And the winner is … (updated)


First of all, I was just imagining what our beards might look like by now, had the Rangers, you know, won the skills competition in Philly, gotten the No. 8 seed and done to Washington what Montreal just did.

But the Festivus/Paul Mara Memorial Playoff Beard Extravaganza and Picnic had to be scrapped in favor of the Olli Jokinen Five-Hole/Beat the Blogfather Extravaganza and Picnic. Well, Yours Truly went 6-2, missing out on the Capitals and the Devils.

So, who won?

I am counting on you Boneheads to tally up your own scores for the first round and tell me (I will go back and check the winning claim or claims, so don’t pull any carcillo). Did anybody go 8 f0r 8 (yeah, right). OK, did anybody go 7 for 8? Let me know today, asap.

Winner gets a copy of the book “100 Ranger Greats” as promised.


As you know by now, the Habs became the first No.8 seed to come back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series … ever. Don’t know if you also know this: 22 times teams have come back from 3-1 to win playoff series, and the Capitals have been involved in six of those now, winning two (including last spring’s Mara Beard Extravaganza ender) and being eliminated four times by blowing leads of 3-1.

So, who’s happiest today? Montreal fans? The Penguins? The Orioles? Who’s saddest? NHL HQ, Versus, NBC?

Another point that crossed my peabrain last night was the “elite goalie” theory. So far, Brian Boucher (who beat Henrik Lundqvist in Game 82 and the skills competition) has defeated Martin Brodeur; the Rask kid in Boston beat Ryan Miller; and Jaroslav Halak, who wasn’t even the No. 1 goalie on his team, shut down the Presidents’ Trophy winning, highest-scoring team in the NHL.

The West semifinals begin — already! — tonight. Those ought to be wars.


Some interesting first-round notes courtesy of the NHL:

* Road teams won 27 games (27-22), the most ever in the first round. Three series tied the NHL playoff record for most road wins (five, Montreal vs. Washington; Pittsburgh vs. Ottawa and Detroit vs. Phoenix). The Boston Bruins were the only of the eight advancing clubs to clinch the series on home ice.
* There were comebacks galore: the winning team in 24 of the 49 games trailed at some point in the contest. Five teams won after trailing by two or more goals. A club trailing in the third period came back to win nine times.
* Teams combined to score an average of 5.90 goals per game, the highest for an opening round since 1996 and a 36% increase over 2004 (4.34), the last playoff year before the adoption of several rule changes designed to limit obstruction. The first-round scoring average also topped that of the 2009-10 regular season (5.53), marking the first time that’s happened since 1994-95.
* Twelve of the 49 games were decided in overtime, the most in opening-round play since 2001 (14). Seven of the eight series had at least one game extend to overtime.
* Scoring the game’s first goal wasn’t as much an advantage as advertised. The teams scoring first lost five of the six games in the Vancouver Canucks-Los Angeles Kings series (VAN 1-2, LA 0-3). The Buffalo Sabres opened the scoring five times against the Boston Bruins, but went 2-3 in those games.


AFTERNOON UPDATE, 12:26 P.M.: Hart Trophy (MVP) finalists also happen to be the top three scorers in the NHL this season: Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and Henrik Sedin. See the story here.

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  1. I went 6-2, though I did get three series scores correct too, including picking the Bruins in 6. (Morning, CR9!)

  2. Good morning, boneheads!
    Interesting tidbits from the NHL. Probably means nothing.

    The more I think about it, the more I realize that Caps were thoroughly outcoached by Habs. And the Washington bench refused or didn’t know how to adjust. They seem to have only one tune. Yes, Halak was great, but how many shots were from bad angles? How many were blocked by a d-man standing very close to a shooter? Anyway, is RJ Umberger available for coaching position yet?

    Oh, yeah, I went 6 out of 8. Missed Boston and the Habs.
    If I remember correctly, True Fans should win it, he only missed the Habs. Anyone else is 7/8?

  3. ilb – I saw the same thing. Most of the shots were from bad angles or were from the blue line. There weren’t many shots from close in – from the slot or second chance shots on rebounds. The Canadiens knew they couldn’t compete with them if they tried to get into a high scoring game so they packed in the defense and counter attacked.

