It is that time of year. When hockey seems to get even more important in our lives. When every win extra blissful, and every loss more stress inducing. It's when players give it their all, and refs blow it for them.
The regular season is all but irrelevant now. It's the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
(And for the Toronto Maple Leafs? "Summer vacation!")
I figured there was a need for a general playoffs thread. I'm not sure about everyone, but I absolutely love this time of year. As a Sharks fan, it can get to be a frustrating time of the year. But as a hockey fan? Best. Thing. Ever.
To me, it's always goalie performances that stand out.
- 1999: The first year I actually remember watching the playoffs, and experiencing the Dominator. Let's say it was a great way to start watching hockey, and a fantastic thing to experience at age 7.
- 2000: Brian Boucher was a name I knew before we signed him. Would it surprise you if I said I was extremely excited about signing some guy in February from an AHL team? It's because this happened, after the Bryan Berard incident. And that was after one of the greatest saves I've seen in the playoffs to this day.
- 2002: Hasek finally won that Cup. It was with the Wings, but back then I didn't care. I hadn't learned about Wings fans yet. And I got to watch Scotty Bowman's last game, unawares of how great a coach he just was.
- 2003: To be honest, I didn't even feel bad when the Ducks made the final in 2003 Stanley Cup Finals. Giguere was absolutely amazing to watch that year. I was ecstatic the Devils won, but the playoffs were all about getting Giggy with it.
There are many more. Khabibulin. Kipprusoff. Ward. Fleury. Some guy named Hiller. Halak. Niemi. Needless to say that goalie is my favorite position, but the list goes on and on. Which is why it's great to have that last guy in net for our team.
Feel free to put down your playoff predictions. And as always: Go Sharks! But also, go playoffs!