Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Pens or Devils?

So unless lightening strikes down Martin Brodeur in the next couple of days it's looking like our First Round match-up is going to be against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team that hasn't seen Playoff action since 2001 when they were eliminated in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final against... that's right none other than the New Jersey Devils! (Who went on to lose in 7 Games to the Colorado Avalanche backstopped by another All-Star goalie, Ben's idol, Patrick Roy.)

But the question is... in a perfect world, if we could have our choice between the Pens or the Devils who would we choose?

Well for me that's really a simple decision. I'm a strong believer in experience leading to success, I mean how can you expect to be great at something you've never tried before? There's a reason they say "Practice Makes Perfect"! One person who has practice and experience oozing from every pore of his body is Martin Brodeur... shall we take a look?

In all time records, Brodeur is:
  • 2nd place - Most wins (491)
  • 3rd place - Most shutouts (92)
  • 1st place - Most overtime wins (45)
  • Most consecutive 30-win seasons (11)
  • Most consecutive 35-win seasons (10)
  • Most 40-win seasons (6)
  • Only NHL goalie to score a game-winning goal
  • One of only 2 NHL goalies to score a goal in
    both the regular season and the playoffs
And in the Playoffs:
  • Most shutouts in a playoff year (7, in 2002-03)
  • 2nd place - Most shutouts (21)
  • 3rd place - Most wins (89)
*Coughs*... yea.... So sure, the Penguins may have 3 of the best young players in the league in their league leading points man Sidney Crosby, their league short-handed goal leader Jordan Staal, and their soon-to-be rookie of the year Evgeni Malkin... but where is their experience? And please don't tell me in Gary Roberts, holy way past his prime.

When it comes down to it, if Brodeur is on his game it doesn't matter how much offensive firepower your team has, the man can totally shut down a series. So hey, you may disagree, but I will GLADLY take Pittsburgh over New Jersey in the first round. They're a lot like Ottawa a few years ago, young, naive and skilled... so here's to being the Toronto to their Ottawa!... older, slower, more grunt-like, and less skilled? Okay so maybe it's a bad comparison but you get the idea. Stay tuned for my first round playoff predictions from around the league, I gotta at least be able to beat the monkey. Cheers!
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