  4. Any news from Rangers management out west on the golf course at their “meetings”? And I use the term “management” lightly.
    Veterans on Montreal as well as Detroit and Boston turned out to be pretty important. Yet Torts wants to go younger. Youth and arrogance didn’t seem to work out too well for the Caps.
    Although Torts probably wants younger players because they’re the only ones who will listen to and believe what he’s spewing. He doesn’t seem too effective with anyone over the age of 21.

  5. GO HABS!

    Ok, I felt really dirty saying that, but I was glad the Caps lost last night. They’re not quite as high as the Pens on my annoyance/hate scale, but they still annoy the carp outtta me.

  6. Annnd, going for the trifecta this morning… Happy Birthdays to Sally’s lil man and the first time dad!

  7. Good morning all! Carp, you look downright Aves-like in that photo! Fabu!

    True Fans, congrats it seems! what would like at your picnic?

  8. Jlone2Bubblehead on

    The Caps are my personal most hated. Its not so much the team as it is their fans. Ok, I dont like most of their team either. With that being said, I was VERY happy with the game last night. I was glad it was at Washington. I live in the media range of the Caps and get flooded with their propaganda.

    That was a goal IMO. Finally a call that didnt go the caps way. hmmm any conspiracy theorists talking about how the League doesnt want Ovi to outdo Cindy?

  9. Did anyone see Ovechkin snow that kid during introductions? Not sure what game but it was on ESPN last night. Pretty classless by him.

  10. I agree wholeheartedly that Boudreau made a tremendous gaffe by not shuffling lines & altering the Caps approach. Team appears to lack the needed cohesion & sense of purpose needed to succeed in the playoffs. The Caps also need a forceful, playoff-tested presence to keep them focused on the series at hand. Their roster lacks a Ryan Symth, Doug Gilmour, & even a Chris Drury type.
    One prediction: Alexander Semin will not be a Cap next season

  11. If George McPhee wants to get his team “hardened” for a long playoff run- how does Mike Keenan sound?

  12. wicky (Positionally sound=soft in NHL speak!!) on

    It isn’t elite goalies that are the key to playoff success, it is rough physical d men, always has been. That is why this team will not ever go far into the playoffs until it addresses that need.

    Morning all btw.

    Off to work!

  13. BroadwayBlue: Why would Alexander Semin not be on the Capitals next season? He is one of the best scoring forwards in the league, why would they get rid of him?

    By the way, I wish he was on the Rangers.

  14. I disagree on the definition of the playoff success. Yes, it helps having physical d-men. I wouldn’t say Montreal has the most physical d-men in the league. What let Montreal win is a 5 men approach to defense and everyone swarming to the puck.

  15. I USED to bet football and I knew a LOCK when I saw it. I no longer bet football. So much for CAPS are a lock yesterday. How perfect for Pitt, ugh! Where to turn next? VAN/Blackhawks winner?

  16. Caps issue is that once someone figures out how to stiffle their vaunted offense, they don’t change what they did before, they just keep hammering away at the same thing, thinking that eventually all their skill will come break the other team. They also tend to start trying to do it all themselves once they are shut down, which backfires big time.

  17. Went to Washington last year with my daughter (who is not much of a hockey fan) for game 5 of the playoffs. During warmups my daughter says, “They have a guy named Semen?”

    Ummm, no, it’s not pronounced like that….

  18. Funny, Cross Check.. But it is exactly how it is written in Russian.

    Semin signed an extension at $6 mil through 2010-2011 with Caps. Did you see him push the puck and glide? To avoid the check? It’s game 7 my Russian friend. I bet you he will want Gaborik-like contract.

    Bruce Boudreau should’ve started changing his approach after game 5. He either didn’t know to, or most likely, didn’t feel his team had the tools to do it. Props to Martin. He used his assets very well.

  19. so based on teams that i picked to advance – i’m 4-3

    based on games each series will take – i’m 3-4

    put it all together – i’m 7-7! I WIN! :p

  20. Did you see Semin hit the post in the first period?

    Semin actually deserves a Gaborik like contract. He is an absolute stud and not at all the reason the Capitals lost.

