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Daily Cupcakes - Links From Around the NHL - April 24th, 2012

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The Globe and Mail has a story about why the "mighty keep on faling" during the playoffs. One of the most interesting things is the way another league handles the playoffs.

The Elitserien in Sweden has the most interesting hockey playoff system in the world, because of a delicious twist that permits its top regular-season achievers to hand-pick their opening-round opponents. This is how it works in Sweden: If you finish atop the standings, you can elect to play any of the teams that finished fifth through eighth in the standings.

Maybe you tailor your selection to minimize the effects of travel. Maybe you opt for a favourable match-up, or alternatively, avoid a team that historically has your number. Maybe you pick a team limping into the playoffs, or one undermined by injuries. The point is, there are all sorts of factors to consider beyond points in the standings that add a level of intrigue to the playoff selection process.

Want to know what happened to the refs that didn't penalize Raffi Torres for the hit?

Raffi Torres got 25 games for The Hit, and Joel Quenneville got fined US$10,000 for criticizing the officiates who missed it. So whatever happened to the two referees and two linesmen who botched the call?

In short, very little.

Although he wouldn’t disclose whether any of them have or will be sanctioned, NHL director of officiating Terry Gregson confirmed all four have since worked.

"I’ve spoken to all four officials," Gregson said. "They wish they could go back."

Why won't Canada love the Vancouver Canucks?

Here we go again. With Vancouver clinching their second straight Presidents’ Trophy over the weekend as the NHL’s best team, and every other Canadian franchise failing to earn a playoff berth save for Ottawa—in by the skin of its teeth—the Canucks are the country’s best hope to repatriate the Stanley Cup. The painful drought that has kept the Cup on U.S. soil since ’93 was made worse this year by an especially grim season for Canadian hockey. Half the country’s franchises—Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton—rounded out the season as bottom-five clubs.

If it were the Winnipeg Jets or Calgary Flames sitting cozy at No. 1, they would surely be embraced as Canada’s team, the country’s hopes and dreams resting on their shoulder pads. The spring before last, when Montreal made it to the final four, almost 70 per cent of Canadians were pulling for the Habs, according to pollster Angus Reid. Last June, however, the Canucks were cast as arrogant, classless, even un-Canadian—and that’s just what Canadian media dubbed them. Things aren’t looking any better this spring.