|"IF YA DON'T HAVE ANY ONTARIO PLAYERS, YA CAN'T MAKE THE PLAYOFFS!|
HOW CAN YA MAKE THE PLAYOFFS IF YA DON'T HAVE ANY ONTARIO PLAYERS?"
The playoffs begin in just over a month, and there's still plenty of teams that have a chance, or think they have a chance, to be a part of it this season. As a hockey blogger, I feel that it is my duty to provide you with a carefully written and intelligent analysis of who I think will miss the playoffs and won't will miss them. Naturally, I decided not to do that. Instead, here's a hopefully more entertaining look at the "bubble" teams.
Why they can make the playoffs: Their fans would give up breathing if it meant seeing their team in the playoffs.
Why they can't make the playoffs: According to Pierre McGuire, they have many of the most underrated players in the league. If Pierre McGuire says you're underrated, you must suck. A lot.
Verdict: They could, and if they do, I hope the architects who built MTS Centre don't let the roof blow off.
Why they can make the playoffs: Lots of people like to take in games at BankAtlantic Center, such as Rangers, Bruins, Caps, Habs and Leafs fans.
Why they can't make the playoffs: If their top line can't carry them offensively, Jose Theodore becomes their biggest offensive threat.
Verdict: Then again, Jose Theodore has scored a goal before...
Why they can make the playoffs: Despite the injury to Nicklas Backstrom, they still have talent in Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin and Mike Green.
Why they can't make the playoffs: Well, this isn't 2008, so Alex, Alex and Green are pretty useless.
Verdict: Perhaps this is all a plan, since finishing first in the Conference so many times didn't work out for Washington.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Why they can make the playoffs: Steven Stamkos can outscore your favorite team combined.
Why they can't make the playoffs: Mike Smith left Tampa Bay for a more up-and-coming hockey market.
Verdict: They have four active players on their roster from Ontario. How could they not make the playoffs?
Why they can make the playoffs: Ryan Miller is in mid-season form...late in the season.
Why they can't make the playoffs: Ville Leino's offensive production is slightly worse than terrible this season.
Verdict: If Jason Pominville keeps slumping, they make it. Whatever he does, his team does the opposite.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Why they can make the playoffs: After a 1-9-1 slump, they broke out and won in Randy Carlyle's coaching debut.
Why they can't make the playoffs: The team they beat is the worst team in the Eastern Conference.
Verdict: When the Leafs didn't sign Mats Sundin to a player contract after honoring his number, you knew this team was in trouble.
Why they can make the playoffs: Joe Nieuwendyk has been a true leader for this team to look up to.
Why they can't make the playoffs: He hasn't played a game since 2007.
Verdict: Even if they miss the playoffs, at least they don't have to worry about Brad Richards leaving them this summer.
San Jose Sharks
Why they can make the playoffs: They have lots of playoff experience due to their recent history of strong regular season teams.
Why they can't make the playoffs: The concussion epidemic has reached San Jose, as head coach Todd McLellan suffered a concussion recently.
Verdict: They've decided to pretend that the playoffs started early this season, and their epic collapse is already under way.
Los Angeles Kings
Why they can make the playoffs: General Manager Dean Lombard finally pulled off a deal that brought a star player to the L.A. Kings.
Why they can't make the playoffs: Well, Jeff Carter used to be a star player, at least.
Verdict: The Kings are so bad offensively that they commonly refer to Minnesota Wild games as "shootouts." Not sure what they mean by that.
Why they can make the playoffs: They've been carried by rookie forward Gabriel Landeskog.
Why they can't make the playoffs: They could benefit long-term by missing the playoffs and drafting a future superstar.
Verdict: Oh, wait, about that draft pick...
Why they can make the playoffs: Olli Jokinen is having a very good season after years of being mediocre.
Why they can't make the playoffs: His regular season games played to playoff games played ratio is 171:1.
Verdict: They're "going for it." You can't argue with that.
Why they can make the playoffs: They have Teemu Selanne. They can do anything.
Why they can't make the playoffs: The regular season is not infinitely long.
Verdict: Please don't retire, Teemu!