Sunday, May 18, 2008

SemiFinals Not Over Yet

The semi-finals in the 2008 playoffs looked a bit one-sided. The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins looked like likely winners. Detroit was matched up against the Dallas Stars and Pittsburgh against the Philadelphia Flyers. Both Dallas and Philadelphia were surprise semi-finalists. Most people did not expect them to survive the first round of the playoffs and yet they were in the semi-finals. When both Detroit and Pittsburgh won the first three games of their semi-final series, it looked like the semi-finals would be a short coronation of the eventual Stanley Cup finalists, but something has happened to change that prediction.

Dallas defeated Detroit in game four. Then Philadelphia defeated Pittsburgh in game four of their series. Surely, when the western series returned to Detroit it would end, but it didn't. Dallas stayed alive by winning game five to close the series to 3 games to two.

Anything can happen in an NHL hockey game. That is why they play the games and do not merely crown the presumptive favorite as the winner. It now looks like the semi-finals will actually be close series.

From an NHL ratings standpoint, it would have been better if Dallas and Philadelphia won their games earlier in their series to create a public opinion that these series were close. In the current circumstance, it looks like the stronger teams have all but won the series and are having troubles ending it.

These comebacks may be short-lived. They may both be ended in the next games in the semifinal series, but they have made these series look a lot less like the slam dunks that most fans had decided they were a few days ago.

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