What a whirlwind these NHL playoffs have been eh? For the first time in what seems like a long time, a Canadian team (probably the most important one) is left in the final four. I believe, and may be wrong, that when Calgary was in the finals a few years back is the most recent time a Canadian team has gone this far. Montreal surely seems to be the team of destiny, an inexplicable run through the Capitals and Penguins.
This run is posing problems for the NHL I believe. Obviously the networks (Vs. and NBC) would have loved a Washington-Pittsburgh conference finals in the East, and probably something like a Detroit-San Jose or Detroit-Chicago matchup out west. The Sharks-Blackhawks series should be a fruitful one for fans and those that stand to profit. The city of Chicago always supports their teams voraciously and the Blackhawks are a young and exciting group. San Jose is a good story because of their past playoff flame-outs and maybe they have overcome those demons.
But in the East, we have the one, two and three seeds all eliminated in the first round. I am not a one-man Elias Sports Bureau but has that ever happened before? The saving grace was that Pittsburgh is a defending champion, star-studded #4 seed, but now they are out. The league better hope to God that Boston wins Game 7 against Philly. At least then there is a fierce rivalry in the conference finals, even if it's two teams that by all rights shouldn't be there. A Montreal-Philadelphia conference finals? Doesn't do much for me.
Interesting sidenote: I don't remember the exact issue or who wrote the article, but I am pretty sure Sports Illustrated in their pre-season NHL overview predicted a Blackhawks-Bruins Stanley Cup matchup. They could end up being right, and by an interesting road. Overall, these playoffs have seemed a little dull, without the usual star power, especially in the East.