on the hockey playoffs

It is the rite of spring in Canada. Our news and public interest is dominated by one thing – hockey. Hockey defines a large aspect of Canadian culture. There are, of course, many other nations who play hockey, but I don’t know that any other nation is so dominated by hockey culturally.

Well, this year, Hockey Night in Canada has a feature on-line where you can pick a set of players (two forward lines, three defenseman, and a goalie) and gain ‘points’ as ‘your’ players shoot, score, win, and lose points when they take penalties or lose a game. The position of goaltender is huge. Wide point swings come by a win or a loss.

I played this game for the two segments in the regular season and failed abysmally. After the first round of the playoffs, I am sitting pretty… somewhere between 700th and 800th out of over 20,000 players. My playoff strategy has been to pick players primarily from one of two teams, especially the goalie I think will win one of the matchups. I was fortunate in having the Vancouver Canucks [known around our house as the Canuckleheads or Can-yuchhs] win their series. They nearly lost after going ahead 3-1 in games, having to win at home in the seventh game to move on.

The other side of my ticket, besides several Canuckleheads came from Tampa Bay and Nashville, both eliminated in the first round. The players I used were big point producers (Lecavallier and St. Louis, etc), but their teams didn’t advance. I had to replace all of these players and went mostly with Ottawa Senators. I am sticking with the Canucks for this round as well, but I am on thin ice with my picks. The two teams I am mainly supporting are receiving indifferent support from the experts, especially Vancouver. No one is picking Vancouver to win, and the opinion on Ottawa is evenly divided, I think.

I picked Vancouver because over the course of the season we get the most exposure to them and because they [and their goalie, Roberto Luongo] have had such an impressive run since Christmas. In that stretch, I think the Canucks lost only 5 or 6 games outright. Their opponent for this round, the Anaheim Ducks, have two towers on defense, and had an impressive start, but seemed to fade through the stretch. I am hoping that my gamble on the Canucks pays off, otherwise I am toast in the HNIC game.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3