Any of you Islanders fans watching the Penguins-Capitals series? Are you, perhaps, more locked into that one than, say, Hurricanes-Bruins? (I'll choose that one simply because the two Western Conference series introduce some time zone issues.) I know I am, and it's so obvious why I'm tuning in:
At 2-1, the series is now competitive. But even if Washington had won Game 3, pushing the series toward disappointing, it still would have had drawing power. Sure, it would be even more special if the Ovechkin-Crosby-Malkin troika were battling with a Conference Championship and a trip to the Stanley Cup Final on the line. But each time I tune in for one of these games I feel like I'm watching NHL history unfolding. It's a treat to watch three such unusually talented players, perhaps not even yet in their primes, duel and dash and dish on the same ice. When the series is over, I fully expect someone to post a highlight video on You Tube with "Duel of the Fates" as the soundtrack.
But let's get back to the intended theme here.
The most-you-could-ask-for scenario for the Islanders and this draft is to have John Tavares turn on his Star Power. It doesn't even have to be of the same magnitude with which Ovechkin, Crosby, and Malkin shine.
But just imagine hockey fans throughout the world tuning in to watch an Islanders playoff game because they want to see Tavares perform.
We don't yet know if Tavares is capable of being that kind of draw. And, if he is, we certainly have no assurance that it will be Islanders' games to which he draws people. The Pens and Caps could go the next ten years without a Cup and they would still be compelling—even more so if they remain in the mix.
I would certainly give Tavares and the rest of the young Islanders another year to get their NHL legs.
Two years from now, the roster needs to include Star Power along with the right mix to make it to this stage of the playoffs. The Islanders need to make NHL fans want to watch.
Speaking of star power, one former Islanders star is out of work. Via Kukla's Korner, Denis Potvin has been let go as the Florida Panthers' TV color analyst. The Panthers are paring their broadcast team down to three. Steve Goldstein and Billy Lindsay will handle the TV work, while Randy Moller goes solo on the radio.
Potvin, who had been with the team for its entire existence, was caught off guard by the dismissal. From Steve Gorten's blog in the Sun-Sentinel: "You come to a point where you figure you're a lifer with a company or a group. That's not the case anymore. I was surprised. I was not expecting it."
The Panthers assured the Hall-of-Famer that the decision was neither personal nor performance-based. Still, that has to be a tough puck to swallow after 15 years with an organization.
Potvin has a son still in high school and is not sure of his next move, though he would like to continue in broadcasting.
Congratulations to the U.S. Men's National Team for reaching the medal round at the World Championship. Yesterday's 3-2 quarterfinal win over Finland sets up a semifinal matchup on Friday with the defending champion squad from Russia. Team USA hadn't beaten Finland at an IIHF event since the 2002 Salt Lake Olympics. Kyle Okposo contributed an assist to the victory.
I thought this was a cool picture, so here's the cover of the 2008-09 End of Season Media Guide...
(This post was originally published at http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog.php?post_id=21092)