Holy sch-nike! My apologies: life has been swamped for the whole month of May, and June might yield some more space and time for some important updates.
#2 Boston v. #5 Tampa Bay: Boston in 7 (my prediction: Boston in 6). Look out: finally, a goalie got hot, and what a great time for that to happen: Tim Thomas is stellar. Give the Bolts- and their “rookie” GM, Steve Yzerman- tons of credit for some really game play, and stretching the series in ways that no one expected. Meanwhile, Boston could’ve-should’ve put this series away much sooner, were it not for an abysmal power-play percentage. I can look up the number, but you might get ill reading it: club hockey teams should be permitted to play for the Bruins when they get a man-advantage. Their upcoming foe, Vancouver, has nothing to worry about if they take penalties.
#1 Vancouver v. #2 San Jose: Canucks in 6 (my prediction: Sharks in 7). What a bummer. You hate to be a whiner about officiating when you’re on the losing end of a series, but the Canucks were always up an extra two men on the ice in this series. The zebras really did a great job of keeping Vancouver in this series. Just pathetic officiating. (But: see here for an interesting take on how to complain with dignity.) Meanwhile, the Sharks stopped attacking the goal as they had against LA and Detroit: and that tilted the ice toward Antti Niemi. It’s one thing to say “We’ve got a Cup-winning goalie!” and it’s another thing to actually play defense and offense that keeps the other team’s goalie honest. Face it: if you don’t play defense, you won’t win. Dan Boyle put it best: “This series was ours to lose: we were the better team.” So true. But, the goal the Sharks lost on- in double OT!- indicates that the Sharks really did not believe they had to play whistle to whistle: maybe they weren’t the better team after all.