Thursday, April 12, 2007

Better Than Expected

When you get yourself all riled up for something, giddily anticipating a long-awaited moment, it's often a let-down. Nothing could possibly live up to the expectations you've built up in your mind. The reality is usually so far overshadowed by the fantasy that it ends up being a disappointment.

And yet opening night of the postseason was everything I hoped for and more. Now I didn't get to watch every game (thank you, Center Ice), and yes, I'll admit it, I wimped out and went to bed long before either Western Conference matchup went into multiple overtimes. But a decisive win by the Senators? Not one, but two multiple overtime games? Ducks and Wild played too, right?

The center of my viewing experience was obviously focused on the Sens-Pens rhyming extravaganza/Sidney Crosby lovefest. Okay, Versus, we get it - he's young, he's good, he's playing in his very first playoff game. Let's snap a picture and put it in his baby book next to a lock of his hair and his first baby tooth...and move on.

I will say that as much as I enjoyed seeing the Penguins get beat so thoroughly (really enjoyed) (really, really enjoyed) the true hockey fan that lurks inside of me was a little disappointed. In the playoffs every team should be at their very best. The games should be evenly played and the superstars on each side should be firing on all cylinders. You want to see the headliners and the unsung heroes all pitching in to make it a good fight right up until the end.

The Penguins mustered a bit of life at the end but for most of the game they simply looked stunned. Make no mistake, though, I don't expect them to repeat that performance on Saturday. In fact, from the chippiness and physicality that was building up towards the end of last night's game, I'd say we're in for a great game this weekend. And we as hockey fans deserve no less.

Poor Marty Turco. The guy can't seem to catch a break in the playoffs - even when he plays his heart out, through 4 overtimes no less, he still can't earn a win. I hope he figures out how to win soon, because I'd like to see hometown boy Halpern finally see what it feels like to win a playoff series. God knows he wouldn't know that feeling from playing with Jaromir Jagr.

So Game 1 is in the books for half the postseason combatants. Now on to Game 1 for the other half. Sabres-Islanders, Rangers-Thrashers, Lightning-Devils, and Red Wings-Flames. Don't be fooled by that pesky #8 next to two of those teams, either - this first round could be more interesting than most people have predicted.

Check back later to find out which of your favorite bloggers will be participating in the First Annual Bloggers Playoff Pool!

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