I sat down to blog last night, but all I could come up with were really gloat-y, partisan, unfair and (somewhat) inaccurate celebrations of Tampa's victory--sorry, four game sweep--of the Washington Capitals. But I'm not that guy. I don't like to gloat publicly, no matter how much I hate (note: sports hate, not real hate) the enemy. Because I've been on the other side of that coin. Every single year, when your team is knocked out it's like a punch in the gut. You think I don't remember how bad it sucks to see your team knocked out of the playoffs? This is off the top of my head:
1996: Tampa lost to Philly
1999: Colorado lost to Dallas
2000: Colorado lost to Dallas AGAIN
2001: Pittsburgh lost to New Jersey
2002: Colorado lost to Detroit
2003: Tampa Bay lost to New Jersey, Colorado lost to Minnesota
2004: Colorado lost to San Jose
2006: Houston lost to Milwaukee, Tampa lost to Ottawa
2007: Pittsburgh lost to Ottawa, Colorado lost to Anaheim
2008: Colorado lost to Detroit, Pittsburgh lost to Detroit (in the final), Houston lost to Rockford
2009: Houston lost to Manitoba
2010: Colorado lost to San Jose, Pittsburgh lost to Montreal
Others (I can't remember the year) include Colorado losing to Edmonton and Detroit, the Thunder losing to Oklahoma City (several times), Columbus, Fort Worth, Bossier City-Shreveport (more than once), and Tulsa. Now, you'll notice there are a few years I don't remember exactly who did us in, but with relatively little effort I'm able to pull up just about every playoff defeat one of my teams has endured in the past 15 years.
It's a bitter pill, folks.
So, as much as I despite the Caps organization, I can't bring myself to dance on their graves (death by choking). If you'd like to read some nice Capitals dumping, you'll have to go here, and even then you may be a bit disappointed. (Though the bit about the Ovechtrick is pretty funny, and the artwork is all pretty good)
This is a fun story (Puck Daddy again) on a Tampa fan who was commanded to take down his "Go Bolts!" sign by his neighborhood's Home Owners' Association. I don't know if the HOA expected the guy's fanaticism to go down easily or not, but if they did, they just don't know hockey fans.
The first round of the NHL playoffs were insane. Boston/Montreal, Vancouver/Chicago, Pittsburgh/Tampa Bay, and Buffalo/Philadelphia all went seven games. Both Tampa and Chicago had to rally from down 3-1 to get there. San Jose/Los Angeles and Nashville/Anaheim both went six games. And there were overtime games everywhere. (Last night was only the second time in sixteen straight days we did not have a game go to OT, and that may have been because there was only one game on the schedule) I've never seen such a tight, competitive round of hockey, as only Detroit/Phoenix was a sweep.
Round two has been....less competitive. Tampa swept Washington, as mentioned above. Boston is up three-nil on Philly and San Jose is up by the same margin over the Wings. The closest series of the second round currently sits at Vancouver three games to Nashville's one, with game five in Vancouver tonight. Sure, one of these "down-and-out" teams may rally to make it interesting, but there's a very real chance the second round of the playoffs could be over in the next 48 hours. It's like the true contenders shook off the rust in the first round or something. The games have almost all been tense and exciting, but wow. Contrary to the gauntlet of round one, I've never seen such a lop-sided second round, either.
Finally, the Aeros and Admirals are tied at two in their best of seven. After splitting in Milwaukee, the Aeros blew it in game three. Last night, they dominated the game but still found themselves in OT. Apparently, the Aeros have won 10 straight playoff OT games since 2003. Crazy stat. Anyway, Carson McMillan scored his 2nd OT winner of this playoffs (4th liners rule!) while I was driving back from Kroger. I celebrated while driving, and I wondered what people watching me drive during Aeros games must think of me. Who cares. Best-of-three starting tonight, kids.