Well, it’s that time of year again – the time when it’s just so much fun to be a hockey fan – the time for some good, old-fashioned playoff hockey.
The race for John Tavares has officially come to a close and the New York Islanders are the winners.
The weaker teams have all been weeded out and we’re now left with the best of the best. The focus shifts from regular season hockey to playoff hockey – which as we all know is a much different game. The passes are crisper, the shots are harder, and the hits are even more lethal. Shootouts are out; sudden death is in. It’s the time of year when there is no room for error, as one minor miscue can completely change the momentum of a game – or a series. Teams either go hard or they go home. Win and you keep playing; lose and you’re sent packing – it’s that simple.
Starting last night, 16 teams embarked on a journey – a quest to claim the most coveted prize in all of hockey: Lord Stanley’s Cup. Sixteen teams will vie for this most holiest of grails; but when the smoke clears and the dust settles, only one will triumphantly raise Stanley’s Cup and be crowned champions.
It is without question the opportunity of a lifetime. And as each year the CBC so movingly reminds us, for some, “The chance may never come again.”
So, in honour of the inauguration of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs: The Playoff Poem.
Working as the Governor General,
1892 was the time,
Lord Stanley presented to Canada
The most holiest of shrines.
For many years men would compete
With passion in their eyes,
For only one team each and every year
Could win this coveted prize.
The last Canadian club to claim it
Was back in 1993;
With an MVP named Patrick,
And a ‘capitaine’ named Guy.
A year later Vancouver lost in seven,
Ditto Calgary in ’04;
Edmonton came just as close,
But Carolina shut the door.
1999’s ‘in-the-crease rule’
Saw many goals deleted;
But a Cup-winning goal with Hull’s foot in the blue
And the Buffalo Sabres elt cheated.
Since the turn of the century,
Detroit and New Jersey have twice counted their luck;
Also winning are Colorado and Tampa
And the Carolina Hurrianes and Anaheim Ducks.
Last year Crosby led the Penguins
With Malkin by his side;
They took care of the Sens, Rangers, and Flyers,
And were enjoying quite the ride.
They then ran into Lidstrom,
Datsyuk and Zetterberg too;
Franzen was the goal-scoring leader,
I never would’ve thought, would you?
The Pens faced elimination
And were down by one in Game Six;
They pulled Fleury for an extra attacker
As the clock showed just a few ticks.
Hossa burst into the zone
And he would frantically skate;
He backhanded the puck on net,
But ran out of real estate.
Detroit then lay claim to Stanley
And Hockeytown was full of glee;
Lidstrom hoisted the Cup
And Zetterberg the MVP.
Detroit is now back in ’09
To defend what is rightfully theirs;
Columbus will try to stall them,
But to Stanley they are unlikely heirs.
The Ducks’ season has gone up and down,
Like that of a teeter-totter;
Now San Jose’s picked up their scent,
Like Sharks smelling blood in the water.
Vancouver snuck in and won the Northwest
In one of their finer coos;
But they’ll have little time to bask in the glory
As they now have a date with the Blues.
Calgary will face Chicago
As Kiprusoff squares off with Huet;
Something in this series will have to give
As winning is not a duet.
The Habs are just glad to be here
As they sing their centennial song;
But the Bruins could end the singing
If the Price turns out to be wrong.
Ovechkin is a goal-scoring machine
And the Caps are really no joke;
So even with Torts behind the bench,
The Rangers are likely to choke.
Brodeur is now better than Roy
As his win total has gone off the chart;
But if Carolina wants a new courtship with Stanley
A Devils defeat is a start.
The Pens stuttered during the season
And for a while they looked rather silly;
But they’re back on track and primed for the playoffs
And a first-round matchup with Philly.
Stanley’s Cup can only be won
By one of these sixteen;
Some will suffer heart-break,
While some will fulfill a dream.
The squad that brings home Stanley
Will inject their city with pride;
So let’s hear it for the Stanley Cup Playoffs,
It’s going to be one heck of a ride!