and the Green Guys became a unique part of the in-game experience. I applaud the original Green Guys for coming up with a unique idea that gave the building extra life throughout the games. The problem is the copy cats.

Only the original guys should don the Green attire.

Hell it’s not just Canadian cities that are enjoying the playoffs. Chicago has come alive the past few years, and the Western Conference Final between the Hawks and Sharks should be outstanding. Even fans in San Jose are starting to believe their team isn’t a bunch of soft, underachieving players. It’s hard not to follow a Sharks’ series, because you do so waiting for them to stumble. Not necessarily because you want them to, but because of their previous letdowns you just can't help but wait for the other shoe to drop.

And now we are the brink of witnessing something that has only happened twice in the history of the game; a team coming back from a 3-0 series deficit and winning the series. The 1942 Leafs came back to defeat the Wings to win the Cup, and the 1975 Islanders rallied to defeat the Penguins. The Islanders nearly did it again in their next series, rallying from another 3–0 deficit to force a seventh game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Philadelphia Flyers before the Flyers took the decisive seventh game at home and went on to win their second consecutive Stanley Cup.

How can you not watch game seven Friday night from Boston?

ICE WOMEN OF THE WEEK

We’ve said goodbye to the ladies of playoff losers the past few weeks, but today we’ll focus on a winner. The Ice Crew from Chicago, who have helped cheer the Hawks to the 3rd round. You need four wins in a series, and the Hawks have won twice so these four packs are fitting.

And I love action shots that catch guys in our most natural forum; admiring the beauty of women. And it’s even better when another women takes a quick peak as well.

Random thoughts

  • Former NHL tough guy, Warren Rychel, is co-owner and GM of the Windsor Spitfires and he’s seen Taylor Hall up close for three years. He had an honest answer when I asked him if Taylor Hall needs to keep his head up more.

    “I haven’t seen a player over the last three years get hit more than him, harder more than him. He doesn’t get hit a lot because he is shifty and his speed, but sometimes he gets cleaned really hard and it’s amazing he gets up. Nothing seems to bother him.

    “He’s taken some big hits right back to the Ryan Wilson hit three years ago, the Pietrangelo hit last series v. Barrie; lots of guys have really cranked him. He’s in great shape and he keeps going. But he’ll have to keep his head up in the NHL where defenceman are a lot more privy to knowing when a guy has his head down than they do in junior.

    “That’s something he’ll have to watch out for, but he’s already made an adjustment and when he does get cranked I think he won’t do it again.”

    It clearly is a concern, but like Rychel said hopefully if Hall gets his bell rung once, he’ll adapt.
  • Many are wondering if Crosby will get scrutinized the same way Alex Ovechkin did now that the Pens lost to the Canadiens, but he won’t. Crosby’s team has been to back-to-back Stanley Cup finals, so he doesn’t have the same underachieving title to defend like Ovechkin. The fact is great players rarely lead their team to the Cup finals three years in a row. Gretzky did it once in his career. Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, Joe Sakic, Jaromir Jagr, Mark Messier, Nick Lidstrom never did it once. The Pens loss to the Habs doesn’t look good, but Crosby’s track record proves he can win, and to date Ovechkin hasn’t.
  • I wrote in March that Mike Gillis would regret doing nothing to bolster his blueline at the trade deadline, and it was obvious v. the Hawks that the Canucks backend wasn’t deep enough. Gillis should be kicking himself all summer wondering why he thought Andrew Alberts would make them better.
  • I wonder if Darryl Sutter realizes you need more than one forward to win? Watching Mike Cammalleri lead the league with 12 playoff goals must be killing him and Flames’ fans.
  • If Canada gets another hockey team I don’t think Winnipeg is at the top of the list. The only reason they are in the conversation is because they have a rink, but the NHL would rather go to Southern Ontario and Quebec City first. Of course Winnipeg deserves a team, but can they sustain one long-term: Doubtful.
  • If we planned a trip to the draft in LA that included going to the draft Friday night and Saturday morning, two Yankees/Dodgers games and a night out in LA would that interest you? If so, fire me an email, gregor@theteam1260.com.
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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 Dan the Man
May 13 2010, 04:02PM
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danjo1 wrote:

Anyone hear Chaser go off this morning? That was the funniest thing I heard on the radio in a while.

That's what I woke up to this morning when my clock radio went off. It was awesome, he was FIRED up.

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#52 Dan the Man
May 13 2010, 04:07PM
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@Jason Gregor

I wonder if Sutter regrets passing up on Cammalleri to sign Bouwmeester?

