Down Goes Brown: The 2022 qualifiers were amazing and I’m so confused

The NHL It’s fine now, and I’m confused and scared.

This is mostly new ground for me. As longtime readers know, I’m never shy about criticizing the NHL, and pointing out product flaws when they become apparent. Critics will say I complain about the NHL mainly all the time. I will answer that I criticize only when it is really due, i.e. basically all the time.

But not now, because the 2022 qualifiers were good.

Like, really good. Very Well. And I find this very disturbing.

The first round made seven very good series out of eight, and five of them made seven full matches, which is almost unheard of. We had one team that came back from losing 3-1 in this series, and two other teams that came back from losing 3-2. We mocked what could have been an epic upheaval in Washington/Florida series. leaves and Lightning It was great theater and delivered the result that most of you seemed to root for. And even a single sweep served a purpose, with Avalanche Defeat the predators with the kind of dominant defeats that have created a clear favorite for upcoming rounds.

The tour ended with a wild weekend, one that served three 7 games on Saturday night (One less than the record), then two more on Sunday that both went on overtime. It was the first time in 25 years that we had two more Game 7s on the same day, and the two ended with the team’s biggest offensive star scoring the winning goal.

Oh, and that whole round unfolded with a perfectly constructed timeline, which saw each series play out on alternating days with no gaps or back-to-back. The league even seemed to realize that it could arrange start times, which meant there was always interlude hockey whenever I wanted to.

It was impossible for the second round to match the first, but then… well, it almost did, right? We had another sweep, but while the Lightning and Panthers match again was a little fleeting, it was still a great story to see little brother spend the year rebounding just to get sand in his face again. The blues The avalanche gave everything they could handle, including a Game 5 win that was perhaps the most dramatic of the playoffs so far. The Notice And the Tornadoes You’re going to Game 7 tonight, and the series is already close to the classic, with splits happening at home/road in Carolina Unprecedented area.

And, of course, the big thing: After 31 years, we finally get the Battle of Alberta. Then the work somehow lived up to the hype, if not more. That opening game is going to be in bad shape, and once that’s a good one.

This has been a good month of hockey, and almost all of it has been great. We had a lot of goals, and we continued the trend from the regular season. There have been some epic responses, enough that we’re used to feeling that leading by two or even three goals wasn’t an insurmountable deficit. There was enough bad blood to keep everything hot, but nothing went so far that it was hanging on a chain. For once, I felt like everything that could be fun about the NHL clicked into place.

Look at all of that. I’m sure these are the most straight-talking words I’ve put together about the NHL without shouting about how much I hate something. What’s happening to me? Did you sleep in my old age? Was I secretly appointed as the league’s PR officer? There must be something I can complain about.

Ah… CGI ads on ice are kind of weird, I think.

Yes, I can’t do that. Or rather, I could do it, but I don’t want to, because it wouldn’t be worthy. You will feel pressured. I was playing a character, waving a stick at the world outside my balcony just because that’s my comfort zone. It will feel cheap.

Last month wasn’t perfect, but really, what’s your biggest complaint? I think we could have done more overtime. The early days of the first round saw very few blowouts. There has never been a true Cinderella story as we are used to seeing it, although this may have been an exaggeration anyway. And the Sidney CrosbyThe player’s injury put a bit of a damper on the Rangers’ comeback.

In fact, the only obvious problem in the past few weeks is that the Alberta fight only lasted five games instead of what it should have gone, which is 27. We can all agree on that. And yes, part of the reason the chain was cut is because flame It was an elusive goal that probably should have been counted. I think Calgary screwed it up, although not everyone does, and you can’t say one call costs you a streak if you lose in five games. I still think Blake ColemanHis goal must be calculated. Even in a perfect year, we can’t escape the official mandatory controversy.

But even there, we’re doing well. Normally at this point, we’ve had half a dozen major disagreements, and everyone will be calling for new rules, an extended review, and whatever else. This year has definitely seen a few missed calls, a few others that were fine but the Homers had to shout about anyway. But for the most part, we’d have dodged any real snags until Coleman’s kick. Sure, Leaf fans are still pissed off about the aimless interference, and Blues fans think Nazim Qadri The goalkeeper runs, and there was that helmet strange thing that cost penguins. We have the usual arguments about the goalkeeper’s interference, and the offside review somehow still stand. But we haven’t seen any real disaster, or any calls that single-handedly decide a series like the one we had with the Knights and Sharks Several years ago. The judges even called for penalties for a while in the first round, which everyone said they wanted, before stopping later in the round, which everyone actually wanted.

Even when the charge is just making you angry instead of strokes, the post-season has been good.

Is this the part where I should reluctantly give credit to the league for making it all happen? Maybe, but I haven’t arrived yet. Much like scoring in the regular season enhance it Nobody can fully explainI’m not sure what we’re seeing is the result of the NHL actually doing anything. I’ll give them credit for scheduling, and maybe have a word with the judges about being mindful sometimes. But a lot of this feels like good luck, or perhaps the absence of bad luck, unlike anything the NHL would want in its place.

If so, that’s okay. We can take that. Hockey is the greatest sport in the world when it works, and it works now. If this is just a happy accident, well, let’s focus on happiness.

And here’s the part that seems impossible, but isn’t: There’s a chance that everything is about to get better. We have Game 7 to watch tonight, with a relaxed Lightning team waiting in the wings. We haven’t seen three NHL peats since the ’80s Islands; It’s something even Wayne Gretsky oiled And the Mario Lemieux penguins never materialized. But we can see it this year, because the Lightning is a little breed that seems locked in to scratching that “little” part. We will either see them in last year’s rematch with the Hurricanes, or we will see a battle between the best goalkeepers in the world against Rangers. Either of them must be great.

But this is not the main event. This comes out from the West, where we get it Conor MacDavid against Nathan McKinnon In the best head-to-head one-on-one battle between super attackers we’ve seen late in the post-season since…when? Gretzky and Lemieux never met in the qualifiers, Lemieux and Marc Messier were only late in the second round, and the same was true of Alex Ovechkin and Crosby. You might have to go back to Wings and Avs, or maybe even the Oiler and Islander Finals. And it’s not just a meeting of two big names on paper, because McDavid has gone supernova over the past few weeks, while MacKinnon has seemed unstoppable on more than a few occasions. Mix the infected Leon Drystel Points are still accumulating, Cal Makar Evoking outstanding reels, loads of supporting talent and rocking target orientation, this series should be amazing.

So let’s finish this flush screed in the only place we can: What could possibly go wrong?

Look, we all think about that. How does it all end so badly? Are we getting that big call tonight, or are they saving it for the final? Will one of these stars get hurt, depriving us of a real showdown? Is someone going to do something stupid that deserves a comment that they won’t get because it’s the playoffs, and we’re all going to fight for it for a week? Will the hockey gods pull the rug out from under a high-goal season and produce a 3-0 flanker?

Can. It could be all of those things, and we’re just a few weeks away from remembering the old days when we were enjoying this post-season. It’s the NHL – stupid things happen, often at the worst possible time.

But this has not happened yet. So far, the 2022 qualifiers have been as close as we can possibly imagine. We don’t know how long it will last, but we might as well enjoy it while we can.

(Photo: Sergey Belsky/USA Today)