The Good The Bad The Ugly: Night One Of The NHL Play-offs:

The NHL play-offs are underway with four games on the ice last night. Here are a smattering of observations from night number one in the first installment of the good the bad and the ugly!

The Good!

Sam Bennett gets full marks for his post-season debut for the Calgary Flames. The rookie, who had played only one regular season game after being sent back to junior after a shoulder injury early in the year, stepped in seamlessly to the Flames second line. That line was the Flames most dangerous throughout the evening.

The emotion in Montreal was outstanding. The Senators and the Canadiens do not like each other and are not afraid to show it. My only wish that some of that emotion could spill into the stale regular season.

What a darling! Scott Darling came into the game for the Blackhawks after Corey Crawford was suspect at best in allowing 3 goals on 12 first period shots. He was sensational the rest of the way not allowing any Nashville shots to get into his net.

Home Ice? Who says that home ice is an advantage? Three of four visitors won last night including the Islanders who looked good in Washington.

I love Towel Power in Vancouver. The history is of course is traced back to the late Roger Neilson and gives me goose bumps.

Not sure that there is a better play-off atmosphere anywhere than Montreal? Winnipeg may give them a run for their money though.

The Bad!

P.K. Subban’s slash on Mark Stone was a big two hand chop that was appropriately punished. I say no further discipline aside from the five and game Subban already has served.

Michael Ferland. (Arguably one of the biggest flop trades in Saskatoon Blades history, acquired by the team for the Memorial Cup in 2013) The Calgary Flames’ power forward was a force all game and was a punishing presence on the ice. However, his attempt to drop the gloves with Vancouver’s Derek Dorsett was a silly decision.

Gone Fishing! Too bad for Mike Fisher and the Predators as he was forced out of game one and may be gone for the rest of the series. He quietly has had a solid season and his loss is a big one for the Preds.

Why play the regular season? I absolutely despise the fact that the NHL’s play-offs seem to adopt an entirely new set of rules from the regular season. The best teams from the regular season were the best because of the way the game was played through their 82 game schedule. Having top teams that aren’t apparently “built for the playoffs” seems to be a farce to me. Call the game the same way you do from October to April, especially in overtime! Oh and for the argument that you don’t want the officials to decide the game, guess what? The officials are determining the outcome by not enforcing the regular season standards.

Oh speaking of officiating did anyone else notice that Calgary’s David Jone’s game tying goal should have been blown down for a highstick?

Night number one of Rogers’ NHL play-off package may have been forgettable. Host missing from updates, poor camera balancing, suspect game calling, and very audible bench conversation audio (even acknowledged by the broadcast team) were a couple of the less desirable’s from opening night.

What impact does the NHL have on junior hockey? Well in Regina after a huge win in game three for the Pats over the Wheat Kings to get them back in their Eastern Conference Semi-Final Series on Tuesday, 200 fewer fans filled the Brandt Centre for game four last night. Last night’s game was up against night one of the Stanley Cup play-offs and the attendance drop shows that no matter the product on the ice or the important of the game there is an almost unwinnable battle to get people off their coach.

The Ugly!

I wonder if Ottawa Head Coach Dave Cameron woke up this morning with some remorse from his post game comments? Following his team’s loss to Montreal he implied that if the league didn’t suspend P.K. Subban that one of the Canadiens’ stars may get slashed. Wow!

As bad as his comments were if you listened closely to his remarks he prefaces them by asking if the reporter asking the question will pay his fine. I’m curious if they will pony up?

Ovie where are you? Alexander Ovechkin was MIA in the Caps game against the Islanders last night. He has to be better… unless….. where are the World Championships this year?

Why does Brian Burke own ties?

Jonas Hiller. Did they run out of designs at the mask paint shop?

Hands of Stone? The insinuations by the Habs that Stone was faking the seriousness of his injury is ludicrous.

The price of tickets for game three or four in Winnipeg through a ticket re-sale website are more expensive than flights and tickets to Anaheim for games one and two.

That’s night number one… Here we go with four more games tonight!