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The Rite of Spring (AKA 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs Thread)


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On 5/22/2021 at 12:54 PM, Dalcowboyfan92 said:

The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking that the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup in 2018 was the worst thing that could've possibly happened to this team.

 

Their hunger is gone, the competitive fire has long since burnt itself out. They've gotten fat and complacent.  Maybe it was for the best they let Trotz go as this once mighty ship sunk into the Potomac. They can't take away the ring, the excitement the fan base had over that magical summer. Ovechkin's legacy was sealed as probably the greatest goal scorer of his generation. But when push came to shove; this team decided to roll over and die. Getting tactically spanked by the Islanders in Toronto last year. This charade with Boston, and letting their emotions get the best of them. Getting humiliated by the Hurricanes and their old friend, Game 7 trying to defend the Cup.

 

Now, I'd still rather have Laviolette over the bumbling Todd Reirden any day of the week, but Washington needs a man behind the bench who can somehow find a way to stoke the flames and get the competitive fire burning back inside each and every player. The window is pretty much shut on this team, but it's foolish to say it's completely shut because momentum can change on a dime, this team could suddenly pull another deep playoff run out of their rear end, but with how the team is playing...

 

This window is going to slam shut. And it's going to end not with a bang, but a whimper.

 

 

On 5/22/2021 at 8:05 PM, Cosmic said:

Never. Winning the ultimate prize in their sport is absolutely never the worst thing that can happen to a team.

 

Exactly. I swear some people would trade a cup for first round picks. Like, "yeah they won it all, but with these guys maybe they could win 2 or 3"? They won a cup. Mission very accomplished. Period. "yeah but"PERIOD!

 

Should this era of Caps hockey have more than one? Probably. Probably should have Pittsburgh's 2017 cup, but they eventually did take care of business. If they hadn't won in 2018 the way the team operates would've changed so it's hard to say how they would've handled the roster in pursuit of that ring, but I don't think the Caps at their best the last 3 years get out of the East anyways even if they weren't "fat and complacent" from the cup win. 

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On 5/21/2021 at 9:42 PM, Crabcake said:

I will say though, if the Bruins hope to make it far in these playoffs, they have to start finishing some of these golden opportunities, but they especially have to be more disciplined. Taking 7 penalties in a game is ridiculous, even if it feels like the refs have been a bit quick on the whistles for the playoffs. They got lucky tonight that Laviolette decided that adjusting is for nerds and the Caps should instead set up both PP units the exact same way, and try for the exact same play on both, after that play (Ovi one-timer) had been blocked by Bruins players six times. 

 

Sir, that is Bruins hockey at it's finest. They score ridiculous goals with ease yet the easiest opportunities pass them by like a fart in the wind.

 

This was a much closer series than the stat book shows. Oshie not being 100% was glaring. Despite Ovi going 2/2/4 he was a complete non-factor for the majority of it - and they wait until the final PP of the series to move him to the top of the umbrella, mind blowing. Rask was absolutely locked in last night, and there was zero chance the Caps were going to take that one when he's on the top of his game. I loved Chara only going after guys who weren't on the 2019/2020 Bruins roster.  Somewhere along the line the Caps lost the physical advantage and let the Bruins toss them around, I don't know why or how, but to me that was the difference here.

 

You've had our number for a decade, it's nice to finally get one.

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The good news: I will be in Raleigh on Thursday, so I will try to find a watch party to enjoy game 6 with other Canes fans. 

 

The bad news: I was really hoping there would not be a game 6. 

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4 hours ago, Sport said:

 

 

 

Exactly. I swear some people would trade a cup for first round picks. Like, "yeah they won it all, but with these guys maybe they could win 2 or 3"? They won a cup. Mission very accomplished. Period. "yeah but"PERIOD!

 

Should this era of Caps hockey have more than one? Probably. Probably should have Pittsburgh's 2017 cup, but they eventually did take care of business. If they hadn't won in 2018 the way the team operates would've changed so it's hard to say how they would've handled the roster in pursuit of that ring, but I don't think the Caps at their best the last 3 years get out of the East anyways even if they weren't "fat and complacent" from the cup win. 

 

I can understand being a little complacent after winning it all. I would not blame anyone for doing so. 

