Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Around the Rink 03.21.07

The playoffs are heating up and it's going to come down to the last week, at least in the East. Out West, we'll see if Colorado can keep their hot streak up or if Calgary keeps losing like they have been. That match-up could come down to the last day as the Avs and Flames face off against each other.

The East is going to be a gongshow to the end. The Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, and Canadiens are tied for 8th, while the Islanders are in 11th one point back. The 7th place Rangers are only one point up on the 8th seed and the Lightning are three points up. The Islanders, however, have the advantage with at least a game-in-hand advantage over the other contenders.

This is what hockey is all about.

Jordin Tootoo was the latest player to be suspended for his actions on the ice. After checking Mike Modano, Tootoo was rushed by Stephane Robidas. Robidas was assessed a charging minor for intent, but before he could even make contact with Tootoo, Tootoo swung his right hand around and knocked Robidas out cold. Tootoo was given five games for the incident.

There's plenty of blame to go around with Robidas charging at a guy, but Tootoo punching a guy in the mush with his glove on is pretty greasy. Tootoo is an agitator and rightfully so, but he can still chuck the knuckles if need be. Sure, the thought of someone charging from behind is frightening, but you would think that bracing himself would have been the best option rather than cold-cocking someone.

Did you catch the St. Louis Screw-Job?? Let's just say that even as an Ottawa Senators fan I was disgusted. If you didn't see it, two definite goals were waved off. The first, they didn't review it until after the puck was dropped for the face off, at which point it was null and void. The second goal, they said David Backes pushed Martin Gerber's glove into the net with the puck in it, but it was in without Gerber even having possession. Needless to say, the shots of Blues' President John Davidson weren't happy ones.

One point was brought up on a message board I frequent that the officiating this year has been the most inconsistent it has been in years. I tend to agree, mostly on the fact that everything is a shade of gray. Nothing is black or white anymore, nothing is uniformed for every game. It's a hit or miss chance depending on the referee. I don't know what Stephen Walkom can do, but something needs to be done when it comes to consistency in the calls.

You want to know how deep the Nashville Predators are?? Even though they don't have Peter Forsberg, Steve Sullivan or Scott Hartnell in the line-up, they are still tops in the West and NHL. But I think the real question is whether or not this is a blessing or a curse for the Preds. Let's be honest, they were able to play well last year when Tomas Vokoun was out, but could this be a little too much.

The Preds are a high-power offense and may be hurt a little bit by the lack of speed and all. Plus, even if those three do come back, how much rust will be on them when they come back. The upside is that they are back and could spark a long run for the Preds.

Make sure you check out The Show tonight at 9 PM ET or on the Podcast whenever the hamster on the wheel is able to put it up. If all else fails, check out the Message Board for some random and fun stuff.

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