Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saturday Hockey CliffsNotes

The Islanders always seem to hit some crazy bump somewhere in the season where they go six or seven games without a win. I just wish this one didn’t come so late in the season. It’s interesting to think, though, that if they’d won just two of those games, they’d be tied for 8th. If they’d gone .500 during that stretch they’d be in 6th at this point lined up to play the winner of the South East division in the playoffs. But that’s not what happened did it.

So now they’re in a dog fight for the playoffs. With so many teams making a playoff run, it can get pretty complicated to know who you should root for. Look no further:

1:00 pm

Buffalo at New York Rangers I don’t really have to go over this one, do I?

7:00 pm

Florida at Carolina This is one of a couple that goes under the “please don’t go into overtime” category. There’s a four-way race for top of the South East division which I think will go to Washington considering that Brind’amour is out for the season. Hopefully that means that Carolina will drop like a stone in the standings. Maybe they can help take out the Panthers on the way. Hurricanes

Philadelphia at Montreal This one’s easy. Montreal is too high in the standings. Montreal

Atlanta at New York Islanders Uhhhhh…

New Jersey at Ottawa Doesn’t matter. If you think that either of these teams are in reach, then you forgot to take your medication.

Boston at Toronto Put on your Whalers jersey. Toronto

7:30 pm

Washington at Tampa Bay A couple of losses could put a fork in Tampa’s season. Good. One less team to worry about. If that’s the case, keep your eye on Marty St. Louis. He’s got drug problems written all over him. If he ever gets traded to the Rangers, he might as well check straight into Rehab. Washington

What about the rest of the season? As of today, these are the teams your root against in order of priority:

  1. New York Rangers: No surprise here.
  2. Boston Bruins: Four more points and a game in hand.
  3. Atlanta Thrashers: My guess is that of all the South East teams, they’re the most likely to sneak into eighth place.
  4. Florida Panthers: It sounds like Florida was starting to turn it on a bit. Zednik was part of that but you may have heard that he’s injured.
  5. Carolina Hurricanes: Hope for a meltdown without Brind’amour. Take off that Whalers jersey if you’re watching a Hurricanes game. “What if Carolina plays Boston” you ask? Your Whalers jersey will spontaneously combust.
  6. Buffalo Sabres and Tampa Bay Lightning: They’re on either end of the eighth place bubble. Hopefully the Sabres earn an easy two points tomorrow putting themselves comfortably out of the fray. If not, they’re reachable.
  7. Philadelphia Flyers and Toronto Maple Leafs: Pretty much the same as number 6. Maybe Philly stumbles and falls back to the pack. As for Toronto, it’s way too soon to say ‘finished’ but I'm hoping they don't wake up.

And everything will change by Sunday night. Just settle in and count the times announcers abuse the phrases “must win” and “do or die." Feckin' idjits.

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