5. The St. Louis Blues
The Blues have officially claimed the “2006-2014 San Jose Sharks Memorial Trophy” as the team that should be winning Stanley Cups, but inexplicably consistently fails to do so. Once again, a lack of elite (or even average) goaltending along with an inability to score had the Blues going home early. This will be a pivotal summer of self-reflection in St. Louis, and one can only hope that they don’t have a San Jose-esque meltdown.
4. The Pittsburgh Penguins
In the latest edition of “What’s Wrong With The Penguins?”, Pittsburgh was manhandled by the New York Rangers in a first round loss. To make matters worse, superstar center Evgeni Malkin was held without a point in five games against the Rangers, raising many questions about the future of the Penguins’ nucleus. It’s becoming a damn shame that two of the best players in the world are consistently on the outside looking in of hockey’s biggest stage.
3. The Calgary Flames
Seriously, is anyone even surprised by this team anymore? As atrocious as their possession numbers continue to be, the Flames have simply plugged along and made opposing teams uncomfortable. Just ask the Anaheim Ducks, who coasted through the first two games of their series, only to be rudely awakened by a late game winner from none other than Johnny Hockey himself. Calgary may not advance to the Conference Final against such a formidable foe, but no one in their right minds should be surprised if they do.
2. Patrick Kane’s Dominance
Were it not for an unfortunate clavicle injury, there’s a very good chance that Kane would have absolutely ran away with the NHL scoring race this year. He torched the Minnesota Wild in round two, scoring some dazzling goals while being a constant threat with the puck on his stick. He’s currently sitting on thirteen points in ten games, and is clearly an early favorite for the Conn Smythe. Besides maybe Alex Ovechkin and P.K Subban, there may not be another player more electrifying in the entire league than Kane.
1. Bizarre/Non-Existent Officiating
Officiating always seems to take a nosedive in the playoffs, and this year has been no different. The amount of blatant hooking, holding, and interfering that goes uncalled game in and game out has given too much of an advantage to slower, less skilled players. Whether it be the bizarre no-goal call against the Flames, the Brandon Prust-Brad Watson beef, or the botched offsides call in the Tampa Bay-Montreal series, NHL officials have been their customary confusing selves.