Sigh. This was one hell of a bumpy ride for fans of just about every team in the NHL Playoffs. There were 14 Overtimes - 2 of them in Game 7 between the most heated rivalries of the Round. Here is my recap of Round 1 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
I have say this is a tie between the Canadiens-Bruins and the Blackhawks-Canucks. The games between the Habs and Bruins were much closer and more of a dogfight every night which made it exciting. However, the Canucks falling asleep in Games 4 and 5 and bringing their series against the Hawks to the brink of complete collapse and then grinding it out in OT in Game 7 makes it equally as compelling.
I guess if you put a gun to my head I would have to say the Canucks-Hawks was the best series, but I was at Game 7 and I'm a Canucks fan so.... my fiance (A Habs fan) would argue I'm sure.
I guess the Coyotes and Wings was a bit of a disappointment. I expected more of a fight from the Yotes, after all they had put up a much bigger one last year in the same match-up. Coyotes had it in them, but just couldn't find it in time. Honorable mention should go to the Anaheim - Predators match-up because anyone with a white hot scorer like Corey Perry should have advanced.
Best Playoff Beard
Another tie here. First I have to give props to Dan Hamhuis of the Vancouver Canucks (see top photo). He's got a beautiful baby face normally but the addition of a little scruff (that grows much more evenly than other baby faces like Sidney Crosby) makes him uber-sexy.
The person who ties him - Jordan Staal. Why? because he's Jordan Freaking Staal and with the Pens gone, I won't be able to say his name again on this blog so... Jordan Staal. But seriously folks, he went from zero to Amish in 7 games - and made it look hot. If you can make Amish look hot, you win Best Playoff Beard. End of Story.
Worst Playoff Beard
Shea Weber. The dude already looks like he's part sasquatch. It scares me. By the end of the 2nd round his whole face will be hair. He's going to have to shave eyeholes so he can see.
Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis bitching to the media about the refs not calling penalties thereby not giving his team enough Power Plays. Game 7 - Canucks get a Power Play and Jonathan Toews scores a shorthanded goal. That's Irony at its painful best folks.
Hands-down Alexandre Burrows of the Vancouver Canucks. What makes him the biggest hero is that he also almost became the biggest goat. He scores the first goal, then failed to score in a penalty shot, takes a penalty in OT, scores the winning goal. He should get his own damn Disney movie.
Anti Niemi. Yes the Sharks advanced but it wasn't from his lack of his trying to stop them. He was pulled twice in 3 games. He also had the worst save percentage (.863) of any starter in Round 1, and a lame 3.99 goals-against average.
Let's be honest, there was a lot of dirty hits in all series. Too many. Torres, Bickell, Kunitz, Downie, etc. But the team that, in my opinion, played the dirtiest every night - with consistency - the Boston Bruins. I have never seen one team take so many dirty shots. A shoulder to the head, another face into the stanchion, and even a middle finger to the crowd. The only thing sicker than watching them play like that was watching their Rabid Ostrich of a captain chug a freaking coca-cola in the middle of the game. Barf.