The Ducks are cooked and now the questions begin.
Was Sunday’s 4-1 loss in Dallas the last time we’ll see Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne play in the NHL? The answer to that one is very likely yes.
Will GM Brian Burke leave the Ducks to take over as the boss of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Or the Vancouver Canucks? The answers to those questions are (again likely) no to Vancouver and possibly to Toronto.
Burke’s work is done in Anaheim and if he can coax the Leafs into paying him somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million a season, he’d be nuts to pass it up.
Besides, you’ve seen how popular he is after leading the Ducks to the Stanley Cup last season; just imagine how much his stock would rise if he were to lead the Leafs to their first Cup since 1967. Winning in Toronto is hockey’s ultimate challenge.
Anaheim was The Hockey News’ unabashed choice to repeat as Stanley Cup champions, but it should be noted many staffers (correctly, as it turns out) jumped off the bandwagon late in the year. Ottawa, last year’s other finalist, was also unceremoniously bounced in the first round.
One final thought on the Ducks: Playing tough is cool; playing stupid is suicidal.
The Ducks played stupidly too often this season.
Can the Flames pull off the upset?
Based on their play Sunday night, you would have to think they could eliminate the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night. The catch? The game is in San Jose.
The Flames have a history of looking like world-beaters at home and lost souls on the road.
This is a game that actually could come down to two individuals – Joe Thornton vs. Jarome Iginla.
Iginla has established himself as a world-class player who thrives under pressure. So if the Flames lose, nobody will question his ability or reputation. Still, he will need to be on his game if Calgary is to stand a chance to win.
Thornton, meanwhile, is a great regular season player, but it remains to be seen if he can lead a team to glory. Winning Tuesday night would be one giant step in the right direction and would take a lot of pressure off his shoulders.
THN.com’s Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion on the action from the night before, with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.
Mike Brophy, the co-author of the book Walking with Legends, is a senior writer for The Hockey News and a regular contributor on THN.com. His blog appears Mondays and his column, Double OT, appears Wednesday.
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