Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dance Partners: San Jose

ChrisKontos here with your Western Conference edition of Dance Partners. The first blockbuster (?) trade has gone down in the NHL (who knew that Dean McAmmond was still even playing!) and that means the playoffs are rapidly approaching.

As goes Dean McAmmond... so goes Ottawa's playoff hopes.

The race for 8th place has created an incredible logjam in the Western Conference as even the last place Colorado Avalanche (wow, that feels weird to write) are only a few points away from that 8th seed. There are more pretenders than contenders out of the 10 teams that are battling for that spot, so let's breakdown the 3 teams that would make the most entertaining matchups for the Western Conference leading San Jose Sharks and for the NHL. But please remember... San Jose is no Boston... so the NHL is going to have a hard time marketing this series no matter who is playing.

1. Columbus Blue Jackets - (currently in 6th place, but only 2 points away from being 8th)

What the ef is a Blue Jacket?!?

Never bet against Ken Hitchcock. The man has not been anywhere close to the playoffs in 3 seasons but the Blue Jackets have finally figured out how to work in his defensive system. It helps that super mono-fighting rookie Steve Mason has given the BJ's the goaltender they needed. I expect the BJ's to make the biggest move at the deadline and get some help at forward. They've beaten the Sharks twice this season, both in overtime. Watching the high octane speed and offense of the Sharks clash with the defense first mentality of a Hitchcock team could make this a very good series.

NHL Marketability: Um... It's Columbus and San Jose. Not so much.

2. Dallas Stars - (currently in 7th place and cursing the loss of Brad Richards)

James Woods... the Star of Shark.

This is the scenario that the NHL would love the most. Dallas, the team that struggled out of the gate because of its bonehead move to give Sean Avery a bunch of money, would bounce back and sneak into the playoffs to face its division rival, the Sharks. Just think of how much all the TV analysts get to fawn over what cutting their loses with Sean Avery has done for this Stars team. Plus now that Marty Turco has ironed out his kinks, a Nabokov-Turco first round matchup would be fantastic. You know, kind of like the amazing 1-0 Sharks victory from last night. Oh and there was the whole Dallas beating San Jose in the 2nd round last year thing too. I know Ron Wilson remembers that series.

Is there such a thing as an old school Sharks-Stars fight?

NHL Marketability: Have you heard anyone talk about what happened to this Sean Avery character and the Dallas Stars? Wild, huh? I can only imagine they'd bring it up in the playoffs.

3. Anaheim Ducks (currently in 10th, but with the most games played)

Maybe the National Geographic channel will air this series?
(insert Versus joke here)

Wow, this could be a killer series. If the Ducks are able to get their act together in the final months of the season... and JS Giguere remembers how to play goal... this would be a fantastic series for hockey fans. But that's a big IF. The Ducks have plodded along all season and have the least games in hand out of any of the teams battling for 8th. But if they are able to sneak into the playoffs with Niedermayer, Pronger, Getzlaf, Perry and Selanne all still on their roster... watch out. This would be the matchup the Sharks would least want.

NHL Marketability: This could quickly become a classic first round series. Plus I think Battle of California's head would explode blogging about this playoff matchup.


How could you expect me to break down the 8th seed matchup for the Western Conference and not give the Los Angeles Kings a fighting chance? I mean, I've even created a marketing slogan for the Kings push for the 8th seed. Unfortunately, if the Kings continue to shit the playoff race bed like they did this weekend against the Phoenix Coyotes, this matchup is not probable at all. BUT if the Kings did sneak in... well, they would rather play the Detroit Red Wings as at least they've been close in games with that team this year. Damn you Denis Gauthier!

Play-offs? Hmm, never heard of them.

NHL Marketability: Well, having a Los Angeles based team (sorry Anaheim) in the playoffs would make any TV executive happy. And can you imagine the coverage of this series by the various NHL California blogs? Blogging gold. Commenters... it's up to you. What do you think?


jamestobrien said...

I'd probably switch the order: 1. Anaheim 2. Dallas 3. Columbus. As you said, those teams have teased Battle of California for what ... three years, now?

Dallas would be a great storyline, too, since the Stars would be the first in a series of "Get that Monkey off Their Back" challenges for the Sharks.

Columbus would be interesting for the reason you said: they've played San Jose tough this season.

Edmonton would be a bloodbath.

Brian said...

I'm rooting for the Kings to finish in 8th for three reasons:

1) Because I think that would make you cry like a baby

2) It would take away 1/100th of the publicity of the Lakers being in the playoffs and that would make me happy.

3) More Heidi.

Chris Kontos said...

You can never have too much Heidi.

Chris Kontos said...

I agree with the order switching. I guess I was counting down 3, 2, 1.

jamestobrien said...

Also, Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of my favorite shows of all-time.


Vance said...

Any day you can work an It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia reference into a post...it's a good day.

jamestobrien said...

Favorite comedies of the last ten years:

30 Rock
Trailerpark Boys
Arrested Development
It's Always Sunny.

Did I miss anything?

(The American Office is a'ight but in my opinion doesn't quite match those others ... if you haven't seen Trailerpark Boys make it happen. Funniest Canadians ever.