Everyone knows Elliotte Friedman and his '30 Thoughts'. Friedman is awesome.
I'm not as well-connected, well-informed, or well-spoken as Friedman is, but wanted to throw a few thoughts out here about the upcoming Sens-Habs play-off series, the first between the two clubs.
1. On the Karlsson-Subban debate: The recent Eyes on the Prize article has generated some controversy. Author Stephan Cooper argued, based on Fenwick, that P. K. Subban is the superior player. It would be interesting to see a Silver Seven look at the subject (paging Adnan...). Well, maybe the stats show Subban is the better player, but Erik Karlsson just has to be better, or luckier, for between four to seven games.
2. Speaking of Karlsson - and for that matter of Jared Cowen - one of Friedman's recent '30 Thoughts' was about their swifter-than-expected recovery. He notes that there did not seem to be support for the notion that the estimated time of recovery was inflated (admittedly, the people he asked were Glenn Healy and Kelly Hrudey). Which is too bad, because we all know that's how you keep your reputation as a miracle worker.
3. Good to see several ex-Sens in the play-offs: Marian Hossa and (surprise!) Brian Elliott are the two biggest names out in the West, while of course there's a colony of former Senators in Boston, for whom we will be cheering, of course. Oh, and I guess some guy with the Minnesota Wild. So this doesn't strictly stick to the Sens-Habs series, but hey.
4. I'd like to see a play-off match-up analysis that doesn't follow the usual comparison of forwards, defense, goaltending, coaching, special teams, etc. I don't know, Youppi vs. Spartacat for best team mascot, or something. Have to give the Canadiens the edge on this one, even if Youppi originally belonged to the Expos. Youppi is even bad-ass: he once got thrown out of a baseball game.
5. Down Goes Brown called for fans to root for a Leafs-Habs match-up back in mid-April. That would have been an historically compelling match-up, but Leafs-Bruins isn't so bad, either. What I like about the Habs-Sens series are the storylines that speak for themselves. The opening salvo, as we saw, has already been fired in the Karlsson-Subban storyline, while we have yet to see anyone go over the goaltending match-up. Both Carey Price and Craig Anderson have faced criticism for their ability. At least in Ottawa, Anderson has not faced the prospect of being outplayed by his back-up, but both up-and-coming Sens goalie Robin Lehner and Habs back-up Peter Budaj could push their teams' respective starters. Or there's MacLean vs. Therrien for coach of the year - I know MacLean has definitely been named as a potential Jack Adams winner, given what he has accomplished with his roster.
6. If the Sens can beat the Habs in this series, we might see some deep-rooted local Canadiens fans in the Ottawa area dig up their roots and plant them, figuratively speaking, along Sens Mile. If nothing else, the presumably glacial pace at which this is already happening will pick up a bit.
7. The Habs are solid home and away; the Sens at home. Their record on the road is better now than it once was, but it is still mediocre. As has been mentioned in the comments on the initial post about the match-up, neither team has been on a roll, so both teams will have to work hard from the start to establish momentum.
8. Another thing that will make this an exciting series is the speed of both teams. Neither team has many flat-footed bruisers. Guys like Jean-Gabriel Pageau, Cory Conacher, and, of course, Karlsson, will be zipping up and down the ice, as will the Habs' complement of skilled speedsters (this was a Bob Cole moment).
9. It's hard to come up with even ten thoughts when you're not Elliotte Friedman.
10. Win one for Alfie, boys!