Although the intrigue about whether Daniel Sedin returns to the Canuck lineup for Game 1 or soon after is somewhat a moot point. Any which way, he won't be 100 per cent healthy and the Canucks better realize that for the first round against Los Angeles beginning Wednesday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10:30 p.m. ET).
Actually, it is something they realized rather well for the latter part of the regular season as they captured the President's Trophy without him. It was a team that also seemed to show a bit more grit that last year's version, something that will be sorely put to the test in the playoffs.
I happen to think that the Canucks will dispose of the Los Angeles Kings in five games. I know that Jonathan Quick in the Kings' net has been among the handful of "all world" NHL goaltenders of late, but the Kings' great wealth of talent has not been playing up to their press clippings.
I don't think that will change for the playoffs.
Predators intriguing choice in West
The Nashville Predators seem like a team of playoff intrigue in the West. The additions of Paul Gaustad, Andrei Kostitsyn, and particularly Alexander Radulov, has added unparalleled depth up front.
The downside? (Though hard to believe there could be one). Well, you add three forwards to a team that had been enjoying success and, well, a first-line forward becomes a second-line forward leading all the way to a fourth-line forward finding a new role as a healthy scratch.
The only public hint of discontent was when Jordin Tootoo squawked about being one of those healthy scratches late in the season. If they struggle in the playoffs, the extra hands on deck might not exactly be rowing in the same direction.
Other playoffs notes
Only consolation for Leafs
The only consolation that Toronto Maple Leaf fans can derive from their late-season collapse is their unexpected high draft position and the satisfaction that it hasn't already been traded.
The Leafs will select fifth overall in this year's entry draft. Their history of picks in the top five since the modern day draft began in 1969 is:
Great having former Leaf Mark Osborne (and Red Wing, Jet, NY Ranger) as part of my rotation of co-hosts for Hockey Night in Canada Radio (weekday afternoons from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET, on Sirius 157) for the playoffs.
To show his form of "greatness", Ozzie was a member of the top-scoring line for the Leafs in the 1989-90 season, the "GEM" line with Eddie Olczyk and Gary Leeman. Then three years later, during that great playoff drive in the spring of 1993, he was a key part of their top checking unit with Bill Berg and the late Peter Zezel.
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