The 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs are here! Are you ready for two months of commitment and dedication? Whether your favorite team is in the playoffs or you’re on the outside looking in (I’m talking to you Canada), this is a special year to watch playoff hockey and here’s why.
DALLAS STARS – BRINGING SEXY BACK
The Dallas Stars are really good this year. But I’m more impressed in how good-looking their roster is. Their top line is prettier than most ice girl crews. How do you hang around with Seguin, Benn and Sharp without feeling like you’re Antti Niemi? And worse, what if you ARE Antti Niemi? Though everyone knows that Finnish guys are hung like reindeer. Regardless, Dallas is good this year, so tune in for fast-paced, aesthetically pleasing playoff hockey.
DETROIT RED WINGS – LAST ACT FOR THE MAGIC MAN?
After backing into the playoffs to keep their consecutive playoff streak alive, news broke that Pavel Datysuk may leave the NHL after the post-season. Apparently, he wants to go back to Russia, which I didn’t know was thing people wanted to do. I guess you need to take into account that he currently lives in Detroit. But then again, even Russia is probably okay when you have money. Actually, I just checked, having money makes living anywhere a more pleasant experience. Regardless, we will be losing one of the truly unique players in the game. Instead of trying to describe it, just watch.
CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS – THE KANE-PANARIN SHOW
Stan Bowman deserves GM of the Year award, if only for the one transaction that has made watching the Blackhawks a joy this year – Artemi Panarin. Once considered the best player not playing in the NHL, Panarin was lured to the Blackhawks from the KHL via a creatively structured deal by Stan Bowman and the Kane-Panarin combination has not disappointed. Unfortunately, every beer league superstar will be trying to mimic the cross-ice one timer, so keep your heads up out there.
PITTSBURGH PENGUINS – RED-HEADED STEP CROSBY
Ever since Connor McDavid came into the league, poor Sidney Crosby has been like a couple’s once adored dog after the first baby arrives. He was the king of the castle until Connor McDavid arrived. Now nobody wants to pet Sidney Crosby anymore or take him out when he needs to pee. It didn’t help that Sidney Crosby decided to put up John Scott numbers for the first part of the season. But both Sidney Crosby and Penguins are on fire heading into the playoffs. Look for Crosby to re-establish his dominance this post-season.
WASHINGTON CAPITALS – STANDING OVI
If there has been one positive about Sidney Crosby’s fall from the limelight, it’s that Alexander Ovechkin is no longer painted as his arch-nemesis. The good versus evil storyline created by the media was a disservice to Ovechkin’s big personality. The more I see of him, the more I like him. In the broadcast of the last regular season game (in which Ovechkin didn’t dress), the cameras caught him casually wandering around the concourse at the Verizon Center. Could this be the year? The Capitals finally seem poised to make a deep run into the playoffs.
I know there are 11 more teams that have a chance at winning, but I need to cut this short. Sidney needs to go outside.