Top Five Gripes: The 2008 NHL Playoffs

Ryan LengCorrespondent IMay 7, 2008

5. Celebrity Bloggers

Aside from the glow puck, this could be the worst idea the NHL has ever had. It's not that the celebrities' writing and analysis are bad (which they are), but it's the selection of celebrities. While the NBA—check that—the LA Lakers have Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson, the NHL has David Boreanaz (who?) and Willa Ford. Willa was recently selected to play the role of Anna Nicole Smith for Anna's posthumous biopic.

Read that last part again.

Look. In ten seconds flat, with or without her clothes on, Willa Ford could get me harder than folding a fitted sheet; and I don't know if that's good or bad for Mike Modano, but let's face it: She's no hockey expert, and it seems a tad asinine for the NHL to feature a Playboy bombshell's thoughts on hockey.

4. The Officiating

Particularly bad in the Detroit-Colorado series, there was a missed call on a textbook hit from behind by Val Filppula on Adam Foote. In another game, the refs penalized Detroit's Thomas Holmstrom twice in one game for getting mugged, while missing obvious kneeing and clipping calls. Numerous players have charged and left their feet when decking their opponents, all with impunity.

Boarding, kneeing, charging—these are serious penalties that must be called. Boarding can lead to spinal cord injuries, kneeing can lead to blown out knees, and charging can cause concussions. If the referees are paying attention to every jot and tittle of hooking and interference rules, they ought to do the same for the more serious penalties.

3. Don Cherry's Jingoism

Don, it's getting old. The Cold War ended twenty years ago. And if a player is excited because he scored a goal, why is he a bad guy for celebrating?


2. The Deification of Goaltenders

Goalies may steal a couple games here and there and they are sometimes the best player on the ice, but TV commentators consistently focus on the goalies as if they were and always have been the saviors of hockey teams.

Commentators deified Jose Theodore during the Colorado-Minnesota series, but when Detroit started scoring on him in droves, suddenly he was giving up weak goals. The reality was that he didn't play that different. His defencemen didn't play as well, and Detroit had more firepower than Minnesota did. He played well in both series, but he had far less help against Detroit. Which reveals that goalies failure and success are more often dictated by how well the rest of the team plays. After all, it is a team sport.

1. The TV Networks

With a bullet....

Versus will carry six of the seven scheduled Detroit-Dallas games. That's bad news bears if you don't have cable. For this, I extend my chubby middle finger at NBC. Is golf really that more exciting than hockey?

And my other chubby middle finger is for Versus. I live in Michigan and They blacked out game three of the Detroit-Colorado series for a boxing match. That is, a boxing match that took place in 1989. Don't they have ESPN Classic for that?