Eight Things You Won't See in the 2010 NHL Conference Finals
When it comes to playoff hockey, there are tons of things that are a given. You know the plays, the hits, and the saves are going to be phenomenal. The excitement and tension that are encompassed in the 60-plus minutes of any playoff game are incomparable to most other things in the mundane actions of everyday life.
We know what we're going to see over the course of the next few weeks, but here are eight things that we definitely won’t see in the Conference Finals.
The Joe Thornton Factor
Sure, he's playing that physical style we expect to see from the big 6'4", 230-pound center, but Joe Thornton is still missing a crucial part of his game—setting up his teammates for scoring.
If San Jose wants to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, it is going to need to get more goals on the board against Chicago. Three goals in two games isn't going to do the trick.
Not to mention, Jumbo Joe is at the very bottom of the list in plus/minus with a staggering -10. Ouch. On the other hand, it's great news for Hawks fans.
Who would have thought we'd see the day when there would be a hockey tournament without Sidney Crosby?
Unfortunately, just because he isn't playing in the final two rounds of the playoffs doesn't mean we won’t be hearing the comparisons to or seeing the numerous commercials of the golden boy.
What will NBC promote without him?
Montreal Goal Scoring
Apparently Montreal has retired from the offensive side of hockey—maybe the defensive side too.
Scoreless so far in the Conference Finals, people are starting to wonder if they are ever going to give their fans something to cheer about.
It is possible they've used up all of their firepower against two of the best teams in the East, but right now Philadelphia is making a mockery of the Canadiens.
We know what their fans do when they win, how are they going to react when they're eliminated?
I'm confident Kobe Bryant isn't even remotely interested in hockey, and even if he were, I somehow doubt he'd take the time out of his shoe-marketing schedule to attend a Kings game, let alone travel across the country to see any other team play.
That being said, he definitely won't be at any of the Conference Final games. However, he'll continue to dominate in the NBA's Western Conference Finals.
Hey, maybe LeBron James is interested in getting some hockey tickets. I heard he was available.
Detroit or Pittsburgh
NBC is forced to show something other than the Red Wings and the Penguins for a change. It might confuse those casual hockey fans who probably thought there were only three teams in the league—Detroit, Pittsburgh and the team that has the crazy Russian guy who's always screaming and jumping around.
Niemi or Leighton on the Bench
Antti Niemi is on fire right now, stopping some of the best shooters in the league in San Jose. If he can keep it up, and Chicago can produce the offense, there is no question that Chicago will be able to ride their hot goaltender to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Likewise, there has never been a team more grateful to see a backup's backup performing well than the Philadelphia Flyers. Riding an incredible shutout streak, Michael Leighton just might be the final boost in Philadelphia's attack.
They were two crazy guys sitting adjacent to the opponent's penalty box in Vancouver, dressed head-to-toe in green body suits. Sadly, this is the first round we will be without their antics.
When Chicago eliminated the Vancouver Canucks, they eliminated the stretching, nipple rubbing and handstand posing from two very eccentric and entertaining hockey fans.
Marian Hossa Losing
If you look at the trend over the course of the last few years in the NHL, the chance that the Chicago Blackhawks are going to be Western Conference Champions is quite high.
Not only are they overdue for their shot at the Cup, but since they signed Marian Hossa, they've guaranteed themselves a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals.
A Cup win?
Well, that's a different story.