A renewed feel of Canadiana
As I write this month’s column the National Hockey League’s regular season has just wrapped up and I can’t help but feel a little excited about the chances of the Canadian teams moving into the second season.
Of course here in the Toronto area we’re just getting back on our feet after being swarmed by not one but a veritable cloud of injury bugs.
But with Cujo and many of the other walking wounded now ready to go, the Buds and the Islanders will renew a playoff battle that hasn’t raged since 1981.
I for one am glad the seemingly unending string of Toronto-Ottawa first round matchups has come to an end.
At least we as Canadians, who like to dream of all-Canuck matchups in the later rounds, don’t see our teams knocking each other out early on.
Montreal is back at the big dance, much to the approval of the Ontario Trucking Association’s top banana. I’ve met many a Hab fan in my day, but when it comes to dedication through tough times, you’d be hard pressed to find a stronger supporter of Les Boys than David Bradley.
Obviously the Bs will be tough first round opponents, what with finishing first in the conference and all.
Kim Richardson’s beloved Bruins will have home ice advantage and boast not one but two 40 goal scorers.
Ottawa will meet Philly for the first time in the playoffs, which looks to be an interesting clash of size versus speed.
On the western front the leagues two top scoring teams will face off with Vancouver rolling into the Motor City.
Detroit, the hottest team in the first half of the season, may find the Canucks, the hottest team in the second half of the season, a tricky foe.
In any event, the eternal sports nut in me can’t help but feel excited by this year’s prospects.
One, two, three, four Canadian teams … the eventual possibility of a Montreal-Toronto series with a lot on the line … and of course a chance to watch the Senators for longer than just four games this year.
I find myself watching far more hockey in the spring than at any other time of the year. And with the 2001/02 campaign providing such a renewed feel of Canadiana, I’m certain this year will prove to be just as, if not more, exciting than those in recent memory.
Let’s just hope a few teams from the northern side of the 49th can survive the first round.
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