"The Stanley Cup Playoffs were a flawless masterpiece, filled with stellar ratings on our television partners and thrilling action and two non-Canadian markets vying for the Stanley ..."
All right, give us back our blog, Bettman!
[Closes laptop, shoves Napoleonic man out of office.]
Whew, glad that's over; we were moments away from reading about Phoenix's viability. The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs had their high points, no doubt. But they also had their follies, foibles and flaws. Moments and trends that ... well, just plain sucked.
Here are 10 of them; honorable mentions in the comments, please.
Here are 10 things that sucked about the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, in no particular odor ... er, order:
1. Too Many Men Penalties
Seriously, what was with this [expletive]?
Seemingly every game of the postseason featured a bench minor for a bad line change, with the "too many men" penalty on the Boston Bruins in Game 7 perhaps the most infamous. One theory was that there were long stretches between whistles that could have contributed to the rise in bench minors. Was it line-matching overkill from coaches?
Whatever the case, it made for bad comedy.
Sorry Duncan Keith, but this was the most painful moment of the Stanley Cup Playoffs: An all-star defenseman sending the puck past his own goaltender for the opponents' game-winning goal in Game 3 of the first round.
It sucked because Dan Boyle's a great player who suffered 48 hours of public embarrassment before redeeming himself with a Game 4 goal. It sucked because it overshadowed Colorado Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson's(notes) superb 51-save night. And it sucked because Ryan O'Reilly(notes) probably tipped the puck, but it remains Boyle's gaffe in the minds of millions. Hey, "Play It Again Sam" never actually appeared in "Casablanca," either.
3. The Washington Capitals
4. The Lack of Multiple Overtimes
If you're a fan of those postseason wars of attrition that end when the other networks are playing infomercials at 2:30 a.m. ET, this was not the postseason for you.
There were a grand total of TWO multiple overtime games in the 2010 playoffs: The double-OT Game 4 between the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins and the triple-OT Game 5 between the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins. There were some good overtime games in the playoffs; just not enough that matched the zombified joys of marathon overtimes we know and love.
There were enough conspiracies in the Vancouver media that you wondered if the Cigarette Smoking Man had been named publisher of the Province.
There's no question that Daniel Sedin(notes) was jobbed out of a goal against the Los Angeles King thanks to a video review that claimed he "kicked" it in. But the notion that Murphy — a former Kings player and coach who was now an NHL vice president inside the video review War Room — was some kind of Kings sleeper agent and helped overturn the goal to benefit L.A. was the looniest of Canucks conspiracies.
Or really any sort of knuckleheaded act by a Montreal Canadiens fan that undermined the awesomeness of their fan support during the Cinderella run.
7. No Moments of Flashpoint Violence
There were just 23 major penalties called in the 2010 playoffs, and few if any moments of memorable brutality. This validity of this entry probably depends on how you like your hockey; for this fan, the lack of brawls, blood and notorious moments of physical play made much of the postseason thrilling but benign.
Not only were the Ilya Kovalchuk(notes)-led Devils dominated by the Flyers in the first round, they bowed out meekly in Game 5 at home as Philly played without Jeff Carter(notes) and Simon Gagne(notes). This led to a parting of ways with Jacques Lemaire soon after.
9. Scheduling Nightmares
Beyond the scheduling conflicts with the NBA Finals, the Stanley Cup Finals also would have ended inexplicably on a Friday night rather than on a Saturday night when all of Canada would watch them.
But the real television headache for fans in the playoffs: Those "joined in progress" games on VERSUS during the earlier rounds. Perhaps the Comcast/NBC deal will open up alternate channels for spillover coverage in the future, because this "joined in progress" stuff was insufferable.
10. Finally, That The Playoffs Ended Like This