Monday, May 4, 2009


A small break from the critical work at Habs GM, to bring you an update on the impact of this year's playoffs. The most entertaining series of the year is sure to be the Penguins and Capitals: Ovechkin, Semin, Backstrom, Green and rookie sensation Varlamov vs. Crosby, Malkin, Guerin, Gonchar and Fleury. Game 2 was Crosby's hat trick vs Ovechkin's -- great stuff. Too bad this matchup of the two most talented teams had to come before the conference finals.

But the most important series is between the last two Cup winners: Detroit and Anaheim. This series is a study in opposites. Detroit is smaller, more skilled and loaded with (not-so-soft) Europeans. Anaheim is huge, less skilled (but still fast) and loaded with North Americans who love the physical game. They're like linebackers on skates.

Typically, GM's will look to past Cup winners and try to copy their rosters. The Red Wings-Penguins final last year was great for hockey, as it had two of the most skilled teams in the final. A similarly good final this year would involve either the Red Wings or Blackhawks from the West and Penguins or Capitals from the East.

Not so good for hockey would be an Anaheim-Boston final. Both play with speed and some skill. But they emphasize size over skill -- especially Anaheim.

The good news is that Anaheim has had to rely largely on their game breaker of a goaltender. While their top line of Getzlaf, Perry and Ryan causes all sorts of havoc, and is huge to boot, Hiller is often the difference maker. How far Hiller can take them?

Hopefully not past the Wings.

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