As a hockey fan first, and an Islander fan second I am still able to watch and enjoy the playoffs even though the Islanders are not involved. Now my question to all the Islander fans who read this blog (don't worry I'll give my answer too) is who are you rooting for in the second round of these playoffs. Whether it be your second favorite team, or your significant other's team or just a team you've always liked but won;t admit to it who are you backing? (Photo Credit: The Business of Sports)
Since being drafted by the Islanders first overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft the Islanders and the NHL has had high hopes for the young John Tavares. Tavares, born on September 20th, 1990 in Mississauga, Ontario, has been on the hockey world's radar for many years prior to the 2009 draft. For the 2005-06 season the OHL waived their 16 year old minimum in order to allow the Oshawa Generals to draft Tavares at only 15 years of age. The hype for Tavares started in 2004-05 when he played 72 games for the Toronto Marlboros of the GTHL and accumlated 158 points, and then was called up to the Milton Icehawks of the OPJHL where he managed 28 points in just 20 games. (Photo Credit: NHLSnipers.com)
The Islanders' season may be done but the hockey season remains, and as a die hard hockey fan I will milk this season for all that it has. The playoff seedings this season came down to the last weeks, days, and games of the season moving teams all around the standings some for the better (Phoenix Coyotes) and some for the worse (Buffalo Sabres). The final seedings were decided and the 2011-12 playoff matchups were set. (Photo Credit: Ice Insiders, Ryan Boyd)
The Eastern Conference matchups are as follows the New York Rangers (1) vs. the Ottawa Senators (, the Boston Bruins (2) vs. the Washington Capitals (7), the Florida Panthers (3) vs. the New Jersey Devils (6) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs. the Philadelphia Flyers (5). So far three of the four series are tied at one game a piece and the game that is not tied is quite possibly the bigges surprise in the Easern Conference.
( 3 ) PHOENIX COYOTES vs. ( 6 ) CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS
The Phoenix Coyotes are still very much here, and they want to win. Fresh off their first division title ever, they must now battle a team not named the Detroit Red Wings in a playoff series for the first time in the post-lockout era. The Chicago Blackhawks, their opponent, finished strong with 101 points despite struggling for numerous stretches during the regular season, mainly because of inconsistent and sometimes inadequate goaltending. It didn't help that Jonathan Toews, their captain and arguably best player, missed more than twenty games with a concussion. He's back now, and is looking for glory. This is a tou...
( 4 ) PITTSBURGH PENGUINS vs. ( 5 ) PHILADELPHIA FLYERS
Bloodbath. That's the word that Flyers forward Scott Hartnell used to describe the mindset of these two teams heading into this series. Some of us here at The Checking Line may be proponents of pacifism and the reduction of violence in hockey, but even we get a kick about what's probably going to happen between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in this first round match-up. The two teams set up their series in a game in the final week of the season, and if that was any indication, this one shouldn't disappoint. Expect a lot of violence, lots of scoring, contr...
It's night one of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and The Checking Line will be right there with you as we cover the two marquee games of the night!
At 7:30PM, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers will take their rivalry to new heights as the meet in the first round in the Eastern Conference. Plenty of Flyers writers will be there to take in the action with you.
Then, at 8:00PM, the Detroit Red Wings will be in Nashville to take on the Predators in the Western Conference Quarterfinals. Can the Wings overcome their recent struggles and take out a Predator team that seems on a mission to finally put things together? Our Red Wings staff...
Well it has been that kind of fairy tale year for the St. Louis Blues and their faithful fans, something we have all been waiting for, as the Blues ride right back to the top of the NHL standings (don't want to jinx it, but this fan thinks they will comfortably stay there). After last nights win against central division foes, the Nashville Predators, the Blues climbed to the top of the league, two points ahead of the East leading New York Rangers, who still sit with a game in hand however.
That was not all the Blues had to celebrate about last night, as the team also set some very impre...
New York, NY- After suffering a heartbreaking loss Saturday night at the Coliseum the Islanders entered the Garden last with their hopes of making the playoffs almost in shreds. Although the playoffs are looking almost out of reach, a win last night, against the Rangers, could have spun the Islanders' momentum back in their favor and kept them within nine points of the final seed. (Photo Credit: AP/Kathy Kmonicek)
The game started off as what seemed would be a defensive battle, the teams combined for three shots in the first five minutes of play. The Rangers would eventually go on to out shoot the Islanders 11-5 in the period but that would not reflect on the scoreboard. Just 2:!4 into the game the Ranger-Islander rivalry lived up to its hype as the Rangers' Stu Bickel and the Islanders' Michael Haley squared off at center ice and had a go.
The Blues' rise to the top of the Central Division, second in the Western Conference, and third overall in the whole of the NHL, all started with a win against the Blackhawks back in early November, and, coming into tonight's game against their central division rival's they hope to keep the momentum they have built up continuing.
Although the 'Hawks have gotten the better of them the last two outings, a 3 – 1 loss on the road and 5 – 2 loss at home, a win tonight would even the season's match up at two games a piece. T...