I dub this series “The Series of Distinguished Acknowledgements”. Look at the potential hardware both teams are up for winning in June at the NHL awards…
The Jack Adams Award for Coach of the Year (Alain Vigneault, Barry Trotz)
The Vezina Award for Goal Tender (Roberto Luongo and Pekka Rinne)
The Norris Award for best defender (Shea Weber and his fabulous playoff beard)
The Selke Award for Best defensive forward (Ryan Kesler)
The Hart Trophy for most Valuable Player (Daniel Sedin)
Now that’s a lot of acknowledgement! (Please note I only listed nominees from the teams in this series)
Little Engines that Could
On a more mental level…if there is one big similarity between these Semi Final opponents, is how they both finished their first rounds….on incredibly high notes! The Predators had to win Round One. There was no other way. After losing their way out of the playoffs via the first round during five other attempts, it meant the world to their resilient fans to finally get through to the right side of the Quarter Finals. Heck I remember when the Preds had a devil of a time trying to secure a playoff win on the road! So having that Game Six victory, and at home in front of their chant crazy fans, was the bomb.
On the other side of this series, the Vancouver Canucks, stuck in what felt like a never ending post- season tango with the Chicago Blackhawks, also had to win Round One just so they could say “we beat them…we finally beat the Hawks in the playoffs!”. There was no other way. It took until an overtime goal in Game Seven to pull it off., and it all went down in front of the hometown fans. Talk about a high note!
Now these two teams are facing each other after both exercising some Stanley Cup Playoff demons. But for these best of seven games, the Predators are in unchartered territory, and the Canucks, not so much: they now have to exercise another demon, getting to the winning side of round two. The Nucks haven’t done this since 1994.
Where's The Love?
Thanks to the two days of the local media billing this as a boring hockey series before a puck was even dropped, the Nucks and the Preds might not be feeling the love they deserve right now. If you saw game one on Thursday night, you would have noticed the empty seats at Rogers Arena. It was the game no one wanted to attend. Are the ticket prices too high, or are we just not a serious hockey town, populated by superficial people that demand confirmation this will be good hockey entertainment prior to committing any time, emotions or cash. All I can say “It’s Playoff Hockey people, what more do you really need?”
Anybody But the Canucks!!
So Canuck haters have quickly jumped onto the Preds bandwagon. May the Nashville Predators enjoy this new found popularity and may it make their first Semi Final appearance all the more special.
On my turf, it’s pretty clear the Canucks are not Canada’s team. Too many Canadian hockey fans dislike us out here on the left coast and can not bring themselves to cheer with us. Cyberspace is full of hate. Oh yeah, I’ve been walking through it, and much like avoiding dog poop on Yaletown sidewalks, I’m stepping aside the steaming piles around the cyber space hockey communities.
All of this hate, kind a makes it more fun!