The Good The Bad and Who’s Left

Daniel Sedin and Jonathan Quick after the Canucks first round ouster
at the hands of the LA Kings.
(Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

This is a weekly feature that will highlight The Good, The Bad and The *fill in the blank* exciting things that are currently happening in the NHL. The Canucks are out. The Coyotes have advanced. Let’s be real, there is nothing exciting about this.

The Bad: First Round Eliminations

Yes, it’s the “Bad” section leading this time.

Who predicted that the first round would leave so many top teams defeated? Yeah, probably no one. It’s been a strange couple of weeks since the playoffs started to say the least. Other than the heartbreak and frustration over the Canucks not making it out alive, Detroit, Pittsburgh and even Boston also had their playoff dreams crushed. All before most playoff beards even had a chance to make an appearance. Pittsburgh and Vancouver were favored as teams to meet in the Finals. Oh familiar disappointment, how bitter you taste!

For the Canucks, the Presidents’ Trophy winners, being eliminated (nearly swept) by the eighth seed was not what anyone in Vancouver had in their spring plans. It really sucks, big time. This is not what was supposed to happen. The Canucks were supposed to have a comeback season a la the 09’ Pittsburgh Penguins and go back to the Stanley Cup Finals to win! Roberto Luongo was supposed to prove to everyone that he could overcome his playoff performance demons and finally be hailed a hero in Vancouver. Ryan Kesler was supposed to show us that it didn’t matter that he stopped scoring goals in the regular season and score 50 in the post alone. Daniel Sedin was supposed to come back after his concussion and spark the team towards the ultimate victory. Vancouver was supposed to finally win its first Stanley Cup and I was supposed to ultimately see a parade.

But no, our bleeding hearts were ripped out once again. At least we have all those years of practice in dealing with such grievous disappointment, right? Now we’ll look back and dissect what went wrong. Again. Mike Gillis already filled in some of the gaps but going forward there will be implications that will be hard to face.

The Good: It’s there … somewhere

It’s been a few day and the reality has sunk in. It’s hard not to be upset but let’s try to see the (very minimal) good that will come from no longer being in the playoffs. For one, think of all the money we will save from not going out to watch the games. I ran up a pretty high Visa bill last spring from frequenting my local pub every game night, and though it made me a favorite patron to the establishment, it was ridiculously absurd. You know what else happens when you drink beer? You gain weight. This year, I am buying new running shoes instead.

Also, think of how much more productive we will all be at work since there will be no need to come up with excuses to leave early in order to catch the game, or call in sick due to a hangover. Our bosses will love us, as will our non-hockey fan friends. We can have stress free conversations with our family members that are not based on how terribly biased the NHL referees are. We’ll have time for vacations without having to worry about missing games. And, if we really need it, as a last resort, at least we can feel good that the Canucks ended the regular season ahead of all the other teams. Though in all honesty, I could not care less if the Canucks win another Presidents Trophy ever again. Maybe next year we can just fast forward to the playoffs.

Who Is Left …

I am a hockey fan, but I am a Canucks fan first so at this point I am not emotionally invested in who will advance further and win the Stanley Cup. I guess it’s kind of liberating to just watch hockey with no risk of hyperventilating. Who am I kidding, it’s boring as hell. So who do we have that is mildly interesting? The two teams from this season’s 24/7 are still in it; the Flyers and their animated goaltender have advanced while the fate of the Rangers (boo) as of today is still undecided. The St. Louis Blues, who finished third overall, are continuing on but we have seen that anything can happen in the playoffs and that regular season performance does not guarantee post season success.

Did anyone think back in January that the LA Kings would annihilate the Canucks in the playoffs? No, we would have laughed and made more Dustin Penner jokes. If you would have told me that the Phoenix Coyotes would eliminate the Chicago Blackhawks, well I probably would have applauded them then too. Still, I’m curious to see how far they make it and what, if any, impact it will have on the franchise next season. Now just for fun and based on absolutely nothing, I am going to say that the Blues beat the Kings and the Predators beat the Coyotes in round 2. As for the east …. Flyers and Capitals. I am probably totally wrong but hey, it’s just for fun. Not like I have anything invested in the outcome. Thanks a lot, hockey gods.