Rivalries, Passion, Parody All Define East Playoffs
April 9, 2009 by Big Tony
Ladies and Gentlemen the teams who will participate in the Eastern Conference Playoffs have been decided. Boston, Washington, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Carolina, Pittsburgh, NY Rangers, and Montreal are in and unfortunately for some the Florida Panthers are out. The exciting thing about this year’s playoff picture in the east is that every team who made it is in a city with incredibly dedicated fans. Some places are better than others of course but all are extremely supportive and very passionate. Carolina may be the best southern based team to make the playoffs because of their fans. Hurricane fans may not be large in numbers but the ones who follow the team make for an incredible atmosphere for Carolina home games; many believe their arena gets as loud as any in the league. New Jersey probably has the worst fan support of all the teams but at the same time they provide some of the most talented players in the league (Brodeur, Parise, etc.) which can make for some very entertaining hockey. Above all else it’s the passion that makes the playoffs so exciting and nothing gets a fire going like a good rivalry and the possible match-ups have set up some very good rivalries in the first round and beyond. There are the team rivalries: Boston/Montreal, NYR/NJ, Washington/Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh/Philadelphia, and the intra-divisional rivalry between Washington and Carolina which became very heated toward the end of last season. Then there are the great individual rivalries including Crosby/Ovechkin, Malkin/Ovechkin, and the always entertaining Avery/Brodeur confrontation. No matter how you look at it, the Eastern Conference playoffs should be some of the most exciting we’ve seen in a long time. The teams are separated by very little talent wise (despite any point differentials) and any team as the ability to beat any of the others and represent the east in the Stanley Cup Finals. So sit back, relax, and get your popcorn ready ladies and gentlemen because we’re in for one great Spring of hockey.