Yes,<strong>adidas Jeff Carter jersey</strong>, an upset of the Capitals is possible. Four of the last 11 Presidents' Trophy winners didn't get out of the first round.
I’m picking the Maple Leafs to win their first-round playoff series against the Washington Capitals for a lot of reasons — for one,<strong>adidas Zach Parise jersey</strong>, possibly because I’m a desperate and
nearly penniless sports bettor who also had Jordan Spieth in the green jacket, Duke in the Final Four and Hillary in the White House.
Favourites? Right now they’re not my favourite.
not because I know they’re going to win,<strong>authentic Ryan Suter jersey</strong>, but because I know this: The idea that the Capitals are prohibitive,So I’m picking the Leafs,<strong>adidas Shea Weber jersey</strong>, can’t-lose overdogs — the idea that
they ought to be considered a Cup-or-bust outfit that will hoist Lord Stanley’s mug or be deemed a failure — ignores much of what we’ve learned in recent history.
the Capitals are the league’s best team as measured by regular-season record,Yes, winning the Presidents’ Trophy for the third time in the Alex Ovechkin era. But we should
know by now that the Presidents’ Trophy is to playoff success what the president’s Twitter account is to cool-headed statesmanship — not often synonymous.
Eleven teams have won the Presidents’ Trophy since the lockout that killed the 2004-05 season. Only two of those 11 have won the Stanley Cup. That’s an 18% conversion rate
when it comes to turning the league’s best record over 82 games into a championship in the salary-cap era. That’s not so great.
Less great? Four times in the past 11 seasons, the team with the NHL’s best regular-season point total has been eliminated in the first round. That means the underdogs are
batting .363 when it comes to launching the so-called Stanley Cup favourites into oblivion.
” said Leafs veteran Brian Boyle,“It really is hard to explain, speaking of the NHL’s penchant for first-round Goliath-smashing. “Sometimes the eighth seed really isn’t the
eighth seed. Maybe they had some injuries or made some trades. Teams change. Teams grow. Young teams get better.”
None of that proves anything, of course. But it does strongly suggest the young-and-getting-better Maple Leafs aren’t as massive a long shot as some would have you believe.
Have the Capitals been a more formidable team than the Maple Leafs over the past six months? Well, yeah. Their record says so. But what’s that worth? That’s the question
nobody can answer. The nature of hockey just doesn’t really allow it to be answered.
as veteran, as experienced, crumble before. It happens,“You’ve seen teams that are as good (as the Capitals),” Connor Carrick, the ex-Capitals defenceman now playing for
Toronto, was saying Wednesday. “That’s hockey. It’s a hard game. One thing can change a series. An injury. A call. One game . . .”
One game. Game One. And imagine what happens if the Maple Leafs find a way to win. Let’s say Toronto’s defensive corps rises to the challenge. Let’s say Toronto’s young guns
” as Leafs coach Mike Babcock sometimes likes to brag. Let’s say Martin Marincin,get their “five a night, who’ll be in the lineup for the first time in about a month
doesn’t turn out to be the liability some feel he can be. Or even if Marincin does turn out to be the rusty mess you’d expect,<strong>adidas Ryan Suter jersey</strong>,replacing the still-injured Nikita Zaitsev, let
’s say goaltender Frederik Andersen brings forth a game plucked from his best stuff to paper over the cracks. The Leafs have used that recipe many times this season. All of it
’s doable and fathomable.
if the Leafs win, Washington’s hockey audience gets apoplectic. Suddenly all of Washington’s doubters will be in here-we-go-again mode,And yet, because the Ovechkin Capitals,<strong>authentic Jeff Carter jersey</strong>,
for all their promise, have either lost in the first round or missed the playoffs in an amazing six of Ovechkin’s 11 previous seasons with the club. Lose another and the
Twitterer-in-Chief might be giving his D.C. neighbours the Meryl Streep treatment. Overrated. Losers. Sad.
all it takes is one game,<strong>authentic Devan Dubnyk jersey</strong>,” Carrick said. “You win one game,<strong>authentic Shea Weber jersey</strong>,<strong>adidas Devan Dubnyk jersey</strong>, and now you see a crack. And you understand,“Once you’re in the playoffs, ‘OK, if I can just carbon-copy that
three more times . . .’ ”
Mike Babcock has spent time this week talking about the great Red Wings team he coached back in 2005-06 — a team that won a league-best 58 regular-season games before it was
bounced in the first round by the Edmonton Oilers. Babcock has spoken about how the expectations of great things can produce the “pucker factor.” That’s “pucker,<strong>authentic Zach Parise jersey</strong>,” as in
“to become constricted,” or “to shrivel.” That’s no doubt part of what’s happened to the four Presidents’ Trophy-winning teams that have lost in the first round in the
past 11 years.
So there’s the pucker factor. And then there’s the puck-stopper factor. That Babcock-coached Red Wings team was captained by Steve Yzerman and stacked with Hall of Famers,
among them Leafs president Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios and Nick Lidstrom. And yet it was Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson who proved to be the most important player in the
but they couldn’t finish around the net occupied by Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller,The 2008-09 San Jose Sharks finished first overall, who put up a .957 save percentage and two
shutouts in that toppling.
The Presidents’ Trophy-winning Vancouver Canucks of 2011-2012 were out-Quicked, with L.A. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick allowing just eight goals against in five games. And the
2009-10 Capitals that had the NHL’s best record and exited in the opening round; Montreal’s netminder Jaroslav Halak and his .939 series save percentage made that happen.
That’s not to say something like it is going to happen here, but why couldn’t Andersen join that group of disrupters?
six years on, is that their own goaltender, Braden Holtby, has so far proven to be a superior playoff performer,The difference for the Capitals, too. Still, hockey is fleeting
and ever-changing. Last year the Leafs finished last overall. This year they’ve got a chance to eliminate first overall. That they’ve travelled such a distance in a matter of
12 months tells you everything you need to know about the thinness of the margins in this business.
other than some random happening you probably can’t foresee. When nothing’s certain,That’s not to say anybody actually knows what’s going to happen, everything’s
foreseeable — even the Maple Leafs moving on to the second round. Don’t bet on it for anything other than recreational purposes, of course. But don’t dismiss it as
|Free forum by Nabble||Edit this page|