Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 04/27/13 at 08:05 AM ET
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
In the Eastern Conference, the three worst teams last year, the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Islanders and the Toronto Maple Leafs, all unexpectedly qualified for the playoffs. Over in the West, last year’s 13th-place team, the Anaheim Ducks, made it, too, while the 15th-ranked Columbus Blue Jackets – the absolute worst team a year ago – were in the playoff hunt as the regular season comes to an end this weekend.
Meanwhile, two of last year’s Stanley Cup semi-finalists, the New Jersey Devils and the Phoenix Coyotes, will be on the outside looking in, when the playoffs begin Tuesday.
It was a topsy-turvy year, when up was down, and about the only thing anybody could agree upon was how good the Penguins were, even before trading-deadline deals that brought in the likes of Jarome Iginla, Brenden Morrow, Jussi Jokinen and Douglas Murray. The Penguins were already ripping their way through the schedule, without their highly regarded reinforcements. How good could they be when all their injured parties – Crosby, James Neal and Paul Martin – returned?
But if the past teaches you anything, having the best team on paper at the start of the playoffs is not the same thing as celebrating a Stanley Cup championship two months later. The playoffs are a two-month marathon, and once in a while, a team can come out of nowhere and catch lightning in a bottle.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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