Around the League – Playoff Edition – Wk 2

The NHL might not be on par with the NBA, NFL or MLB on a global scale, but any astute sports fan will realize that the NHL playoffs are the most dramatic, electrifying and utterly exciting.

Baseball and football can’t match the type of upsets we continually see in hockey, because they never have the 16th ranked team playing the first place team. The NBA rarely sees these types of upsets because they’ve only recently gone to best of seven in the first round. Only the 2007 Golden State Warriors (8th seed) have upset the top seed (Dallas Mavericks) in a seven game series.

The NHL has seen this movie countless times, and it never gets old.

I went to J.H Picard High School, and suffice to say I had to deal with many Habs fans. I despised the Habs, mostly because my buddy Benny loved them, and because I couldn’t stand Patrick Roy. 1986 and 1993 were the two longest springs of my life. Benny wasn’t a diehard fan, who could name every player, but he was staunchly loyal to the Canadiens and made it known every day in school how great those Cup runs were.

I still can’t stand the Habs, but watching them become the first 8th seed to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a series was highly entertaining. I, like everyone, didn’t give the Habs a chance at the start of the series, and going into game seven I, like most, were certain their bubble would burst.

As I watched the final seconds tick down I wondered where this series would rank in terms of biggest upsets of all time.

There were a few obvious ones that came to mind. The Oilers stunning the Wings in 2006, or the Sharks winning their first ever series led by Arturs Irbe and his horrible helmet/mask combination over the same Wings in 1994.

Do you remember the 1993 Islanders ending the Penguins quest for three straight Cups when David Volek scored in OT of game seven? I still remember his awful helmet, and I know it was in the 2nd round, but the Pens were stacked.

How about the Miracle on Manchester in 1982? When the Kings won the series 3-2, but more importantly, won game five 6-5 in OT, after trailing 5-0 early in the second period.

Or when the young Oilers led by Andy Moog and Wayne Gretzky swept the storied Montreal Canadiens three games straight in 1981. The Oilers were the 14th seed and Montreal was seeded 3rd heading into the postseason.

Some would suggest the Canadiens upset of the vaunted Bruins in 1971 was huge, but the Canadiens had 97 points that year. The Bruins finished with 118 and were clearly favoured, but for my money that isn’t in the same category as the aforementioned series.

Of course there have been others. The Sharks were seeded first last year only to lose to Anaheim in the first round.

In 2000, the Sharks were eighth when they faced The Human Rake and the Blues who finished 27 points ahead of them, but the Sharks won in seven games when Steve Shields stood on his head in goal.

You could pick through a myriad of upsets involving the seven seed. Since 1994, when the NHL went to the current playoff system, the seventh seed has won 15 of the 32 series including the Flyers this season.

1994: Both seven seeds won. The Capitals defeated the Penguins in six, while the Canucks downed he Flames in seven.

1995: The Sharks defeated the 2nd ranked Flames in seven.

1996: No upsets.

1997: Oilers defeated the Stars in seven.

1998: Edmonton surprised Colorado in seven, while the Canadiens downed the Penguins in six.

1999: The seventh seeded Sabres swept Ottawa four straight to start their surprising run to the Cup.

2000: Pittsburgh stunned Washington in five games.

2001: Toronto swept the Senators and the Kings upset the Wings in six. (Getting swept as a number two seed twice in three years must have really hurt Senators’ fans.)

2002: Ottawa gets some redemption routing Philly in five games.

2003: Anaheim shocks Detroit in four starting their improbable trek to the Cup.

2004: Montreal continues to own the Bruins winning in seven games.

2005: No season

2006: Colorado spanks Dallas in five.

2007: No upsets

2008: No upsets

2009: No upsets

2010: Flyers dominate the Devils in five.

The Canadiens finished 33 points back of the Canadiens, which is the biggest gap since the LA Kings and their 46-point deficit shocked the Oilers in 1982, and when you couple the 33-point difference and coming back to win in seven after trailing three games to one, the Canadiens win has to be considered one of the greatest of all time.

Do you have any other memorable upsets?


