Suddenly, the market crashed: A graphic guide to the 1st round

Suddenly, the market crashed

Well, that was quick, wasn’t it?

Heck, the Canucks dropped out of the first round faster than it’s taken me to do this recap. Ok, maybe not. But it’s close.

I suppose we should look on the bright side. I mean, at least we didn’t lose our shirts this time around. This time, it was quick and painless. No, wait. That was last year. I guess this year it was Niemi and painless?

Anyway, the point is that the emotional investment just wasn’t there this time around. That’s a good thing, because most of us are probably still emotionally bankrupt after 2011. I mean, can you imagine if we were Leafs’ fans?

There’s a fanbase that’s been saving up for nine years. They finally got back into the playoffs and tried so hard to be prudent investors, but it wasn’t long before they moved on from the penny stocks to bet it all on what they thought were blue chip prospects only to run into a bear market. Almost makes you feel sorry for them.


I’m not trying to be callous, just that they already feel sorry enough for themselves that it’s not really going to help anybody to join in. I’ll give Leafs’ fans that: they’ve perfected the art of taking all the joy out of making fun of the Leafs. We could learn a thing or two on this front.

Anyway, back to the Leafs/Bruins series. There’s quite a few narratives out there in the mainstream media about just why the Leafs wound up losing that epic seventh game, but one stands out above the rest:

The worst lead in hockey

Only slightly worse is being up 2-0 in a series. Sigh.

There was one other interesting aspect to the Game 7 seven match-up between the Leafs and Bruins. It seems that the Toronto media finally got a new perspective on the way Boston plays the game, and on how it feels when the referees let them do it with impunity. Guess I missed the memo saying it was now ok to criticize the horrid officiating in the NHL.

Now, to be clear, I’m not saying the referees are corrupt or trying to ensure one team advances or another does not. That type of organized corruption would require a level of competence that NHL referees just don’t have:

NHL officials are too inept to pull off being corrupt

No, the referees are not biased. They are the one thing they really shouldn’t be, horribly inconsistent:

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean the officiating doesn't suck

Oh, I should point out, however, that Kelly Sutherland is horribly consistent.

Fans, of course, are incredibly biased, but isn’t that the whole point, really?

This inherent bias of fans was no more evident than in the Montreal/Ottawa series, which featured the unfortunate collision between Ottawa defenseman Eric Gryba and Montreal forward Lars Eller. How you saw that hit is entirely dependent on your biases as a hockey fan. I call it an unfortunate collision because I have little invested in either of these two teams, and tried to view it as objectively as I could. And to me, it looked like a hockey play with an unlucky ending.

Heck, if you watch the opening montage for the first game of the Bruins/Leafs series, there’s at least three hits in there that could have ended just as tragically:

Unfortunately, in today’s NHL, optics is everything, so Brendan Shanahan and the Dept. of Player Safety had to get invoived based solely on the fact that Eller suffered a horrible injury. And if there’s one thing we know about how the NHL rules governing blind side hits, principle points of contact and suplemental discipline are written and subject to interpretation, it’s that either way, somebody was going to get screwed:

NHL rule book could be a NY Times best seller

Hmmm, maybe the NHL should publish their rule book. It’s got NY Times best seller written all over it.

Montreal was never really the same after the incident. Not only were they without Lars Eller, but they pretty much came unglued and were distracted with avenging his injury and the poor officiating in general. To be fair, by the end of the series, Montreal was decimated by injuries to a number of regulars, including forwards Alexei Emelin and Brandon Prust, starting goalie Carey Price and captain Brian Gionta.

In a bit of a public relations disaster, Habs’ coach Michel Therrien had an interesting choice of words to describe Gionta’s reaction to learning that his season was done: “When he heard the news, our captain was crying in my arms.

Now, as I’m sure you guessed, everyone and they’re uncle jumped all over this as some sign of weakness, lack of manliness, whatever. But look, this isn’t baseball, where we have to live up to some idealized, Hollywood version of a sport that is so wrapped up in Americanness that it’s synonymous with motherhood and apple pie. So, yeah, maybe there’s no crying in baseball, but then again, hockey doesn’t let you on the 15-day disabled list because you have a boo-boo on your finger, either:  

There's no hangnails in hockey

Montreal wasn’t the only team to be missing their starting goalie by the end of their first round series.

