There are a lot of good teams in the NHL, with the vast majority of them playing in the Western Conference. The length of the playoff rounds in the West is a testament to that. In fact, only one series played thus far took fewer than six games. (Detroit vs. Phoenix, first round). There is reason to believe that teams like Chicago and Detroit would still be in the post season mix were they fortunate enough to play in the Eastern Conference, though it’s of course impossible to know.
Whether things went right or went wrong, the most common answer is usually the simplest one. Often you’ll see analysts break down a series in a way that’s fairly one-sided. I think there is a need to keep things simple. It’s much easier to describe certain aspects of play (offence, physical play, etc) than it is to describe defensive breakdowns, poor coaching decisions, and other gaffes that are generally uninteresting and require more time and analysis. (It may also be due in part to the way we get our news – TV for instance is a medium which isn’t built for thorough analysis due to its short and varied segments). It’s much easier to say “Ryan Kesler dominated the Nashville Predators” and leave it at that; it’s more labour intensive to discuss Mike Fisher’s weaknesses – not that great in the faceoff circle, poor defensive awareness, overmatched physically, etc.
Similarly, for years, people have been questioning star players like the Sedins’ and Joe Thornton for their playoff failures, and partially or fully ignored their key opponents. In this year’s playoffs, the Sedins’ have faced the following defensive pairings: Continue reading