Thoughts After the First Round of the 2019 Playoffs

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Note – I did not watch a single game of the Dallas Stars/Nashville Predators series or Game seven of the Washington Capitals/Carolina Hurricanes series so it won’t be included in this article.

  • Worst.  Officiated.  Opening.  Round.  Ever.
  • If there’s one GM that needs to be immediately put on the hot seat following their team’s ouster from the playoffs is Winnipeg Jets General Manager Kevin Cheveldayoff. Cheveldayoff has spent years building from within while removing the stench and ineptitude of the Atlanta Thrashers personnel.  For years and years, we’ve waited to see what he can do to build a winner and after these playoffs people are still waiting.  Kevin Cheveldayoff has had more than enough time to build a winner as he’s been too afraid to take a chance on a trade (non-trade deadline deal) that can help his roster.  The team is horrible 5 on 5 and they just don’t have the depth to go deep in the playoffs.  The Jets ouster from the playoffs isn’t a coaching problem, it’s a GM problem.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning lost in four straight games because they thought they could take their one-dimensional game plan and apply it to the post season. What the team didn’t seem to realize is that you need to have a Plan B, C, D, E, F, G, etc when your opponents solve your primary game plan.
  • The San Jose Sharks have an All-Star caliber roster and yet they put on the laziest, most sloppy playoff performance I’ve seen in a long time. If they have injuries to key players, that would go a long way to explaining their pitiful performance.
  • Martin Jones is the main reason that it took the San Jose Sharks seven games to win the series instead of winning it in less games. He also led the NHL in goals allowed in the first period (50+) this regular season.  And the Sharks turned to him in the playoffs?  Really?
  • Brent Burns play in the opening round proves that his Norris Trophy Nomination is a complete and utter joke. Drew Doughty was right in this tweet from this past season.
  • For years I’ve been following the New York Islanders and been hoping for that one moment when everything clicks for the team.  The Islanders of the 2019 playoffs are playing like the team I always through they would become.  Credit that to their GM Lou Lamoriello and their head coach Barry Trotz who changed the team philosophy across the board.
  • Following the Toronto Maple Leafs ouster from the playoffs, the part of the Canadian media who just stir the shit pot to sell product or boost ratings fail to realize one simple fact – The Leafs do not have a good enough team to go deep in the playoffs. That’s not Mike Babcock’s problem.   That said, if there’s one really bright spot for the Leafs moving forward its goaltender Frederik Andersen who was on fire during the opening round.
  • Calgary Flames Goaltender Mike Smith doing Mike Smith things….again… However, the Flames are woefully inexperienced in the playoffs so it’s probably not ALL Mike Smith’s fault…probably.
  • In case you haven’t heard, the officials from Game 2 of the Boston/Toronto series and Game 7 of the San Jose/Las Vegas series are not calling games in the second round.
  • The Pittsburgh Penguins had zero depth scoring in round one and changes to that team need to be made. However, in an Article from The Athletic today, the problem points to challenges with the players themselves.  Changes to that team are coming.  I’d also add, they do not have any depth beyond the first line to help in scoring when the main scorers get shut down as they did against the Islanders.  If you shut down that Pittsburgh first line, the rest of the team can’t score.  Given that, the chances of the Islanders winning are pretty large.
  • In case you missed it – The NHL apologized to the Las Vegas Golden Knights for the atrocious Game 7 Vegas officiating.
  • One thing I have a problem with is given that Hitting part of a game plan in the playoffs, the NHL needs to decide where the threshold is for refs to step in and when not to step in….now.
  • The Columbus Blue Jackets are an example of that team that just ‘clicks’ when the playoffs start.  The team was firing on all cylinders and their solid mental discipline is something that GM’s dream of their teams having in the playoffs.
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