1. This is the second year in a row that a conference finals will be played between two teams that missed the playoffs the previous year. It just highlights the extent of Satherís gross ineptitude here. In four years, heís taken the team nowhere, yet he (and his apologists) still try and blame that on the previous regime.
2. This season marks the end of an era in a lot of ways, but especially in the players we have likely seen (and are seeing) play their last games. Messier, Francis, Yzerman, Chelios, Oates, Andreychuk, Robitaille, Hull, MacInnis, Stevens, I canít recall a time when we lost so many greats in one year, and those are guys Iím thinking of off the top of my head here, Iím sure thereís more. Plus youíve got some guys like Thomas, Ronning and Patrick who while not of the same stature, still had long, productive, respectable careers. Itís the passing of quite a generation of players.
3. Iíve never quite understood how while Jacques Martin gets constantly dumped on for his lack of playoff success, Pat Quinn seems to get a pass for his. Granted, Martin hasnít been able to beat Quinnís Leafs, but Quinnís Leafs, who have been much better built for the playoffs, havenít really been able to beat anyone but Ottawa. Letís look at the Leafs playoff results under Quinn:
1999 Ė lost 4-1 in the conference finals to Buffalo despite having home ice advantage, after tying the series by winning game 2, they lost the last three by a combined total of 13-6
2000 Ė lost 4-2 to the Devils in round 2, again despite having home-ice advantage, managing only 9 goals in 6 games, culminating with the infamous 6-shot performance in game 6
2001 Ė lost 4-3 to the Devils in round 2, blowing a chance to close out the series in game 6 at home, and getting blown out 5-1 in game 7
2002 Ė lost 4-2 to Carolina in the conference finals, managing only 6 goals the entire series and losing all 3 games played in Toronto
2003 Ė lost 4-3 to Philly in round 1 Ė again getting blown out in game 7
2004 Ė lost 4-2 to Philly in round 2
I donít know that this playoff track record is any less worthy of criticism that Martinís, especially when you consider that while Martin has generally been working with young, small budget teams and has never really had a true money goaltender, Quinn has always been able to bring in all kinds of veteran help at the deadline and had quality goaltending.
I thought good coach could've gotten that Ottawa team to the Finals against the group of teams it faced. Maybe he works good with youth, or maybe guys like Bonk, Hossa, Chara, Phillips, Redden, etc., are just damn good hockey players - players that currently are not on the Rangers' roster.