As we come to the end of the first round of the NHL playoffs, we also need to take a moment the salute the Ice Women that are no longer with us. As they hang up their toe picks, shovels, mid-drift bearing shirts and t-shirt slings for the season, we feature the blondes, brunettes, toned and tanned from those teams that won’t be moving to the 2nd round.

Say hello to Ashlyn a rookie from Nashville, Sara the beach babe from LA and Liz who cheered the Coyotes all the way to game seven. Cheer on ladies and we patiently await your return next season!


  • I wonder if those who think Ovechkin is a better player than Crosby still think that? Crosby was in on 14 of the 24 Penguin’s goals. Ovechkin was in on ten of 22, but didn’t do much in games six and seven when it mattered most.
  • I have no idea why I will even submit my picks for the second round after going an embarrassing 3-5 in the first round. Although I doubt many of you had the Habs, Bruins and Flyers moving on. At least my pick of the Sharks to win the Cup is still alive.
  • I’ll take the Pens in six and the Flyers in six. The Bruins will get a huge boost with Savard coming back, but the Flyers are playing exceptional team defence right now. I said I should have picked the Flyers in the first round and didn’t and with three injuries, Gagne, Laperriere and Carter I should go with the Bruins, but I won’t. The Pens have experience in the playoffs, and their big guns, Crosby and Malkin will produce where Washington’s didn’t.
  • The best series should be the Hawks and Canucks. The Canucks want payback from last year, while the Hawks are out to prove they’re a legitimate threat to win the Cup. I’ll take Kane and his Mullet in six games. (More on this series later) The Sharks should be more relaxed, and while the Wings have more experience and players who deliver in the clutch, I’ll take the Sharks in seven. We probably won’t see a Joe Thornton sighting, but Patrick Marleau will make an appearance this round.
  • How long before the league renames the Hart Trophy the Wayne Gretzky Trophy?
  • All is quiet on the Flames front regarding any changes, which means we’ll probably see a major one. Just a hunch but if someone goes, I bet it is Brent Sutter not Darryl.
  • The more I think about it the more I like Drew Doughty to the Norris, and he might own it for the next seven years. Outside of Duncan Keith do you see any D-man challenging him over the next few seasons?
  • I wonder how many sleepness nights Darrly Sutter has had watching Mike Cammalleri become the offensive leader of the Canadiens? When he traded for Olli Jokinen in 2009 he basically said goodbye to the dyslexic squid. Ouch.
  • Tyler Seguin was named OHL player of the year, but that shouldn’t sway the scout’s decision, just like they shouldn’t be swayed if Taylor Hall makes it to the Memorial Cup. I said shouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be. Their job is to project which one will be better in the NHL, not who is the best right now.
  • Cassie Campbell should stop tweeting.
  • Worst decision in a long time goes to the City of Vancouver, Mayor Mike Robertson and the Vancouver Canucks for declaring Tuesday April 27th CANUCKS DAY. What the hell were they thinking? They won one round. Talk about a premature celebration. What happens if they beat Chicago, will it be Canucks Day round two? I know they have never won the Stanley Cup, but they’ve made it to the finals twice, at least act like you’ve won a series before.
  • JW, is it an election year in BC? Is Robertson trying to drum up some votes?
  • 2 things:

    1) Dont you sass-talk Arturs Irbe. That dude stuffed his own goalie pads! That’s hardcore.

    2) Cassie Campbell should not be involved in professional men’s hockey on any level. She is a blight on all matters NHL.

    • Tracie

      Hey Arch,

      Can I ask a question? Why no love for Cassie Campbell? I’ve only watched her a few times, and she’s not as insightful as Ray Ferraro, but I didn’t mind her at all when she’s on CBC… Maybe it’s b/c I am also female, but I like the fact that they have a female on the broadcast team instead of it being a boys club. I’m not challenging you b/c you have obviously seen her more that I have, I just don’t get the hate…


      • No worries, it’s just my opinion. It seems to me that more often than not she rails against physicality/violence in the game of hockey to the point where if the game was played her way there wouldnt even be body checking (a la women’s hockey). It’s just a pet peeve of mine when I hear her make a comment about how cheap/dirty hit X was when she never played in a league that allowed NHL style hitting. She rubbed me the wrong way early in her broadcasting career and now I’m probably too biased to judge her fairly.

