Considering that I have already shared some opinions on last night’s game, I will just make a couple of observations about the playoff environment last night!
Though a lot of negativity had been floating leading into the playoffs, you would be hard pressed not to slip into believing mode upon seeing the arena last night. The screen was up in all of its glory outside and the place was packed! Sure, it wasn’t as packed as it was for the Stanley Cup Final, but the front of the building was still filled with Pens faithful and they were ripping it up.
Iceburgh was making the rounds, while Mikey and Big Bob from the Freak Morning Show were inciting the riots! Those boys do a great job in getting the masses stirred up and worked into a lather!
The arena was dressed in its playoff finest…the bunting was hung and the extra lighting installed. The pre-game ceremony brought the house down as it showed clips of the Birds hoisting Lord Stanley last spring. All of it did the trick in making us all believe that another run is very possible. Unfortunately the game did its part in making us realize that we might all be dreaming!
I, for one, am still on board the Championship express! One loss does not a summer of golfing make. They’ll get ’em Friday…
Now on with Around the Net!
First off, why change now… Dave Molinari’s game recap. Dave points out that vaunted switch did not flip as the Penguins fell to the Senators 5-4.
The Penguins gave away five pairs of tickets to folks who were on the lawn to watch the big screen… though they saw a loss, the lucky winners of the tickets were thrilled!
The PG has a great photo gallery posted that does a nice job of showing all that surrounded last night’s game…
Joe Starkey is one of the best writers in the city of Pittsburgh… he does a great job of getting his point across without seeming arrogant and always tells it like it is. Here he points out that Marc Andre Fleury, though not the biggest issue last night, needs to be better for his team.
Cory Clouston and Dan Bylsma have a rivalry that goes all the way back to the AHL… not unlike many of the players on these two teams. Both sides feature multiple players and coaches that have been part a rivalry that not only runs through Pittsburgh/Ottawa, but Wilkes Barre-Scranton/Binghampton.
Brian Boucher played like it was 1996 as he led the Flyers to a 2-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. That now makes it 6 of 7 for the Flyers over the division rival Devils.
The Yotes kept things rolling with a win over the Detroit Red Wings last night. It was awesome to see playoff hockey back in the Desert!
The Colorado Avalanche found a way to take a 1-0 lead against the San Jose Sharks in their first round series. Though he lost, Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov did everything in his power to keep his team in the game all night long.
Eric Tangradi, the Penguins top prospect, is brimming with confidence upon his return to the AHL. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him be a huge contributor to the baby Pens run, before coming up as part of the taxi squad for the parent Penguins later this spring.
I rarely hide my love for Brian Burke. He is one of, if not my favorite personality in the National Hockey League. He doesn’t beat around the bush, always tells it like it is and is straight with everyone from his players to the media. He held his season wrap up press conference yesterday and as usual, told it like it is!
Dean Lombardi is finally seeing the fruits of his labor in this year’s Kings team. The squad is ripe with talent that he picked and cultivated in the NHL entry draft or brought in through trades and free agency.
The Tyler Myers express has been rolling all season long, gathering him plenty of support as a strong candidate for this year’s Calder Trophy. That express is about to roll into the playoffs for the first time and all eyes will be on the young blueliner…
Hossa is hoping that the third time the charm for he and the Stanley Cup Finals this year as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Keith Yandle had one heck of a season and he turned that into a great playoff debut for the Coyotes last night!