Calgary's D was fine, I thought it was a strange decision for a team that doesn't exactly light it up to let their leading goal scorer walk.

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#53 Starving Student
May 13 2010, 09:43PM
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Just for the record, those two idiots in Vancouver are NOT the original green-man. It's from a sitcom called It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

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#54 SmellOfVictory
May 13 2010, 09:46PM
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Starving Student wrote:

Just for the record, those two idiots in Vancouver are NOT the original green-man. It's from a sitcom called It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Haha yeah. Heck, my friend was doing greenman before they were (he also got it from Always Sunny, but he stole it first).

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#55 reaperfunk
May 13 2010, 10:13PM
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Question regarding the size of the Winnipeg Arena. Considering it holds 15,000 for hockey wouldn't that make it a bit too small for what an NHL team would like to have? I just don't see it happening except in an extreme situation.

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So lets say we pick Seguin and Boston gets Hall. Within the next 4 years Boston wins the cup and Edmonton doesn't win the cup. Seguin out scores Hall by 10 points a year, does the cup make Hall the better player?

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#58 Crash
May 14 2010, 09:29AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Comparing a junior player to an NHL player isn't even close to a fair comparison. There is a long list of teams who won in junior and never produced many top-end talents.

The disparity in physical maturity in junior is huge and plays a big part. A 16 year-old NORMALLY can't compete with 19 and 20 year olds.

Of course some young guys experience that in the NHL, but after 22 there isn't much physical differences to a 28-year-old.

And your whiny/snide comments about questioning writers are lame and old. I answer lots of questions on here, and most I respond to in a mature fashion.

You want to debate a point go ahead, but posters who think the point of a debate is to change my mind are wrong.

The fact you can't see the difference between comparing an NHL player's success to a junior shows you might not understand the game as much as you think.

Feel free to debate all you want with what I say, but don't bitch or moan about the response you get. I prefer Seguin over Hall, because history shows centres have more of an impact than wingers do. The fact these two are ranked so close, I'll go with the centre.

Some like Ovechkin better than Crosby, but can't come up with anything to prove why he is better. I prefer Ovechkin's style, and like I've stated numerous times, Crosby does more in a game and his teams win, which is why I'd pick him.

Hall might turn out to be better, and the Oilers might take him, but I prefer Seguin. You don't. I prefer Crosby's game over Ovechkin. You don't.

Trying to change my mind won't happen, considering there is nothing concrete that proves my opinion is way out in left field.

This is what I meant by it isn't popular to question you....and this is how you react most times when someone questions you....you don't actually respond in a mature manner...you resort to disparaging remarks such as calling someone whiny or that they are bitching and moaning. I simply pointed out that you were contradicting yourself...I figured you'd come out with something personal, which is fine if it makes you feel better.

The fact is I did debate the point with you and I don't really think there is any debate or very few that actually change peoples minds on here or anywhere for that matter so I sure as heck wasn't thinking I was going to change your mind.

I see that your points only fit when you say they do....so they fit for Crosby being a winner but you can't compare Hall and Seguin that way because they are juniors? The Hall/Seguin comparison has nothing to do with comparing a 16 yr old to a 19 yr old...both players are the exact same age and both are supposedly NHL ready. It's all relative. The reasons I like Hall over Seguin are partly due to the winning part, but it's much more than that...

And you are just assuming I like Ovechkin over Crosby....where did it say that I prefer Ovechkin over Crosby? For the record I prefer Crosby but not because he has a cup and Ovechkin doesn't.

This taking the center thing IMO is overanalzying....there are numerous examples where taking the center over the winger and vice versa didn't work out (ie: Oilers take center Steve Kelly over winger Shane Doan, Oilers take center Jason Bonsignore and then 2 picks later take Ryan Smyth, Coyotes take center Kyle Turris over winger Pat Kane, etc, etc, etc)....IMO Hall and Seguin aren't as close as is being made out. But seeing as you know so much more about hockey than I do I guess I should just bow down.

Anyway....nice debating with you....or whining with you whichever you prefer to call it.

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#60 Crash
May 14 2010, 11:35AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

How is it contradictig myself comparing an NHL player to a junior player?

It isn't.

As for centres over wingers.

Coyotes didn't choose Turris over Kane, Kane was already picked.

Comparing Steve Kelly to Shane Doan has no barring on the conversation. Same with Smyth and Bonsignore.

This scouting staff had nothing to do with them so why are using that as a comparison???

