The best thing about the first round of the playoffs? It’s fast, furious and all over the place, just like these random post-season thoughts…
• Martin Brodeur was a big part of three Cup-winners on balanced New Jersey teams, but never once skated off with the Conn Smythe Trophy.
If the Devils are the last team standing in 2008, Brodeur will win the last Conn Smythe Trophy handed out because next year’s playoff MVP will win the Martin Brodeur Award.
• Speaking of goalies, three of the eight starters in the East will be making their first appearance in an NHL playoff game over the next couple of nights.
Montreal’s Carey Price and Boston’s Tim Thomas will have a newbie showdown, while Philly’s Martin Biron will also finally start his first post-season contest in his eighth NHL campaign.
His masked counterpart, the Caps’ Cristobal Huet, will be starting his whopping seventh NHL playoff game. Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury digs in for his sixth springtime game, while Ottawa’s Martin Gerber suits up for his ninth.
In fact, add up the combined playoff experience of every Eastern Conference starter not playing for New Jersey and the seven of them fall 132 games short of Brodeur’s 164 games’ worth of playoff experience.
• Nicklas Lidstrom is the only European ever to be named playoff MVP. Here’s hoping he – or Jaromir Jagr or Saku Koivu or Daniel Alfredsson – becomes the first captain from across the pond to lead his team to a Cup.
That would end this phooey about Euros not thinking Stanley is significant once and for all.
• I find the tradition of not touching the trophy awarded for winning your conference truly asinine.
Somewhere along the line teams decided holding the Prince of Wales Trophy or Clarence Campbell Bowl would affect their ability to win the Stanley Cup because it inferred they had already arrived at their final destination.
I find the superstition truly baffling in the West because if I’m the team that just won three rounds of playoff hockey in the skilled, surly Western Conference, I’d lay a kiss on that Campbell Bowl, then pop the lid off and have a little Tylenol cereal.
Ryan Dixon is a writer and copy editor for The Hockey News magazine, the co-author of the book Hockey’s Young Guns and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog appears Wednesdays and his column, Top Shelf, appears every second Friday.
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