Since the NHL seems to insist on being a clown league and making a mockery of their own game by insisting on pursuing this season instead of cancelling it, we will have to go with it. Instead of starting fresh in October, somehow to them, wrecking two seasons instead of one is more appealing, instead of doing the logical and responsible thing of cancelling the rest of this one but hey, what do we know? We’ve only been following this league for our entire life and we’re “just fans”, right? But we don’t have dollars to gain, or dollars to lose so we think with our heads instead of through our deep wallets. Yeah we get it, hockey is a business… but not all businesses are making the right decisions, as it’s the case here.
So since the NHL isn’t taking the game seriously, why should we, as fans? It’s in this frame of mind that I have decided to make some predictions about the first round (or is it ‘qualifying round’… or ‘expanded round’… or ‘expand to include big market teams to hope for interest’ round).
Toronto Maple Leafs (8) vs Columbus Blue Jackets (9)
Call it wishful thinking, call it cheering against the Leafs, it’s all good. Here’s hoping that John Torturella allows us to keep teasing our beloved Leafs’ fans rivals for one more season, while they go pickup their chairs along the long planned parade route.
New York Islanders (7) vs Florida Panthers (10)
The “who cares” series. It’s hard to go against coach Barry Trotz but the Panthers’ coach isn’t too shabby either, having been there a few times before. The Cats have more talent in their line-up so I’ll go with them.
Carolina Hurricanes (6) vs New York Rangers (11)
Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon is scheduled to pay the huge bonus to former Montreal Canadiens Sebastian Aho on July 1st and while doing it, he won’t even benefit from revenues at the gates. Poor, poor puddy tat… Habs’ fans are devastated about the news. I like the Rags in this one. Good mix of youth and veteran leadership.
Pittsburgh Penguins (5) vs Montreal Canadiens (12)
Yeah I know… what kind of Habs’ fan am I? Truth is the Pens loaded up at trade deadline while the Habs unloaded Scandella, Thompson and Kovalchuk. After such a long delay, will Carey Price be the Price of late in the season or the Price of October/November? The defense is still problematic, and so is scoring. Speaking of which, it could be worse if Max Domi can’t play if the risk is too high with his diabetes and COVID-19…
Calgary Flames (8) vs Winnipeg Jets (9)
I like the Jets’ depth and goaltending, although we have to give the edge to the Flames on defense. Which Johnny Gaudreau will we see?
Vancouver Canucks (7) vs Minnesota Wild (10)
Elias Pettersson is fun to watch… but the Wild has too much experience not to get through this series… but I’ve been wrong before, as those who follow me on Twitter!
Nashville Predators (6) vs Arizona Coyotes (11)
The Coyotes are improving and have good young talent, but to go against Pekka Rinne and the Preds’ defense in a playoffs series is not something they’ll enjoy much.
Edmonton Oilers (5) vs Chicago Blackhawks (12)
The Hawks’ experience with the likes of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are tough to go against. Former Habs’ fan favourite Andrew Shaw might be ready to return, a true gamer. Still, I like the Oilers’ speed and top-end skills in this one. Goaltending will be the biggest question mark but Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are hungry.
So… While many of us are hoping that someone at the NHL will wake up and smell the roses, get off the greed drugs that they’re on and do the right thing, it would take something drastic to see them back off from going ahead with their plans. But as I predicted in my last article, that something drastic might just be happening right now, and it’s something they couldn’t predict or count on. Go Habs Go!
CREDIT: The customized logo I used are not mine. They belong to an amazing artist who has done many quality project and I strongly, strongly encourage you to visit him on his Instagram account.