Playoffs providing rollercoaster ride

ERIN NICKS -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 11:36 AM ET

Now that we're deep into the first round of the playoffs, how are you holding up?

Do your bar tabs read like a mortgage payment? Have you put grooves in your couch and at least two delivery places on the speed dial? How often are you imitating Bob Cole? (In my house, it's a daily occurrence).

I'm completely absorbed in a desperate attempt to watch as much as I can.

Recording games, watching and rewatching plays, catching highlights of other games online -- I'm surprised I haven't begun to twitch yet.

Last night I had a dream that I was discussing evolution theories with John Tortorella over bottles of Gatorade (needless to say, it ended badly for him).

I love it all ... well, almost all of it. Here's what I've found decent thus far:

- Games going into overtime: Is there anything better? To see tilts already going beyond 60 minutes makes you wonder how teams will hold up down the stretch. Detroit, in particular, may prove to be an interesting study in the effects of early overtime. In addition, the ongoing commentary during these lengthy games has added an extra layer of entertainment. If you stayed up for Game 3 of the Detroit-Edmonton series, you may have heard CBC's Mark Lee drop this tidbit, after the camera panned over to a painted fan: "It's not uncommon to see young men painting their chests in their father's garage before a game." Uh, it isn't? Alrighty then.

- The Montreal-Carolina series: So many fans had this series tagged as the equivalent of a 'Canes first-round bye, and left it at that. But when you remove certain variables from the equation (most notably Jose Theodore and Erik Cole), you're left with some surprisingly entertaining games, packed with storylines. The goaltending issues of Carolina, combined with the devastating injury to Saku Koivu, pushed this series to the forefront of the media's attention.

And under the category of "not-so-much":

- Don Cherry: When you incorrectly identify the players involved in a specific and controversial issue (namely Chris Neil and Sean Burke, as opposed to Chris Neil and Chris Dingman), something's wrong. We're not exactly arguing over semantics here. It's one thing to stir up a discussion -- it's completely another to be unaware of the facts (and significant history) going in.

- Fans in other cities showing up the SBP crowd: From the gleeful Shark Tank, to Oilers fans that mercilessly mock Manny Legace, to the Habs supporters who count down the penalty kill ... all around the league, Sens fans are being out-cheered. No one's debating that the building isn't loud, but there's nothing like a unified crowd to a) stir things up and b) prove the masses wrong. Think about it: Do you really want to be outdone by fans at the RBC Center? A southern U.S. state is cheering circles around you, Ottawa. Do something about it. Now.

It's been a great first round, and undoubtedly it's only going to get better. Pace yourselves.

NOT SO SEXY: Can we please talk about the "sexy" movement in sports? No, this has nothing to do with Maria Sharapova. I'm talking about use of the actual word. It's a trend going horribly awry. In his search for a new head coach, Canucks GM Dave Nonis said, "It's about the right person, not the person that is the sexiest choice." During his Thursday press conference, Marc Crawford spoke about Todd Bertuzzi and commented, "I really feel Todd has been so unfairly treated here, especially lately, when it's very, very sexy for the media to try and portray that there's a problem." San Jose is the "sexy" pick for the Cup. Mario Williams is the "sexy" pick in the NFL draft. News flash: "Sexy" does not mean "trendy." I'd rather that the misuse of irony returned to the forefront -- it was more annoying, but less creepy.

TIE ONE ON: A reader from Gatineau wrote last week with a game accessory idea that could be original and pay tribute to Roger Neilson: Tie waving. Anyone up for a grassroots movement?

SUEDE LEADER: Is the Liberal Party still searching for leadership candidates? If so, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may be worthy. He showed up at an NBA game this week in a fringed suede jacket, almost identical to the one often worn by former PM Pierre Trudeau. All Kareem needed was a birchbark canoe and he'd be ready for publicity photos.

erinnicks@yahoo.ca


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