Not sure if it was an act of God, or just that the prospect of facing the Hawks put the fear of God into him, but Minnesota lost Nik Backstrom to a sports hernia during the warm-up before Game 1 and had to go with Josh Harding. At the other end of the spectrum, Alain Vigneault decided he wanted to alienate Roberto Luongo even further, and went with Corey Schneider, who was still nursing a sports hernia of his own.

Not sure what the logic was there. Maybe it was just Vigneault’s way to force the issue and ensure that he didn’t have to deal with the distraction of two No. 1 goalies again next year. Not sure if this made a Luongo trade any more likely, but either way, I think he got his wish:

Alain Vigneault should change his initials to PV

Finally, I must touch on the Pittsburgh Penguins, who actually would have benefitted from an injury to their starting goaltender. Unfortunately, the Hockey Gods did not smile upon them, and the only reason they escaped an embarrasing first round loss to the New York Islanders was that Dan Bylsma finally had the sense to start Tomas Vokoun.

Pittsburgh may score goals in bunches, but they give them up in flurries:

Flurries with a chance of Vokoun

Ok, that wraps up my review of the first round. But I just wanted to circle back to the top for one last point.

I started this whole thing off talking about emotional investment, and that really is what makes us hockey fans. Over at The Leafs Nation, Cam Charron finished off his recap of the reactions to the Game 7 loss thusly:


If you’re a sports fan, "hope" is the worst. Hope turns into "expectations", and "expectations" except for a single fanbase, turns into "heartbreak". "Hope" sucks.


And he’s absolutely right. Inevitably, those expectations meet reality. And for seven of the eight fanbases left out there, the agony will only get worse.

So yes, I’m actually glad that if the Canucks had to go, they went out early. I’ve enjoyed the last week of Canuckless playoff hockey quite a bit. It has been entertaining in a way that Canucks’ playoff games are not.

But damn, it’s just not quite the same:





  • KleptoKlown

    It’s not just the emotional investment that wasn’t there, the physical investment wasn’t there either…My playoff beard never grew to that “itchy-scratchy meth addict” phase.

  • KleptoKlown

    Lol! Love the (near) opening comment “This time, it was quick and painless. No, wait. That was last year. I guess this year it was Niemi and painless.”

    Totally wasn’t invested this year either, and dare I say I borderline didn’t care.

  • KleptoKlown

    I don’t understand why Canuck fanboys are such masochists. It’s like someones forcing them with a gun to watch the team choke year after year.

    Maybe I’m old but has it become hip to lose or choke? Can some explain this? Why would anyone want to support a losing franchise? Does supporting a losing system automatically make it a winner? Does supporting a losing franchise make the franchise do better for its fans? It’s safe to say the fanboys are the ones who responsible for keeping this losing regime afloat.

    • KleptoKlown

      If you only want to support winning teams, you pretty much have to change your favourite team every 4,5 years (unless you like the Red Wings, but not even they are what they once were)
      IMO if you’re a fan, you’re a fan! Sure, you can voice your displeasure with what management is doing, but if your investment in the team is solely based on their winning %…

      • KleptoKlown

        Not true. ?You can support a system that embraced accountability and change. You cant the cup every year but it starts from somewhere. Scotty Bowman has said winning the cup and building a winning franchise starts from the owners down to the management to the players. this is a guy who knows how to build winning teams. Look t detroit now, they lost a lot of key players to retirement, and they are STILL in the play offs while the Canucks who were supposed to contend for a cup are on the golf course. If 44 years doesnt open your eyes, I don’t know what will.

        And every year come the same old EXCUSE. Excuses like, oh it’s the leagues fault, it’s the refs fault, its not the players fault or it’s too hard to get a proper GM, it’s too hard to trade for better players ( wonder how they got their crappy players? ) it’s too hard to hire a good coach, it;s too hard to draft…I’ve heard it all before and it never ends with franchises like the Canucks.

        Gretzky once called New jersey a mickey mouse franchise, and they were…but look what happened to them after they got a proper GM and players and coach and a winning system. the Canucks do not have real intentions of winning no stanley cup, it’s a bait and switch scheme to make money that;s all. The only thing they care about is the bottom line, and the fanboys who give them that bottom line will always get what they paid for..which is losing. Their history speaks for itself. Every single Bc born hockey player that was and is any good are playing on any team other than the Canucks, shows you how much this organization hates players that do wanna play here. Forget heart, lets get to Swedish wimps who disappear in the post season year after year. How can any franchise not win with that logic?