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article imageOP-Ed: More Deep Thoughts On The NHL Playoffs

By Nawest Vazquez     Apr 29, 2008 in Sports
It's time for more deep thoughts on the NHL playoffs. In this installment we look at Carey Price's struggles, Darian Hatcher's foolishness, Johan Franzen's coming out party, and the Dallas Stars' incredible play.
Do you hear that? Over in la belle provence? That's the collective "Uh-Oh" coming from the good folks in Montreal after Carey Price channeled his inner Andrew Raycroft last night in Philadelphia, allowing three goals on only 12 shots.
More and more is Price beginning to look like the 20-year-old kid he is. The pressure in the Stanley Cup playoffs is immense and Philadelphia is a tough building to play in.
Here's what I wrote back on April 3: "I think, and hope, the Canadiens end up regretting trading (Cristobal) Huet instead of keeping him as insurance for the playoffs."
Dreams, my friends, can come true. With the Flyers now up two-to-one over Montreal, I can't help but think of Happy Gilmore headbutting Bob Barker and telling him: "The price is wrong, bitch." Best. Cameo. Appearance. Ever.
Still on the Flyers/Habs series, is Darian Hatcher not the biggest doofus in the NHL? His hit from behind on Francis Bouillon was bush-league and typical of the Philadelphia Flyers. But it takes a special type of moron to do it in the third period with his team up three-nothing. Hatcher single-handedly got the Canadiens back into the game and while I hate both teams equally, a part of me was hoping the Habs would tie it up, and even win it in overtime, so Hatcher could feel like even more of an idiot. What a douche bag. I hate Hatcher.
Above a video called "Hitler Loves the Flyers" courtesy of Slap Shot, the New York Times hockey blog. It was made after the Habs won game one of their series with Philadelphia so while the shots at Martin Biron are clearly unwarranted today, the numerous disses thrown at Danielle Briere are simply amazing. The video is golden. Enjoy!
Seriously, how does Detroit do it? Johan Franzen, aka "The Mule," is tied for the NHL playoff goal-scoring lead with seven goals in only eight games.
So, uh, who the hell is this guy? Franzen scored 27 goals in the regular season to go along with only 11 assists. Eight of those goals were game-winners and 14 came on the power play. The guy's a sniper. To close out the regular season, Franzen scored 15 goals in Detroit's final 16 games. He's picked up right where he left off in the playoffs.
I must admit that I knew Franzen was poised for a breakout season. I picked him in the last round of my keeper league fantasy hockey pool. Sure, I dropped him after he opened the season with only one goal in 17 games, but, well, that's besides the point. I still knew.
Franzen is the next player on the long list of successful late Detroit Red Wings draft picks. He was chosen in the third round, 97th overall back in 2004.
The others? Pavel Datsyuk, drafted in the sixth round, 171st overall in 1998. Nicklas Lidstrom, drafted in the third round, 53rd overall way back in 1989. Dude's had a pretty good career, hasn't he? Valtteri Filppula, who scored 19 goals this season, was chosen in the third round, 95th overall in 2002. Look for him to have a Franzen-type breakout season next year. Tomas Holmstrom, drafted in the 10th round, 257th overall back in 1994, has forged a nice little career for himself. And, of course, Henrik Zetterberg, drafted in the 7th round, 210th overall in 1999, is only one of the NHLs best players.
Unbelievable, eh? Detroit's scouting and drafting department is the best in the NHL, no contest. If the Toronto Maple Leafs are serious about winning a Stanley Cup they should buy the Detroit scouting staff and get Ken Holland over here asap.
Sean Avery has officially transcended hockey. Here's a piece about him in The New Yorker.
Speaking of douche-baggery, here's an article I've been wanting to share for a long time, courtesy of The New York Times, on the timeless art of the face wash.
Is it time to officially give the Dallas Stars some respect? First they shoot down the defending champion Anaheim Ducks in five games and then they go into San Jose and win games one and two on the road. Yeah, I think some respectage is due.
Dan Myers over at Penalty Shots thinks the Leafs should be considering, get ready for this one, Bobby Clarke for the general manager position. Clarke's career record as a GM is a sparkling 714-443-199. It's tough to argue with that record, but it's not tough to argue that Clarke is a serious douche who left one hell of a mess behind in Philadelphia. While we do have what Clarke never did in Philly - a goalie - I just don't see it happening.
The Toronto Marlies are moving on to the second round of the AHL playoffs thanks to an ugly goal by Bates Battaglia with only a minute to go in game seven last night. While I'm still losing sleep over the fact that Justin Pogge is not in net for the Marlies, Scott Clemmensen was great yesterday, making 33 saves to ensure the victory. He's keeping the hopes of a parade alive in the city of Toronto. Sad, I know, but it's all we've got.
Speaking of Toronto, when did we become the "City of Champions"? I thought Edmonton held that title? Did I miss the memo or something, because I sure as hell haven't missed any championships.
I ask because Damien Cox wrote a blog post entitled "A Tradition of, Um, Something" in which he took the city's sports teams to task for, well, sucking. He took shots at the Leafs (of course), the Toronto Rock, some OHL teams no one gives a damn about, the Raptors, Marlies, Blue Jays, and Toronto FC. Basically, anything and everything MLSE related. It's just Cox being Cox, you know, in his tradition of, um, bad sports writing.
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