I don't watch a lot of playoff hockey, which is a shame. There's nothing better than playoff hockey, and it is head and shoulders above regular season play. But, without the emotional attachment of following my favorite team, I just can't get into it like I want to. I have managed to muster enough interest to watch parts of the first two games between the Ducks and Senators, and thought I'd put a few thoughts down on virtual paper.
I know that turnover in the NHL is nothing new, but I was amazed to hear last night that just 4 Ducks remain from their Cup run in 2003: JS Giguere, Rob Niedermayer, Sammy Pahlsson and Andy MacDonald (who missed the playoffs with an injury). Four years from a appearing in the Finals, and just 4 guys are left. Compare that to the Islanders in the early 80's; the most prominent name I could find from their first Cup team who wasn't there 4 years later was Garry Howatt. I know that turnover and parity is a way of life in all the major sports now, but I sure wouldn't mind seeing teams stay together just a little bit longer.
Did I say "major" sport?
Sorry, a league that takes a 6-day break between the Conference Finals and Cup Finals is not a major sport. The NHL is bush league all the way. I used to get upset at this kind of stuff, but, sadly, it's just another entry on a long list entitled Ways Gary Bettman Fucks Up A Great Sport.
Giguere is going to be rich(er)
So, if Martin Gerber can land $3.7 Million for a poor playoff performance, what does Giguere get for a really good one? I was thinking Giggy was probably looking at something around $5 million this summer. But, for the 2nd time, he's been simply masterful in the playoffs, and his stock (and asking price) is rising fast.
I don't think he'll be back with Anaheim, though, assuming that he's entering the $6 or $7 million range. The Ducks have Ilya Brizgalov and a ton of young forwards who will be getting some big raises in the next few years. Chris Kunitz will make $1.1 this year, and Pahlsson will make $1.4. All the other youngsters - Perry, Moen, Getzlaf, Penner - all make under $750,000 and will be RFAs either this summer or next. And, with $15 million a year tied up in 3 defensemen for the next 2 years...well, them Ducks are going to need some cap flexibility.
Heatley and Spezza
I don't watch the Sens much, but Heatley and Spezza scare me, and not in the way you might think. The both seem to be fabulously gifted players...on offense. I know it's not unusual for players of this caliber to be a bit, um, ambivalent defensively - especially early in their careers. But, geez, guys, you are 4 wins away from the STANLEY CUP. Is dumping passes in the neutral zone to avoid getting hit or standing at the blueline waiting for a pass the best you can do? Really? Don't worry, guys, it looks like you'll be able to relax soon enough. If not for the big 6-day break, you guys would be already be kicking back in your recliners, watching the Ducks victory parade on TV.