The first round’s over and as always there was some great, high-tempo, heavy-hitting hockey. Some stray thoughts:
- The Boston-Toronto series was, for me, a big disappointment. It was nowhere near as physical as a lot of people (myself included) thought it would be. I was actually hoping the Leafs would pull it off, so that there would be a little more Canadian flavor to the second round, but things ended in predictably disastrous fashion for the Leafs. A highlight for the Leafs, though, was the play of Grabovski, who despite not putting up points, didn’t give up on a single play, getting run over time and time again, but getting right back up.
- What Toronto and Boston lacked in craziness, the Canadiens and Senators made up for. I hadn’t seen an actual line brawl in a long time and there it was, happening between two teams that rarely engage in fisticuffs. Montreal’s lack of discipline killed them. Karlsson didn’t play as large a part of the Senators success as I thought he would.
- John Tavares gets better and better with age. The team around him is growing up, too. Watch out for them in the next couple of years.
- The highlight of the first round was definitely Niklas Kronwall’s beautiful hit on Kyle Palmieri, the crowd’s reaction to the hit and the following “You got Kronwall’d” chant.
And now, on to the second round.