by Patrick Hoffman on 05/01/11 at 05:44 PM ET
PH: Overall, what did you think of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs? Any players or teams surprise/disappoint you? Why?
TM: The first round was every bit as competitive as I thought it would be. I’m one of the few people who wasn’t surprised that Chicago could come back against Vancouver…the Stanley Cup champs don’t usually go down without a fight. Like that Roberto Luongo came up big in Game 7. Not surprised that Boston finally took their series with Montreal. You go up 2-0 and then lose two in a row at home…you invite the opposition to get back into the series. Was pleasantly surprised by Buffalo…and felt totally bad for Phoenix. Imagine having to face Detroit in the first round…and also have to deal with people telling you you’re headed to Winnipeg when you get eliminated. It was unfair that the Coyotes couldn’t just focus on their battle with Detroit. Was pleasantly surprised by P.K. Subban and Lars Eller in Montreal….was shocked at how ineffective Milan Lucic was for Boston. San Jose looked really good against Los Angeles….but that being said…the Kings sure didn’t look like one of the up-and-coming young teams in the league.
PH: In your opinion, why do you think the Canucks struggled to beat the Blackhawks in the first round? How big of a first step for the Canucks was their series victory?
TM: See above for part A…the Hawks were the champs and they weren’t going down without a fight. The Canucks getting past Chicago was penultimate for their playoff success. Now they know they can weather just about any storm and come out ahead. That being said…they’re in for another battle against Nashville.
PH: What did you think of all the Game 7’s in the first round? Do you think that these games were able to reel in the casual hockey fans? Why or why not?
TM: If you couldn’t get excited by the game 7’s in the first round you’re just not a hockey fan. Every game saw teams going right at each other. There was no sitting back and waiting for an opportunity….the teams went right for the throat and it was some thrilling hockey.
PH: What are your predictions for the second round?
TM: Boston over Philadelphia in 7…..Washington over Tampa Bay in 6…San Jose over Detroit in 6…..Vancouver over Nashville in 6.
PH: Any other thoughts you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
TM: You can complain all you like about “parity”...but I like the thought that it’s a much more wide-open field in the battle for the Stanley Cup. With more teams with a legitimate shot at the Cup…it can only mean more interest in the NHL…and that’s not a bad thing.
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Patrick has a tremendous passion for hockey. Besides covering the Rangers and the NHL for Kukla's Korner, you can also find Patrick's work over at Sportsnet.ca, The Red Light District Hockey Blog, NHL Home Ice, and Liam Maguire's Ultimate Hockey web site.
Prior to writing for the above mentioned outlets, you could find Patrick's musings at hockey web sites/outlets such as TheHockeyNews.com, TheFourthPeriod.com, Spector's Hockey, Hokeja Vestnesis, Blueshirt Bulletin, SNYRangersBlog.com and many more.
For questions, comments and hip checks, feel free to e-mail Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.