  21. well let’s go Blackhawks out west but wow am I really going to have to root for Montreal to come out as winner of the East this year? yikes.

  22. I am a Habs and Bruins fan for about 2 weeks, eff the Flyers and Penguins.

    But they must be pissing themselves laughing in Pittsburgh right about now. They appear to have a waltz to the finals.

  23. CCCP, did you see that brawl in the Ukraine congress the other day? That’s what I pictured the coat room incident to look like.

  24. Yeah, Pittsburgh does appear to have clear, easy shot to make it to the finals. AGAIN AGAIN.

  25. TheREALMikeyNJ on

    So if I were making the team for next year this is who I would keep on the team, fill the holes with who you think we could/should get.


    Staal – Del Z


    So basically our needs would be:
    1 First line Center, 1 First line winger
    1 2nd or 3rd line winger
    4 Dmen (one extra 7th defensmen)
    1 back up goalie

    7 total new players mixed from Hartford and FA signings
    (Again this is whith Redden & Rosi being demoted or traded, and without Prospal & Christensen being resigned.

    Fill in the blanks

  26. Izzy Mandlebaum on

    Crack of Noon, Everyone!

    I went 4 for 8. (laughter subsides)

    Go Blackhawks! Go Bruins!

  27. I went 3 for 5…which is why I never gamble on sports. I follow it the closest and yet i’m a wretched prognosticator. Did i mention that Plekanec is a UFA this summer? The Habs have HALAK!!!, Lapierre, Kostitsyn, Pouliot, and Price as RFA. And you think the Rags have it tough with Staal and Giaradi. Not for a second do I think the Pens have it easy. Between Halak, the shut down D, and the skill players up front, Montreal is a lot tougher than those Ottawa hosers it took the Pens 6 games to beat.

  28. Angry Whopper on

    Bruce Boudreau stepped in , and didnt actually have to coach this team at all during the regular season.

    This guy looks like he was the janitor at the Verizon Center, and this job fell in his lap.

  29. Hey CR, here’s a chance for you to voice your conspiracy theory to someone who matters. Terry Gregson, former ref and current NHL senior VP of officiating, will be Gary Bettman’s guest on his 6 p.m. radio show.

    “The show encourages fans to call in with questions. To submit questions to NHL Hour call 1-877-645-6696.”

  30. Wouldn’t you know it I lost my slip with my picks. I know I picked the Sabres and Capitals in the East and can’t remember the West at all. I know I got some right but at best I was 4 for 8. Picked them at noon time before the first game with little thought and it shows. Nice picks by some of you.

  31. I went 4 for 8… only picked 1 in 4 of the Leastern Conference right… I suck!

    Next round I got:

    Pens in 6
    Bruins in 6

    Hawks in 5
    Wings in 6

  32. chuk schreier on

    5 of 8 got perfect west
    The west series though all the teams that won were clearly much better in the east every series was even except Penguins and Capitals got rocked by their kryptonite A GOALIE cant win a stanley cup by outscoring everyone as Ovechkin basically said after game 6 interview every goalie has played vs. them and every series they’ve played in has gone 7 for a reason

  33. LOL, Blogmama that was hilarious. My baseball team that I coach this year plays Far Brook next week, and that is the team that Farty’s son plays for. I am sure he will be in the stands like he was last year. LOL

  34. How can anyone route for AO to be out of the playoffs and Scott Gomez to be in?! AO may be turning into Eric Lindros, but still, maybe he would deliver a hit on Sid like he did on Jags.

  35. Green played retarded. I blame the loss on him. Poti too. If he got his teeth fixed, then maybe the Craps players wouldn’t be blinded by the hideousness of them, which caused them not to score.

    That’s my take on it.


  36. LOL, I am seriously considering wearing my hat. I usually have a tradition of not wearing any rangers stuff after they are eliminated until the season is officially over. So we will see.

  37. CHRIS

    The Craps wouldn’t have beat the Pens anyway. OvechCANT is Crybaby’s slave. He owns him. That’s the sad truth.

    The Craps just don’t have the goaltending and defense needed to win the Cup.

    I know CR will kill me for saying this, but i want the Bruins to come out of the East. I hate the Pens, i hate the Flyers, and i hate the Habs.

