by Patrick Hoffman on 04/01/11 at 09:00 AM ET
Terry Mercury of NHL Home Ice, the best sports channel on XM/Sirius, was kind enough to take time out of his busy hockey schedule to talk to us about concussions, Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke and of course, the NHL Playoff Races.
PH: How do you think the NHL will handle the concussion issue now that some rules have been put in place? Do you think they’ll work?
TM: Any rules designed to deal with concussions are a good idea. I know the league will follow those rules to the law…especially now that they’re dealing with a “Superstar” getting injured…instead of a third or fourth-liner…or a goon.
PH: What place do you think Pittsburgh Penguins’ forward Matt Cooke has in the NHL? Do you think he will finally learn his lesson or will it fall upon deaf ears?
TM: I think he’s definitely learned his lesson…but what made it sink in what his meeting with Mario Lemieux. He knows that even his owner won’t back him if it happens again…so he knows he’s on the bubble.
PH: What do you think about the playoff races this season? Which stands out as the most intriguing to you? Why?
TM: The playoff races are great. It’s giving hockey fans something to watch and talk about right down to the final week of the season.
I love the race in the West better because which ever teams do make it…I think those teams will have a better chance of pulling a first round upset.
PH: If you had a crystal ball, which eight teams would you see making the playoffs in each conference come April? Why?
TM: East: Philadelphia….Washington….Boston…..Pittsburgh….Tampa Bay….Montreal….Buffalo….Carolina…
West: Vancouver….San Jose….Detroit…..Phoenix….Los Angeles….Anaheim…..Nashville….Chicago…
Top four teams in each division are simply the best…while the bottom four were the ones whose goaltending helped them survive the races to the playoffs.
PH: Any other thoughts you’d like to share with Kukla’s Korner readers?
TM: These playoffs could be the most unpredicatable we’ve had in years…especially in the West….where the bottom four are quite capable of knocking off any of the top four in a tight…physical series.
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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.