Moral of the ENTIRE FIRST ROUND: The playoffs in 2007 are never about one guy.
They’re not about a Forsberg, or a Crosby, or even a Brodeur. What little press the NHL gets apparently does not understand this yet. Maybe the Rangers’ acquisition of Avery was a turning point, for instance. But that was only because a player with a unique talent merged with a two-line offensive machine that was already full of standouts. Same with Afinogenov in Buffalo. Do you think his wacky antics would mean anything, if the defense weren’t forced to choose between chasing him and watching out for the scorers coming in his wake?
In an attrition game like this, that word “machine” means a LOT. A star can be blocked, singled out, and forechecked into irrelevance. A star line can be waited out, tired out, and taken advantage of when they’re broken up for special teams play. It takes a balanced team that can be rearranged, reconfigured, suffer losses, and still function as a dangerous playing unit.
Quick, who is Anaheim’s star player? You could nominate five people and be arguing all night about it. Who could that team not afford to lose? … cricket … And, goaltenders aside, you’ll get that response for any team still in this race.
I’d kill for more coverage that reflects this. Yes the league is in a rut. Yes we need to hook publicity. But the tactic of Star Anticipation is doomed to fail, because it does not in any way reflect the game. Watch it backfire. All Eyes on Forsberg? All Eyes on Crosby?
How about all eyes on San Jose?