Use points that are relevant to the conversation. Please show me how stating centres have more impact than wingers is over analysing? It's factual.

If you want to break down my theory feel free to come up with something of substance. Show me where wingers are on average better.

Picking out two flop draft picks of the Oilers has no bearing on Seguin. None. If you can show me how they compare I'd love to see it.

Different scouting staff, and different players. Bonsignore had the heart the size of a pee when he was drafted, and people talked about it. The Oilers, in their infinite wisdom, thought otherwise.

Has anyone said anything negative about Seguin. Any scout, any ranking? Using the two biggest flops are you defence on why wingers can be better is a stretch.

So if you think Crosby is better, why did you waste time trying to argue it? Because you like to try to be smart? Once again you haven't written anything that states why Ovechkin is better, so why waste time arguing it.

Good to know in the future, that I won't waste my time answering one of your questions, because you aren't interested in the answer, rather just arguing for the sake of it.

"Fact is wins are what matters most, and when you are the best player on the team and play lots the onus is on you to win"

Fact: You said this above statement. Can you debate that?

Fact: Wins are what matter most at all levels of competitive sport, not just the NHL.

Fact: My arguement had nothing to do with comparing Crosby and Ovechkin, it had to with comparing Hall and Seguin and wondering how you can say one thing (ie: the above statement you made) in one arguement but that it doesn't matter in the other instance. I'm not going to argue that Ovechkin is better because once again I like Crosby better.

The Turris comparison was more about his Central scouting ranking compared to Kane and that Turris was the center and Kane was the winger. I used 3 examples, but I had mentioned that there were many examples in history. Those were just off the top of my head.

Again, you are choosing to put words in my mouth...I never said wingers are better on average. This isn't about averages it's about getting the best guy.

I used the Doan/Kelly, Bonsignore/Smyth comparisons because in both cases the Oilers opted for the center over the winger and the winger turned out better so yes those comparisons do have a barring on your take the center over the winger thought process.

But back to the original point. I was simply stating how in one breath you talk about how wins are what matter most and when you are the best player on your team the onus is on you to win and in the next breath you are saying you take Seguin over Hall totally ignoring what you stated about wins.

Uneducated me, I guess I should have known that when you talked about winning is all that matters and that you would always take the guy who wins first that you meant just at the NHL level and not so much at any other level of competitive sport.

Thanks for speaking for me....I am like anyone else here...I debate a point when I believe there is a point to be debated and I was just curious as to how you would explain your contradictory points.

Now I know, in one case it matters and in the other it doesn't...thanks for answering my last question to you.

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#62 Crash
May 14 2010, 03:29PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

WHere did I compare Crosby's success to Hall or Seguin??? Please show me? Yet you assume that is a contradiction.

I've stated on numerous occasions, I think Hall is better today than Seguin, but I'd still draft Seguin. And Hall's team is clearly better than Seguin's. Do you think they were even before the playoffs?

Washington was a better team in regular season, and last year they were pretty equal to the Pens as well. So comparing Seguin's lack of success on a clearly inferior team, is not an accurate comparison to the success Crosby has had in the NHL.

Where is the contradiction??

And picking out the two most obvious mistakes of a previous scouting staff has a bearing on this year? How? Different staff, different players.

And once again, you have to put in your little pouty remark about "uneducated me"...or "thanks for speaking for me"...it is sad really.

Did I say you were uneducated? No you assumed that. Go back and tell me where in my last post I made any mention of speaking for you?

Ok, the contradiction has to do with what you said here and not with comparing Crosby's success to Hall or Seguin.

"Both are leaders on their team, but one wins more. I'll take the one that wins"

You said that when speaking of Ovechkin and Crosby. I took that to be a contradiction in why you were picking Seguin over Hall when Hall is the winner at the junior level..

But you explained that this statement doesn't count with juniors...I didn't realize when you first went after Ogden jr and rubbertrout about liking Ovechkin better than Crosby that your picking the winner and the onus being on the team leader was only specific to the NHL and nothing else...it did sound like a general statement at first and it was very absolute about who you would pick and that being the winner was paramount.

This is the contradiction and wanted to ask why you were so in your face with those guys on this point but that you didn't share the same view when deciding the Hall/Seguin debate.

The part where I mentioned speaking for me was where you said I was just trying to be smart....I believe you would question someone in a similar fashion as I did with you if someone else seemingly was contradicting themselves....I wasn't just trying to be smart, I truly felt you were being contradictory and pointed it out....

Sorry for bringing it up

Anyway...cheers

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