If only I could move my big screen, HD TV outside. I want to watch all of the playoff action but the weather has been absolutely beautiful so who wants to be indoors. Having said that, I made sure to take time to check in on as many series as possible.
My two favorite series going into last night had been the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins along with the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings. But now I have to add in Ottawa and Montreal after last night's "old time hockey" game in Ottawa.
The only thing that game lacked was the Hansen brothers putting on their foil. 236 penalty minutes, 9 game misconducts and more cheap shots than you'd find in a political debate. That game was dirty/nasty from the opening faceoff.
At the end of the night, it looked like the Northeast Division winners had come unglued. Game 4 tomorrow night at 7:00 should make for must see TV but my guess is the NHL will tell whichever referees are assigned to the game to call anything and everything in hopes of establishing control over the contest.
If you're looking for a cleaner but very physical series filled with thunderous checks, take a look at the Blues-Kings series. The fourth line for the Blues produces big hits every time they're on the ice and you can watch former Sabres Jordan Leopold and Robyn Regehr too.
I thought Pittsburgh and the Islanders would be entertaining and after game one it has been. The Penguins won the opener 5-0 but the young, up and coming Islanders took game two in Pittsburgh and pushed the Pens into overtime in game three. Sidney Crosby has been, well, Sidney Crosby. He has two goals and five points after sitting out the opener. Just watching John Tavares will make it time well spent.
I think John Tortorella is halfway to getting fired. The top seed in the East last season, the New York Rangers have struggled all season and those struggles have extended through the first two games of their series with Washington. The Rangers trail two games to none and have managed just one goal in those two defeats. You'd expect more from a team that has the likes of Nash, Richards and Callahan just to name a few.
Now I know why Vancouver fans weren't snapping up tickets for their first round series with San Jose. The Sharks are on the verge of sweeping the Canucks, who hit a high point with a seven game loss in the Finals two years ago, out of the playoffs.
Its a 1 vs 8 matchup but the Chicago Blackhawks, pre playoff Cup favorite, have their hands full with the Minnesota Wild. Forced to go with their backup goalie Josh Harding due to an injury moments before game one, the Wild's overtime win on Sunday gave them life. They lost both games in Chicago but did take the opener into overtime.