The Raptors have gone from champions to missing the playoffs in two seasons.  Granted their situation is much different, but I will be dammed if I ever saw a fan that would trade that title for anything. Like the Caps, there were painful playoff exits in the years prior, but once they won it all, we can look at the journey and can say it was all worth it.

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Since I have no horse in the race, I'll just add a bite-sized opinion on the "worth it" topic of a title. Considering this is a time when there are 31 losers, compared to 5 when the league started, having one ring helps vindicate any feelings of ongoing failure and chokery. Any team who ends up winning multiple titles doesn't realize how blessed they are in the moment. It's painfully hard just getting to the final two and any wins, no matter if it's one or ten, should be celebrated and considered a huge blessing. 

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21 hours ago, Crabcake said:

The Oilers don’t deserve Connor McDavid just like the Angels don’t deserve Mike Trout. 

 

or Shohei Ohtani.

 

as for the conversation about titles, I've been a fan of New York/New Jersey teams my entire life, and the only one of my teams I've ever seen win a title was Melo-era Syracuse. I was six when that happened. I would gladly have John Spano take over the Isles again if it meant I could see them win a Cup.

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6 hours ago, DEAD! said:

 

I can understand being a little complacent after winning it all. I would not blame anyone for doing so. 

The Raptors have gone from champions to missing the playoffs in two seasons.  Granted their situation is much different, but I will be dammed if I ever saw a fan that would trade that title for anything. Like the Caps, there were painful playoff exits in the years prior, but once they won it all, we can look at the journey and can say it was all worth it.

I saw the Raptors win a NBA Championship. THE RAPTORS! That's more than I ever realistically expected from that team. They can do whatever the hell they want for the rest of their existence. I'm good.

 

Now the Leafs...I need a Cup win. Just one. Please?

 

On 5/23/2021 at 3:31 PM, dont care said:

Eh it’s an even series, Montreal could come back tomorrow and do the same to the leafs.

toronto maple leafs sport GIF by Twitter

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On 5/22/2021 at 11:31 PM, Crabcake said:

Exactly. His points in general still stand but I will never think that Cup was anything but the best thing that ever happened to this otherwise luckless franchise. 
 

Now, letting Barry Trotz go, that’s another story, but I wanna save my full thoughts on that for Sunday when the Bruins put us out to pasture and officially slam our Cup window shut. 

It’s been 24 hours and there far more relevant, and frankly exciting, teams to discuss, but I just want to circle back to this point before I forget. Letting Barry Trotz go after the ‘18 Cup might go down as one of the dumbest moves in history. Not saying we would’ve won another Cup with him, it’s looking more and more like ‘18 was the exception and not the rule. But under Trotz, the Caps never lost in the first round. They lost in the second three years in a row, but they won at least one playoff series every year Trotz was here. They’ve gotten bounced in the 1st round three years in a row. Haven’t won a gosh darn series since the Cup. 


And the whole reason they were fine with letting him go was because they had been grooming Todd Reirden for years to be the coach, and IIRC had turned down several offers from other teams to interview him because they wanted him for the future. Well, as it turns out, Reirden sucked, Trotz left for the Islanders and instantly turned them from a laughingstock to contenders. After Reirden wasted two years of the core, now the Caps are in all-out scramble “win now” mode, which leads to them getting really, really freakin’ old in an attempt to make one last push. They hired one of the ten or so guys that seem to just stick around the NHL forever and bounce from team to team in Laviolette, but it was too little too late. 
 

Now the Caps are left with an aging core that is now officially past their prime, and aging secondary pieces who folded down the stretch of a shortened season. There are a few good pieces in Hershey but, in my opinion, not enough to keep the Cup window open. Certainly not with Ovechkin in tow. 
 

I will forever be grateful for 2018 and the absolute joy and relief that playoff run brought me. But it might be the last Cup I see for a long time. And I’m okay with that. 

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2 minutes ago, RyanMcD29 said:

lmao most hilariously stupid overtime hockey game since last night's peak #HERECOMETHEOILERS. Islanders played their worst game all playoffs and freakin' win it

That Jarry pass was just so :censored:ing stupid lmfao

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1 hour ago, Ridleylash said:

Tampa, are you alright? You seem to be melting down in the presence of Spencer Knight.

