Wednesday, February 7, 2007

It's our year. Senators will win the Cup.

I've decided that this is the year. Ottawa has been one of the favourites to win the Stanley Cup at the beginning of every year for the last five or six seasons. Come playoff time, they are still one of the favourites. But it never happens. They have not even been to a Cup final.

There have been detractors. People who say "Emery can't win the big one". Or, "Alfredsson is not a playoff player". All garbage, of course. They have just run up against temas whose time has come and who are better prepared for those series. They have yet to get over that Leafs-in-the-playoffs thing, but Toronto no longer looks like a team that can take anyone out come playoff time. Not that they did before either, but a nemesis for Ottawa they certainly were.

If all of this sounds kinda familiar, I think that's because we've heard almost the exact same thing the last six weeks as the NFL geared up for the Super Bowl. "The Colts have been favoured every year." "Peyton Manning can't win the big one." "They never get past New England." Hmmm. Wrong.

Comparing the Leafs to three-time Super Bowl champ New England may be a bit of a stretch, but the other parallels are there. Indianapolis has been favoured to win it all for three, four years in a row. Every year, they started off undefeated for like 8,9,11 games, then tailed off a little, then fell apart once they hit New England in the playoffs.

Everyone measured Manning against the thing he had NOT won. Now, again, comparing him tosay, Alfredsson is a stretch also. Only a goalie can make as much of a difference for a hockey team in the playoffs as a quarterback can for a football team. But just having a goalie is the same as just having a quarterback. Not enough. Even Patrick Roy did not do it by himself in 1993 with the Habs, and even Brett Favre had help in 1997 with the Pack.

But this season Indy was verging on ordinary. By that I mean, that they were just excellent, and not sensational, and they flew under the radar. And, going into the playoffs, they were NOT the number one contender for the first time in years. In fact, so jaded is the betting public about the Colts and their ability to win in the playoffs, that moments after they WON the Super Bowl, oddsmakers had San Diego as the odds-on favourite to win it all next year!

I think the Senators find themselves in a similar position this year. If they go into the playoffs as a number two, three or four seed out of the East, they will be under the radar in a similar way. People will forget how they "choked" in previous years, because the focus will be on can Buffalo, or Anaheim, or Nashville, or Detroit, tear up the playoffs like they have the regular season.

It strikes me it is easier to win a road series (where you have four shots to win a road game and three to win at home) is easier than winning a road playoff game in the NFL. And the easiest way to do it is when you are, to some degree, the underdog and all that pressure is eased off a little. Don't be surprised if we see Alfredsson wearing his Peyton Manning smile come June.

5 comments:

  1. Dream on McDuff. They are much improved over past years, but they are still too fragile...whenever they face a tough goalie they just can't seem to score and then they begin to crumble.

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  2. I hear Doc complaining about your blog. You should tell him that there's only one person reading it and that's you:

    There are approximately 6.5 billion people in the world.

    Only 16%of the world’s population (1 billion people) have internet access.

    16% of the world’s population is illiterate, which leaves only 840 million readers.

    Of that, only 20% of the world’s population speaks English, leaving 168 million readers.

    Only 30% of internet users read blogs, leaving 50 million readers.

    50 million people, sounds like a lot right? Wrong!

    Technorati is currently tracking around 50 million blogs.

    That’s pretty simple math, 50 million blogs for 50 million readers.

    Therefore, with an average of only 1 reader per blog, then who’s reading your blog?

    That’s right, just you. Depressing, ain’t it?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think I can bump it up to two readers. You see, I'm going to go ahead and assume that the illiterate do not have internet access, because they would be unable to type in things like "dirty slutty schoolgirls", and as such, why would they bother? So I think I might have two. Me and you.

    ReplyDelete