Opinion

MITCHELL'S MUSINGS: Playoff action on tap

It’s looking more and more like only one Canadian team is going to be making the Stanley Cup playoffs this spring.

And it’s not the Canucks, even though being a diehard fan I keep hoping and watching and at least enjoying them winning a bit and, hey, the games are so important it’s almost like these are playoff games, right?

At this point it’s still mathematically possible so you keep going for it, and the Leafs still have a chance but the current freefall will have to end sooner rather than later.

The funny thing is that if the Leafs don’t make the playoffs the talking heads on TSN and Sportsnet will likely be talking about the collapse for longer and dedicate more air time to that story than the actual first round of the playoffs. So maybe it would be better if the Leafs, for the rest of the country’s sake, at least make the first round.

But when you add it all up (and there are many apps and websites apparently where you can check the odds right at this moment of who will likely make the playoffs – isn’t technology wonderful?), it looks like the Habs are it for north of the 49th parallel.

Now this is a little tough to take for a country whose self-esteem is pretty much wrapped up in how its hockey teams fare.

Quick....the last Canadian-based team to win a Stanley Cup? The same Montreal Canadiens in 1993. That’s 21 years ago folks, and thanks Wikipedia.

Of course we’ve come close a few times, notably in 1994 and 2011 for the Canucks, heavy sigh, and the Senators in 2007, the Oilers in 2006 and the Flames in 2004, all made the Stanley Cup finals only to lose, and too many times in seven games, alas.

And in 2005, of course, no Canadian team, or American for that matter, won the Stanley Cup but we don’t want to go there now do we?

Of course the Habs have still won the most Cups, ask my Canadiens-loving son how many because, frankly I don’t feel like looking it up right now, and the Leafs (not since 1967 mind you, and I do know that one without consulting my Toronto-loving other son) have won quite a few and the Oilers and........but, hey, nothing lately, and for some younger hockey fans, not in their lifetime.

There is the irony that it’s been a wonderful year for Canadian hockey already. Both the men’s and women’s hockey team won gold in Sochi and those bragging rights last for four years, if not longer.

Still, it would be nice if we could have a little more success on the homefront in the NHL.

The good news is the Habs seem to be on a roll with gold-medal goaltender Carey Price in net and high-flying rental player Thomas Vanek starting to score. They definitely have a shot at it and being a former fan, hey it was either the Habs or the Leafs when I was a kid, I could get on the bandwagon for a long playoff run pretty easily.

So, go Habs go. It’s not like I’m ready for spring yardwork earlier than usual just because the Canucks didn’t (um, may not, I mean) make the playoffs.....

......and speaking of playoff hockey you have to feel good about the Vernon Vipers.

After a couple of tough years of not making the playoffs, the hometeam and RBC hosts have picked it up a notch in the playoffs, beating West Kelowna and regular season champion Penticton to show they deserve to be in the national championship tournament in their own right.

Congratulations to all involved and let’s keep this playoff run going right up until May when we play host to the rest of the country.

The Vipers play Coquitlam tonight at 5 p.m. at Kal Tire Place so there’s no need to fret about the Canucks and a possible lack of exciting, fast-paced playoff hockey on the tube, it’s right here, now, in your backyard.

Go, Vipers, go.

 

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