 

Any goalie can have a good night. That part isn't going to bother me. But the Lightning are going to need to make sure it doesn't end up bothering them either, because whether it was Crawford in 2015 (two goals in the last three games), Holtby in 2018 (zero goals in the last 159 minutes), Bobrovsky in 2019...you could even include Varlamov last year although they managed to overcome that just barely...the Lightning do have an ugly history of goalies getting in their heads in the late games of playoff meetings.

 

In addition, the Lightning have an awful home record in situations like the one they find themselves in for Wednesday. Last two times they were up 3-2 with Game 6 at home, they lost. And there's the argument that they're fortunate to be up 3-2 in the first place, that even with Kucherov and Stamkos having returned, the Panthers have still controlled the play at even strength in this series, which is rather disconcerting.

 

The loss tonight doesn't bother me. Sometimes the other team just plays a better game and gets a better goaltending performance. This one isn't the end of the world. The one that's going to be a real nuisance for as long as this series continues, and the one that will live in infamy if they ultimately lose this series, was Game 3. There's never an excuse to lose a home playoff game where you have a two-goal lead in the third period. Look at how the Lightning played tonight trailing by two goals in the third and compare it to Florida from last Thursday. Irritating. This series should already be over. Instead, it's one Panthers away win from going to Game 7. And the Lightning only have themselves to blame for that.

 

But, as @See Redis no doubt thinking as he reads this post (which he probably will now since I just tagged him...sorry man), this just sounds like me being super pessimistic again. Maybe I should be super pessimistic - it worked very well in 2020...speaking of which, Vasi :censored: ing sucks in the playoffs! - but the broader truth is that, when you're the lower seeded team, if you find yourself with a 3-2 series lead with Game 6 at home, you should like your chances. I would've signed up for this situation if offered it before the series. The Lightning's previous home failures aren't supposed to have any bearing here. If they wish to be anything more than an overdue one-hit wonder, they need to get over those. Play a solid game on Wednesday, clean things up and make sure you know what you're doing in your own zone, and there's a good chance this series ends that night. They know what they need to do, now the hard part of actually doing it is the next task.

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19 minutes ago, Kramerica Industries said:

But, as @See Redis no doubt thinking as he reads this post (which he probably will now since I just tagged him...sorry man), this just sounds like me being super pessimistic again.

 

I share the pessimism, man.  Trust me, I'm as pessimistic as you may be.  That's why I waited until they won the cup to poke at your Vasi post last year. 😆

 

I'll point out that I missed game four, where the Lightning obviously won handily -- but I think they've been outplayed by Florida in the time I've watched -- certainly at even strength.  Kucherov, for all of his points in this series, doesn't appear to be all that close to 100% (his timing his, which is crazy, but physically, he's not there), Stamkos's shot isn't dialed in.  Tonight was frustrating not because they couldn't put one past Knight but because they didn't give themselves chances in the last two periods.  If they had played in the last two periods the way they did in the first period (even without 25 or however many shots) they would've put one in.  But everything seems congested when they get the puck while Florida skates in space.  They just can't figure it out when the other team clogs the neutral zone. 

 

But I felt this same way at times against New York and Dallas last year, so who knows.

 

Oh, and Huberdeau and Barkov scare the crap out of me.

 

edit: As I posted this I got hit with a wave of optimism for some reason. 🤷‍♂️

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On 5/22/2021 at 12:54 PM, Dalcowboyfan92 said:

Now, I'd still rather have Laviolette over the bumbling Todd Reirden any day of the week, but Washington needs a man behind the bench who can somehow find a way to stoke the flames and get the competitive fire burning back inside each and every player.

12nhl-superJumbo.jpg

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3 hours ago, Ridleylash said:

Break out the brooms for the Oilers! 🧹🧹🧹🧹

Pathetic. 
 

And once again we are reminded that hockey is a team game. 

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11 hours ago, IceCap said:

I saw the Raptors win a NBA Championship. THE RAPTORS! That's more than I ever realistically expected from that team. They can do whatever the hell they want for the rest of their existence. I'm good.

 

Now the Leafs...I need a Cup win. Just one. Please?

 

toronto maple leafs sport GIF by Twitter

 

Did I imagine this or did you have a Habs logo in your signature not too long ago? 

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