I was watching ESPN and other sports outlets on Monday and the question was asked about whether or not the elimination of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vancouver Canucks will hurt the quality of the NHL Playoffs going forward. I’m here to tell you that the quality will only get better. There’s a lot of people who wanted to see the Penguins stay in because they were one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. They have all the star power with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and it looked like they were starting to peak at the right time going into the playoffs. The bottom line is that the Penguins were defeated by a better team in the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers outplayed and outworked the Penguins in winning the series 4-2. The teams that bring the energy and the passion night after night are the teams that will move on in the playoffs. I just feel that the Flyers deserved to win this series and the Penguins didn’t look like the team who a lot of people had as the Stanley Cup favorite. I would rather see the team who plays better rather then the team that just has a bunch of star power. I’m very happy with the Flyers beating the Penguins and it goes to show you that you need more than just star power to win titles. Some heart and passion would help. As for the Canucks, this is a team that we have talked about for years in terms of competing for the cup. They did get close last year, losing in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins. It looked like they were on the right track to make another deep run, winning the President’s Trophy for compiling the NHL’s best record in the regular season. Then came this recent first round playoff loss to the eighth-seeded Los Angeles Kings. In the loss, the Canucks lost all three of their home playoff games and, like the Penguins, were physically dominated by this series. Roberto Luongo, whose supposed to be one of the world’s best goalies, was pulled out of the series after Game 2 for Cory Schneider. Schneider actually played pretty well for the rest of the series, but the Canucks’ offense disappeared. The Kings deserved this series win because they just wanted it more than the Canucks. Just like the Flyers, the Kings were the team that played with more passion and hunger. Therefore, they’re the ones who march on. Trust me when I say that the NHL Playoffs will not miss the Penguins or the Canucks. The Playoffs have been great because of the quality of play, and there are still some good story lines to follow. Teams such as the St. Louis Blues, Phoenix Coyotes, and the Kings are making noise in the playoffs for the first time in a while. The Coyotes defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4 games to 2 to win their first playoff series since 1987, when the franchise was still in Winnipeg. The defending champion Bruins will play in a Game 7 on Wednesday night against the Washington Capitals, and you can’t forget about the New York Rangers, who will face a Game 7 on Thursday night against the Ottawa Senators. So there is still a lot of great hockey left to be played. The Penguins and Canucks are where they deserve to be, at home with the rest of us watching the playoffs on television.

By Charles Taylor

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