Some tight-checking, defensive hockey over the weekend, including the rise of a player I’ve never been a particular fan of.
- Say what you want about his diving and his off-ice antics, but Sean Avery has been playing excellent hockey for the New York Rangers, in many cases being their best player on a given night. I’ll never be a fan, but props to his remarkable playoff performance so far.
- The Red Wings surprised me on Saturday. I thought for sure that San Jose had asserted themselves, but the play of much-travelled Dan Cleary has them tied in a series I thought was definitely going the Sharks’ way.
- It was close, but I think the video judges made an error on the disputed goal at MSG yesterday. The calls, in general, have been very odd in that series, and in the Sabres’ favor. I’m not an indulger in conspiracies, and I don’t think there’s any bias in the officiating, just some bad calls are being made, and they’re being called on the Rangers. The Sabres are a skilled, fast team, and that creates opportunities for the refs to call a penalty with only a split-second to make a decision. Buffalo Coach Lindy Ruff complaining about the officiating was out-of-line, if predictable.
- Zubrus has really been throwing the body this series, though his hit on Jagr looked a little low to me.
- I’ve liked Jonathan Cheechoo’s effort in the Detroit series.
- Anaheim is big, physical, and skilled. Vancouver did a fantastic job stealing a game from them, but I can’t see them taking it from the Ducks. The Canucks got good games from Luongo, the Sedins and Naslund and still lost. That doesn’t bode well.
- Martin Broduer looked like his old self on Saturday, which is bad news for Ottawa. The series is too close for me to strongly favor either team, but goaltending makes and breaks playoff series.
A fun hockey weekend, and it’s always nice when there’s an early game and an evening game, so you can catch both without staying up to 1 am. Back to the late-night grind tonight.