    GO HAWKS!! Or at least the Sharks.

  38. Watching the Caps fail to score on the 6 on 4 at the end made me think of the Rangers. I could see them losing a game 7 the same way. Making it as painful as possible

  39. 6-2 on the picks. Lost on Buffalo and obviously Washington.

    Little late to the conversation, but Vitaly, the Caps had trouble scoring the 2nd half of the series. Semin had 0 goals in the entire series (after having 40 in the regular season). I’d say his lack of production was a factor in the Caps early exit.

    I think out of their core players, he’s the first to go. After next year they have only 6 players under contract. Backstrom is going to get a huge raise and they’ll have to get some of their better looking D under contract during that time too. Maybe Semin is around for that 1 year extension, but if they don’t come close to the Cup next year I think he’s gone.

  40. Nasty, you should bring some poutine with you, that’ll distract Fatso and his kid.

  41. CTBlueshirt: Why would the capitals let go of such a great asset such as Semin without getting something back in return via a trade. He is a top 15-20 forward in the NHL. He is not going anywhere for nothing.

    Granted he didn’t play up to his potential in this series, but neither did Backstrom, Ovechkin or Green. He is hardly to blame for their loss.

  42. Craps have to trade Semin. They need defense, and they’re not gonna be able to keep that guy forever, unless his boyfriend OvechCANT convinces him to take less money.

    He’s a damn good player, but they have a few solid forwards who can replace his scoring all together.

  43. Vitaly, the could very well trade him as much as not re-sign him.

    I just think he’s the first to go from their big players. He’s also been a bit injury prone in his career. There’s only been one season where he didn’t miss at least 9 games. He’s worth a decent amount on the FA market and the Caps will eventually have to pay up for some of their younger guys like Alzner and mayabe if Carlson develops into a top 4 D. And as I said, Backstrom is going to get a lot of money. He’s easily worth $6MM if not $7MM. Their payroll will grow to be pretty big after next year after a lot of their players with entry level deals become restricted or unrestricted FAs.

  44. the Rangers nearly upset them last year playing the exact same way. hanging back, getting few shots or offense except in turnover transition. and good goaltending until Henrik ran out of gas.

    so Wash should have known that formula would be used against them again. sorry but when avg dmen like Josh Gorges are stopping Ovechkin, he is not giving the Caps what they need, he is not adjusting and getting it done a different way. poor leadership job by Ovechkin who gave the Habs bulletin board incentive by things he said too.

  45. it was kind of a joke that my picks were about as good as taking a chance on the lottery.
    looking at ’em, i think i do better on the lottery. sheesh!

    April 14th, 2010 at 5:47 pm
    Caps over Canadiens in 5.
    Devils over Flyers in 6.
    Sabres over Bruins in 5.
    Penguins over Senators in 5.
    Sharks over Avalanche in 5.
    Blackhawks over Predators in 6.
    Canucks over Kings in 7.
    Red Wings over Coyotes in 5.

  46. so, big Hal Gill shutdown 4 series opponents last year with Rob Scuderi, and now he does it again to wash. caps with gorges.

    reach and size cannot be taught.

  47. Hey guys! Bettman must be stocking up on PULL UPS, his wife was get annoyed having to wash all his ‘slacks’ every day.

    I forgot who it was, either Jones or Engblom, who said the Caps are built to win the regular season. Their power play was non existent, as was any kind of scoring in the last 3 games. I wonder who’s head is going to roll over there.

    Anyone think the Olympics killed Ovechkins desire this season?

  48. Mistascum NYR TAT ENJ on

    I’m picking Vancouver for the cup. I know its probably going to end up being Pitt v Det again but I’m hoping against hope we see the Habs and Nucks, Canada deserves a full hockey year. A cup and a gold medal same year? Pshh, America doesnt deserve a cup this season, I’m sorry.

  49. ilb

    YOu are absolutely right..Habs outskated Habs all series long and they constantly forced the Caps into poor shooting positions and getting in their way. It took all over the ice hard skating but they were coached to do this ( which is very hard to do by the way), and they never let up on the Caps at all. Marvelous coaching by Montreal. Good goal tending didn’t hurt either.

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