Sports by Randy Charles Morin.
Copyright 2005-10 Randy Charles Morin
Owned by Rapid Spiral Development Inc.
This last weekend, while coaching my son's hockey team to our fourth consecutive defeat, I found out that one of my players is being pushed extremely hard by his father. The father operated one of the two bench doors for me (the defenseman side) for that game. I rotate the players on defense, but after putting this kid on defense, he started asking me not to put him on defense again. Why? Because he had to sit beside and listen to his father tell him he was playing awful. I gave the kid a break and played him on forward the rest of the game. That didn't stop his dad from yelling at him most of the game. After each shift, the kid would ask me if he played a good shift. I always answer 'Yes'. He once replied, 'My dad doesn't think I'm playing well'. The kid is a pretty good hockey player. I suspect that he'll quit playing sometime in the next 12 months.
TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS REVISED 2008 SCHEDULE
15 vs. Bloomington Jr. High School Girls
22 vs. Cub Scout Troop #101
29 vs. CNIB Senior Team
5 vs. Spanish-American War Vets
12 vs. Crippled Children's Hospital
19 vs. St. Cloud Home for Wayward Girls
26 vs. Girl Scout Troop #69
5 vs. Ontario VD Clinic Post #3
12 vs. Church Street Boy's Choir
19 vs. Korean War Amputees
26 vs. VA Hospital Polio Patients
Special Monday Night Game:
March 3 vs. Utopia Gay Boys
The Toronto Maple Leafs will be changed to the Toronto Tampons' as they are only good for one period, and they don't have a second string.
Paul Maurice will be replaced by Pamela Anderson. No doubt she will blow a few, but she won't choke up on the BIG ONE.
1. When playing the Girl Scouts, the Leafs must not eat their cookies.
2. The Leafs will be allowed to substitute with band members at any time during the game.
3. When playing the Polio Patients, the Leafs must not disconnect any of the leg braces.
4. There will be no more dancing with opposing teams, like the last time they played the Utopia Gay Boys.
5. The Leafs MUST PROMISE to remember that when the referee drops the puck, this signals the beginning of play. This is to ensure that no more time will be wasted while the Leafs try to figure out what just happened.
6. The Leafs must also stop tangling the crippled children in the net mesh.
"GOLF LEAFS GOLF"
Red Wings vs Sharks
The Red Wings made it to the 2nd round on a horrible performance by the Flames. Unfortunately, they now have to play a much better team. The key to this series is Pavel Datsyuk. After a quick start in the playoffs, he's once again pulled his playoff disappearing act with 1 assist in his last 4 games. If Detroit wants to win, then Pavel has to show up. Go with the Sharks.
Ducks vs Canucks
Both the Canucks and Stars should've been eliminated in the first round but one of them had to win. If the Canucks are gonna win again, then Roberto Luongo is gonna be the reason, but that won't be enough. The Swedes are the key to this series. Can Markus Naslund, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin score against the best defense in hockey; Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin and Scott Niedermeyer?
Defense: +2 Ducks
Sabres vs Rangers
The Rangers really don't have much chance here. They will need an amazing performance by Lundqvist to stand any chance. The key is gonna have to be Avery running Miller in the first 5 minutes of game one. The Rangers can't win this series straight up.
Senators vs Devils
The Devils played really bad against the Lightning and Brodeur bailed them out. The key to the series will be Emery. If Emery plays well, then the Senators should win, because the Devils simply don't compete outside of the crease.
Goaltending: +2 Devils
Offense: +2 Senators
Note: In the six series decided to date, I'm 6 for 6 in my predictions.
Red Wings vs. Flames
This looks like the easiest upset prediction in world history. The Red Wings are proven chokers and now minus Yzerman. The Flames on the other hand are known for playoff grit. The goaltending should be spectacular with Kiprusoff and Hasek. The key to the series is Datsyuk. He usually disappears in the playoffs and is likely the biggest reason that the Red Wings are known chokers.
Defense: +Red Wings
Offense: +Red Wings
Heart: +2 Flames
Ducks vs. Wild
There's a lot of people predicting upset here, but honestly, it just can't happen. The Oilers went to the finals last season on Pronger's back. He's now on the Ducks. Add Giguere's spectacular 2003 playoff, Scott Niedermayer (what can I can?), Teemu Selanne gets better in big tourney's and this team is loaded with playoff performers. The key is going to be the Wild's goaltending (Backstrom or Fernandez). Somebody between the Wild pipes is gonna have to play the best seven games of his life.
Defense: +2 Ducks
Canuks vs. Stars
This is a difficult one to predict. I wouldn't expect either team to go very far in this years playoff. This'll be the first time the Sedin's (Daniel and Henrik) are the go to guys on offense. This is also Luongo's first playoff go, but he's proved himself in World tournament before. In the other net is known playoff choker Marty Turco. The key to this series is whether the Star bother to show up.
Predators vs. Sharks
This is gonna be a very unexciting series. Except for the key player to be named later, I would expect the Sharks to win and get knocked out in the 2nd round. Can Joe Thornton break his streak of playoff choking (only 27 points in 46 games)? The key to this series will be Forsberg. Forsberg has scored within one point of a point per game in 11 straight playoffs. This guy is a playoff god.
Sabres vs. Islanders
This will likely be a walk, since the Sabres are healthy and had good playoff experience last season. With DiPietro coming back off injury and not having played in a couple weeks, he might be stale for the first game. He is the key to the series. If he doesn't play his best hockey for six games, then the Islanders will be in trouble. The Islander push for the playoff was impressive, but nobody expect them to win and I think they've already hit their goal, just getting into the playoffs.
Devils vs. Lightning
This series should prove what is more valuable. Great scorers or a great goalie. The Devils would not have made the playoffs without Brodeur and the Lightning would not have made the playoffs without Lecavalier and St. Louis. My money is on the Devils, mostly because of the massive goaltending advantage. Holmqvist is by far the worst starting goaltender in this year's playoff and Brodeur is the best. But, with the recent problems in the Devils organization, I wouldn't preclude an upset. The key to this series is behind the bench. Will the Devils play for Lamoriello after he fired their coach?
Goaltending: +2 Devils
Offense: +2 Lightning
Thrasher vs. Rangers
This is looking like an upset. The Thrashers are new the playoffs and that usually means bad things. On the other hand, the Trashers have a scary defense and great scoring. Even if the Rangers win, they'll get beat up. Avery is the wild card in this series. He could lose it with the stupidity he's known for or he could play rough but smart and even up the Thrasher's physical advantage.
Senators vs. Penguins
The Penguins are the team of the future, but the Senators could be the team of 2007. The Senators are prime for a good playoff. They've changed the team. Brought in players that have performed in big tournaments (Heatley). Like the Trasher series, 1st year playoff teams like Pittsburgh often don't play up to playoff speed. The key to this series will be Crosby. Duh!? He could just want to win now and it'll happen.