There’s Nothing Like the Playoffs
I have a saying I’ve stuck with forever when it comes to sports watching: “Playoff anything is better than regular season anything.” And thus, with all due respect to the start of the baseball season, and the NFL Draft of which everyone can’t seem to get enough, the NBA and NHL Playoffs are what are on my screen each and every night.
I’d like to tell you about the local NBA team making it’s name in the playoffs, but unfortunately the Mavericks were just too outmanned and too injured to really make Oklahoma City sweat (it was the ultimate bringing a knife to a gunfight), and thus the long off season of trying to figure out how to make this team better has begun.
But it’s a different story on the ice at the AAC. Let me tell you about the Dallas Stars, who are engaged in an emotionally charged second round series with St. Louis – this is the essence of what playoff hockey is all about.
The mood swings in this series have just been crazy. From the Stars rallying from two goals down in the third period of game 2 only to lose it in OT, to falling behind in the series while getting embarrassed 6-1 in game 3 – leading all the world to believe there were only two more games left in the season for the Stars – to a tremendous bounce back showing in game 4 in the Lion’s Den which ended on Cody Eakin’s overtime winner – leading all to believe there are now only two games left in this series for the Blues – with dreams of a Stars’ trip to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2008 now very real.
And the Stars will possibly do this in a most unconventional way, with a defense that is small and error prone and with goaltending that is a flip of the coin almost every night. And with Tyler Seguin still sidelined with a foot injury of some severity, there is no real “top line” that an opponent must gear up for. On the flipside they’re taking on a St. Louis team that is put together in a classic playoff hockey fashion. Big defensemen, Big forwards with an aggressive forecheck, and reliable goaltending. And yet here we are tied at 2, with the Stars having two of the final three games at home.
This series has been such fun. The matchup of good friends Lindy Ruff (named as one of the three Jack Adams Award finalists for NHL coach of the year) and former Stars coach Ken Hitchcock (whom all of us in Dallas grew up learning about the greatness of this time of the year from). The enmity that has been built over four games that will only ratchet up in these next two games as the stakes get higher. Enjoy watching individual matchups like Jamie Benn vs. St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (a battle Benn won in Game 4 with a pair of assists), and wondering if the Stars can corral the Blues top scorer Vladimir Tarasenko, who was invisible the first two games, but VERY visible with five points in the last two games.
All of this has me so juiced for tomorrow at High Noon. Such an appropriate time for a showdown game. My fascination with Ezekiel Elliott at Cowboys rookie camp will just have to take a backseat. Playoff anything. It’s what’s most important in sports right now.