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21 April 2007

So long, farewell, the Islanders and Predators are gooonne!

So long! Farewell! Auf wierdesehen, goodbye!

From the classic "Sound of Music"

And that little line perfectly tells us fans what happened to two teams yesterday night, as the battle for Lord Stanley's Cup is getting narrowed down.

First off, those New York Islanders...tss, tss...the Islanders drop Game 5 last night in Buffalo, 4-3 and they have been eliminated from the playoffs.
It wasn't too unexpected, although, many thought this would be a sure sweep.

The Islanders played a good series and you can see the potential that this team has, the potential to be an even better team.
What I'm wondering come they haven't become a better team?

I'd like to the Islanders become kind of like the Rangers, in terms of progress, and make a run for the division next year.
The Rangers have been improving ever since their pre-lockout (sad...) laughstock and the Islanders should do the same.
Well, not this year, since New York didn't even finish 10 points above the Isles, but I'm also thinking about last season, when the Rangers were making a serious run to win the Atlantic.

Not saying the Isles are a laughstock, but, they're just...the same, the same as they were before the lockout.
Make the playoffs, as the 8th seed, lose to the Lightning or the Sabres in 5 games.
And it could be even tougher to win the Atlantic Division, with teams like New Jersey, Pittsburgh, their cross-town foes and possibly the reinstatement of the Flyers, might make the Atlantic Division the best in all of hockey.

It didn't help the Islanders that Sean Hill wasn't in the lineup, after he was awarded a 20-game suspension for taking "performance-enhancing drugs", or as the NHL likes to call it, "substance-abuse".

I'd also to commend Ted Nolan's fantastic work behind the bench, he has been by far better than his predecessors and he probably deserves the Jack Adams award, he's been that great...
His team played, in the final month of the season, as if all their games were Game 7, as if they all counted (they did) should they make the playoffs or not.

I also congratulate Rick DiPietro for doing his best in goal, even after his return from injury, and his backup Wade Dubielewicz, who has earned himself a roster spot next year and potentially 10-15 starts behind DiPietro.
Dubie also got them there down the stretch, but it was DiPietro who carried the team on his back for the most of the season before getting injured.

Garth Snow surprised everyone in his rookie year, and made some good moves, most notably getting Ryan Smyth.
Who says a backup goalie can't be a GM? He knows the players better than a GM, he's PLAYED against them!

The Sabres were just overmatching them in every category.

Even in goal, when Ryan Miller made a spectacular save in the dying seconds of Game 5 with his hand, and blindly!

"I panicked,"said Miller,"and luckily I got a hold of it!"

The Islanders haven't gotten past this round since 1993.
That's about 14 years!

And the Preds go down...again.

I know the Preds are still a "young" team in terms of longetivity in the NHL, but, I am beginning to wonder if the label "choke" should be associated with them?

03/04: Lost to Red Wings in quarter finals 2-4
05/06: Lost to Sharks in quarter finals 1-4
06/07: Lost to Sharks in quarter finals 1-4

It's also funny that it's been San Jose knocking them off, and the way things looked between the teams in this series, it could be the start of a nice new rivalry.

I just don't understand...yes, San Jose is a very good team, but the Predators are supposed to be better!

When, when will Nashville finally show they can play in the regular season, and advance in the playoffs?

They have the team, they got Forsberg for chrisssakes! They got Arnott, Kariya, Vokoun, quality d-men, a scary offense!
Their team has been constantly progressing, from 91 points, to 106 points, to 110 points, what's next? 120 points and getting swept from the first round?

The Sharks will most probably face the Red Wings in round 2, should the latter drop the series to Calgary.

Patrick Marleau scored with under 5 minutes remaining to put away a vastly improved Predators team.

"We kept putting our fingers on the stove, and we got burnt by it," said Nashville coach Barry Trotz."

And says his job may be in jeopardy, since the team's dropped 3 straight quarterfinal series.

I say no, Trotz is a great coach and there's no way they can get rid of him, not after the way he's made his team better, but they haven't made themselves any better by losing again last night, 3-2 against San Jose.
Then again, if Julien gets fired on the verge of a hundred point season, so can Trotz.

sigh, this is really an enigma.

Or maybe it was that Tomas Vokoun wasn't as good as he should've been, or simply Evgeni Nabokov was better.

Or maybe it was just meant to be.

Happy golfing Preds!

-The Devils shut out Tampa 3-0 on home ice and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Martin Brodeur finally played a good game after allowing a few weaks goals in the previous games.

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