Among the highlights of the first round, I have to include A) The hard-fought intrastate series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers, in which the Penguins prevailed; B) The Carolina Hurricanes, who have surprisingly pushed the favored New Jersey Devils to a winner-take-all game 7, slated for Tuesday night; C) The even more surprising Anaheim Ducks, who lead the heavily favored San Jose Sharks 3 games to 2, with game 6 in Anaheim tonight (Monday); and, last but not least, D) the spellbinding series between the Washington Capitals and the New York Rangers. Game 7 will take place Tuesday night in Washington, and it would be a real shock if the Rangers could somehow pull this one out.
Since 16 teams make it to the playoffs, it will take 4 rounds to determine the Stanley Cup winner, so we still have another month or so of hockey in front of us. It is at this time of year that I’m especially happy to have a cable system that carries the Versus Network, which has been carrying one or more games almost every night during the playoffs. If you’re in Chicago and have Comcast, they’re at channel 48 on my system. If you don’t have Versus on your system, you still have a few options. For one, NBC carries playoff games on weekends. For another, you can listen to the live broadcast of any game being played through NHL.com free of charge. You can even choose which team’s announcers you want to listen to. This has come in handy on those nights when I’ve wanted to follow a Red Wings playoff game but found it to be blacked out on local TV due to coverage of a Blackhawks game.
So if you find yourself wondering what I’m up to or how I’m feeling on a given evening in the next several weeks, you can start by checking the hockey scoreboard!