        Her, Glenn Healey, and Al Strachan make up my hockey broadcasting Bizzarro land dream team from hell.

        She’s also anti-Icegirl. What kind of monster is anti-Icegirl?

        • Tracie

          LOL! I’m even for the Ice Girls! Gregor can sure pick ’em!

          I get that…I play womens hockey and hate the fact there is no hitting! I think I would be a way more effective player if I could hit those b*tches! LOL!

          I agree that she shouldn’t be commenting on stuff she has no experience on (i.e. Hitting), I mean it would be easy for her to dodge those questions…I guess it is almost the same as someone like Kelly Hrudey commenting on hitting, but he always qualifies his comments with something like, “I was a goalie so obviously I never experienced anything like this in my career, but in my opinion…” So I can totally see how that would rub you, as well as alot of people, the wrong way! Thanks for answering!!

          I think the sportsnet guys are pretty bad…I think if I were to add to your list, Doug Maclean would definitely be on there!

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F


    Great stuff as usual, but I’m really looking forward to your show today. You do an incredible job of getting people to talk about their hardships, but in a way that is comfortable. My wife tuned in last year, and is one of your biggest fans now.

    Also, Crosby over Ovechkin it isn’t close. I don’t know much on Seguin or Hall, but I’m leaning towards Seguin more and more because he is a centre. We win either way I think.

  • Chaz

    I agree Jason, I too hate the Habs and usually cheer against them, but it’s always nice seeing an upset like that last night. Beware the good teams who had disappointing regular seasons. IE: Boston, Philly. I thought Gomez had a great game last night. Reminded me of Peca in 2006. Everyone was disappointed in his regular season performance, but come the playoffs, guys like that show up.

    Not that anyone cares, but here are my predictions for round 2:

    SJ and Chicago

    Boston and Pittsburg

    Pitt and Chicago play for the Cup.

    ~Has nothing to do with my playoff draft.~

  • Cassie Campbell should stop tweeting.


    The Habs game last night is kinda starting to remind me of our run in 06. THe coaching staff coming up with a plan, the players buying into the plan & riding a hot goalie. 180 blocked shots is ridiculous. I guess we need to wait & see what sort of game plan they come up with for Pittsburgh.

    Guys like Dom Moore, Gill, Gorges & Lapierre are stepping up pretty big. Ask Shawn Horcoff what a good play-off run can do for you Max Lapierre.

  • Bob Cobb

    Just a Few things:
    First, Ashlyn…..DAMN!!!!

    Second, Cassie Campbell should not be doing hockey, I will say this, she does have a deeper voice than Peter Loubardias, maybe she could do Flames games for Sportsnet because that guy SUCKS!!!!

    And lastly, As for Playoff pools, I have 4 Sharks, 3 Penguins, and 3 Flyers. My pick was a Pittsburgh and San Jose final.

  • Mouse

    The entire sportsnet cast is atracious. Taylor is the worst – they should send him packing and boot him out the door all while wearing Sergio Memmesso’s number 27 jersey…

    They are so biased it is a little embarassing.

    Also, even though I was cheering for Van last round (only for the playoff pool) I thought Hughson was incredibly biased as well to Vancouver. He is the best in the game, but he really has to call it down the middle.

    Went 6 for 8 lst round, so 1 and 3 seems about right for the second:

    Pitt in 5 Phili in 6 Det in 6 Chi in 7

    EDIT: Agreed Loubardias is the worst. Ever. Ever.

  • @ Jason Gregor:

    No, that’s just how they roll down in Vancouver.

    This is the same franchise that retired a jersey with the number seven on it to represent just how awesome their fans have been and named their goalie captain.

    It’s a weird town.

  • Jason Gregor wrote:

    All is quiet on the Flames front regarding any changes, which means we’ll probably see a major one. Just a hunch but if someone goes, I bet it is Brent Sutter not Darryl.

    I suspect you’re right on this, but if Flames ownership let’s Darryl hire a fifth coach under his watch as G.M. that’s going to say bad things about the decision making up top.

  • My prediction: the Habs ride the momentum of their first round upset all the way to the stanley cup final, only to have Marc Andre Bergeron take out Halak’s knee and they lose in game 7.

    too soon?

