Random Thoughts: NHL Playoffs Edition

Photo credit:Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
14 days ago
The NHL playoffs kick off tonight, and that felt like the perfect opportunity to empty my brain of all its delicious contents as we prepare for our own playoff run to kick off on Monday.


The first round of the NHL playoffs kicks off this afternoon between the New York Islanders and Carolina Hurricanes before the Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins get going shortly afterward, and I’m incredibly excited that the first round is a few short hours from launching. From my side of the TV screen, the first round is the best round by far, and I’m very much looking forward to watching it all go down.
Every year, we have first-round upsets and underdog stories that capture our collective imaginations, and I think this year’s edition of the first round will be more of the same. There are a lot of good teams going head-to-head, and my body is ready to watch it all happen. Given how tight some of the seeding races were until the final few days of the season, there will be some fantastic hockey to watch as divisional rivals square off every couple of days for the next two weeks.


Looking at the first round matchups, there will be so much fantastic hockey to watch that we’ll need to prioritize our viewing time effectively. For my money, the series I’m most looking forward to watching outside of Edmonton/LA will be the Leafs vs. Bruins, the Jets vs. Avalanche, and Dallas vs. Vegas. Those are six heavyweights going at it, my friends, and the battles are going to be fantastic to watch.
Those three series are going to be highly skilled and spicy, and they will eliminate three very good teams from the post-season before the playoffs are even two weeks old. That’s three potential Cup contenders who will be golfing by the May long weekend, and if that’s not good sports, then I don’t know what is. My hope for all three of those series is that the six teams beat each other up so badly that even making it out of this first round will be a heavy price to pay.
Please reach out to me in the comments to let me know which non-Oilers series you’re most excited to watch.


The last thing I’m going to do is feel overconfident about the Oilers’ first round series against the LA Kings, but I am certainly excited about it. While some people think it’s boring for these two teams to meet up for the third straight year, I love that the rivalry is going to get some fresh gas thrown on the fire. The best rivalries in sports are born in the playoffs, and we’ve got the makings of a beauty with the folks down in LA.
If the Oilers play up to their own standards, I believe this will be a third straight win for our boys. I feel like they’re the better, deeper team, and that’s going to be a big hurdle to clear for the Kings even with their 1-3-1 defensive deployment. That said, the LA Kings are will be incredibly motivated and hungry to end this streak, and the result should be a spicy series regardless of how long it goes. My prediction is that Edmonton closes the series out in six games, and I think all six of those matchups are going to be incredibly intense.


One of my favourite thing that happens in the first round lately is when local artists put out playoff songs for their favourite team. We all remember the Calgary Flames “Win the Cup” rap that came out a few years ago, but I think my favourite part about that song was how everyone blamed those guys when Calgary eventually lost. If I’m a local artist, the last thing I want to do is put myself on blast with a mediocre tune that opposing fans can use to make fun of the entire city.
From an Edmonton perspective, I’m suggesting that we make a collective agreement as Oilers fans to banish any local artist that tries to put another one of these things out. Unless the track is a masterpiece — seems unlikely tbh — we should commit to banishing said person from the city temporarily. Yes, the punishment is harsh, but I think it’s only fair given the quality of the songs that have come out recently. Unless we get something chartable, I want only greatness associated with our beloved franchise.


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