After a holiday without hockey -- sadly, there are more of those coming -- the playoffs resume tonight as the Hurricanes try to stave off sweepitis. Will the record for "the worst call in the history of sports" be eclipsed so soon? Read the book -- er, watch the game.
As many predicted, we appear to be heading toward a finals rematch, which will feel like "same old, same old" to some. But seeing two franchises compete for the Cup a second time is a novelty not seen since the '80s, when it was actually quite common. Many have cited that the last rematch was 1984, when the Oilers avenged their finals loss to the Islanders in 1983, the last year of the dynasty.
But the '80s provided a few other rematches of sorts, as 1985 finalists Oilers-Flyers met again in 1987 (alas, Edmonton won both, although '87 was an epic 7-game series). And 1986 finalists Calgary and Montreal met again in 1989, with the Flames avenging their '86 loss for their first and only Cup. Finally, the 1990 Oilers-Bruins final was a rematch of the '88 final -- though this time ex-Oiler goalie Andy Moog was a Bruin and ex-Bruin Bill Ranford a Conn Smythe-winning Oiler.
And that was it. While just four teams (New Jersey, Colorado, Detroit, Dallas) shared the Cup between 1995 and 2003 and even Dallas made more than one finals appearance, not one of the finals in that span was a rematch of one we'd seen before. So with Detroit and Pittsburgh likely winning out, at least there's that.
Playoff (and golfing) reactions from around SBN and the wide world of hockey
- Canes Country: "It could be worse." ("Worse? How could it be worse? Jehovah, Jehovah, Jehovah...")
- The Penguins, sitting pretty: The Penguins' special teams rock. [Pensburgh] They also link to a nice Pens' official site story about how the supporting cast for Malkrosby has been huge, too, particularly ol' captain Billy Guerin.
- It's been a rough year for Brian Campbell, in year one of an 8-year, $56 million deal. But Second City Hockey says he's alright, looking into what you get for that money. (Speaking of overpaid blueliners, this is three weeks old but still interesting: A Sens fan trying to understand what happened to Wade Redden.)
- The NHLPA talks about head shots and concussion management. But after Martin Havlat is knocked out with what sure looked like a concussion, he's back the next game, only to leave early. Should he have played? [From the Rink]
- Avs fans react to the thought of Patrick Roy getting the GM and head coaching job. It sure sounds like tomfoolery to me, but we named our backup goalie GM, so... [Mile High Hockey]
- Roy denies it all, yet even his mom is talking. The whole thing mixed with Montreal rumors does not increase my inclination to trust in Roy as Savior. [Denver Post]
- The Bruins have an absurd off-season surgery list, the Winter Classic will definitely be at Fenway against Philly or D.C., and Team USA has a deeper pool of Okposos to choose from for the Olympics, compared to the smaller, no-brainer core of Guerins they had for World Cup '96. [Boston Globe]
- Self-serving alert: I sympathize with the unmet expectations in San Jose, so I wrote to the fine folks at Fear the Fin about how the pre-dynasty Islanders were also once labelled playoff "chokers." 'Cause you never know...
And because this is an Islanders blog
- Nick starts "Movement Week" with: How to handle Lighthouse Project supporters whose support rests solely on being an Islander fan.
- Logan has Scott Gordon on Kyle Okposo, Mark Streit and the Worlds: Okposo has shown that he can produce under pressure.