    • No, it’s good! MAB even scored last night from his knees. Sweet upset, Halak reprising his Olympic form and stoning the Russians again.

      Andrew Ladd was the steam-Roli-er and is playing pisscutter hockey for the Hawks.

      Montreal rioted when they won in 93.

      Vancouver rioted when they lost in 94.

      Montreal has it all over VanCity.

      I actually think this will be the best second round ever. The West has 2 great series, and Boston/Philly should be like the 70’s again. Unbelievable how Washington blew it.

  • Also, makes me lean more towards Seguin. Centers just have the opportunity to control the game that much more. Hard to win without a good one. Though Backstrom is pretty good…so…I guess what do I know? TEAM SEGall.

    • Heh. Yeah, something like that…

      Paddy Wagons were the parade floats and instead of fireworks there were flashbangs and taser celebrations. Aaah the rhythmic music of riot shield drumming – I remember it like it was yesterday.

      • Jodes

        Ah yes good times those were!

        Don’t forget the subtle sewer spray to refresh all the parade participants! Or was that back in the 80s?

        All the riots blend into one after awhile!

    • Skidplate

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t there a parade on the red mile after every playoff game the flames won.

      I guess when there is so few, you need to celebrate. 😉

  • Ahh that Arturs Irbe’s headgear, used to mock my younger brother, calling him Irby when he let a weak one in during ball hockey tilts in the 90s (he hated that helmet-mask).

    I hated Montreal with a passion (this comming from half french-Canadian), used to be a Flyer fan until that 81 series, turned to the Oilers because they beat those despised habitants and Moog was great in that series. I have softened on the Habs since.

  • MrCondor

    I don’t know if Philly is going to win against Boston. Philly is really banged up and Boston is getting injured players back. Boston’s 1-2 goalie tandom owns a hot (potentially streaky) Boucher. Boston in 6

    I love OV and the Caps – they play damn exciting hockey. But you can only come down the wing, cut to center and take a wrist shot so many times before a team figures out how stop it. The entire Caps team played like Patrick O’Sullivan – shot without any regard to what’s happening in front of them. I think Crosby is going to rip up Montreal’s defensive system: He is just so creative. Pens in 5

    San Jose/ Detroit is a toss up skill wise, so you gotta pick a team of winners, not a team of losers. Detroit in 6

    I was dreaming of a Chicago/Van rematch since last year. Chicago is a lot deeper on paper, but after watching Van’s 3rd line plus Edler, Erhoff and Sammeulson (sp?) pick up their games in the first round, it’s super hard to call. I think Buff ruining Bobby Lou’s game is going to be the edge. Hawks in 7

    My favorite Playoff Tweeters are DownGoesBrown and JeffMarek. They are both pretty funny.

  • maimster

    Worst decision in a long time goes to the City of Vancouver, Mayor Mike Robertson and the Vancouver Canucks for declaring Tuesday April 27th CANUCKS DAY. Followed by second worst decision to retire Trevor Linden’s Jersey…isn’t that like the Oilers retiring Kelly Buchberger’s?

  • Cowbell_Feva

    What is surprising about the Vancouver Canucks jumping the gun?? If you went according to what their delusional fans think, they would have won 10 Cups by now.

    Hawks in 6!

  • maimster

    Minor point, but in the Miracle on Manchester, the Kings were trailing 5-0 into the 3rd period, scoring all 5 of their goals in the 3rd (including the immortal Steve Bozek with 5 seconds left) before winning in OT. I was a fan of the Kings then (along with the Flames – you’re allowed to be a sports bigamist when you’re 13!) and hated the Oilers, so I remember well. Plus the rest of my family loved the Oilers and my Dad was so pissed at me after this game, calling Marcel Dionne a “dink”. Hard to forget that one. I think that’s still the greatest upset in NHL history (the game and the series, even if it was only 5 games).

  • White Copper and Blue 99

    Hey Jason, correction, I said the Habs would edge the Capitals in my hockey Pool. Yes, I am an Oiler fan but: a) I hate Ovechkin
    and b) I usually cheer for the underdog.

    Canucks – Candiens final. Book it.