Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Serious Six

The Serious Six . . .

That’s where it’s at in the NHL now – the last three spots in the Eastern Conference are up from grabs, and six clubs are separated by four points in an effort to claim them. And, there are only a handful of games left in which to stake those claims. Starting with today’s results, we’re going to try to take a look at these teams as they sprint to the finish – who’s up, who’s down, who has the advantage.

This afternoon, as play begins, they stand this way:

6. Tampa Bay: 41-31-4 (86)
7. NY Rangers: 38-28-9 (85)
8. Carolina: 38-29-8 (84)
9. Montreal: 39-31-6 (84)
10. NY Islanders: 36-27-11 (83)
11. Toronto: 36-29-10 (82)

Today’s impact games:

NY Rangers @ NY Islanders

The Rangers are 2-4 against the Isles this year but have won the last two contests (both by 2-1 margins). Henrik Lundqvist has only one loss in regulation in his last 12 decisions (8-1-3).

Sometimes, you just want to scream, "shut the #@%& up!!!"

I returned from my sojourn to Pennsylvania this weekend and took a peek at what's going on over on The Official . . . and I was pointed to this by a poster over there, comments courtesy of The Blogger in Charge:

"See any free agents that were signed last off season above Alex Semin in goals scored? I don't."

Look, I think building through the draft is the way to go as far as developing a sustained contender goes. The ability to churn young contributors through your system year after year is the most reliable, not to mention cheapest way to do that in a salary capped world. But at some point, kids need mentoring. Once upon a time, I taught at a university. I would never think of just throwing the textbooks into the room and telling the kids, "read 'em. I'll be back in 15 weeks to give you a test."

Sometimes, only the lessons learned by guys who have been through it can be the difference in making sure your kids maximize their potential or become merely journeyman hockey players. This summer, as far as I can see, is the "no excuses" summer. And this has all the makings of a pre-emptive excuse for doing not much (please, let me be wrong...).

Look, if I wanted fantasy hockey, I would have bought NHL2007, cancelled my subscription for season tickets, bought a big-screen TV, and saved myself a lot of angst.

So, I'll pose a question in rebuttal . . .

See any playoff games for the Caps this spring? . . . I don't.