NHL Playoffs, Round 2: Who Should We Root For?

When in doubt, root for the escape goat to get revenge. - Harry How

The pickings are slim, but there are still a few good guys out there

For neutral party fans, the first round of the NHL Playoffs delivered far too many successes for the dark forces of the NHL. Three of the eight series featured only bad guys and two featured good guys on both sides, but overall, the dark side went 6-2 in the first round. If you're a fan that wants a compelling reason to keep watching, this has severely limited your options.  If you're a fan in the Eastern Conference and need a reason to keep watching - at least the weather has finally broken.

Anaheim Ducks vs Los Angeles Kings

The only second round matchup featuring good guys on both sides, the Ducks vs. Kings matchup should be the best of the second round, much like the Sharks vs. Kings matchup was the best of the first round. The Ducks may have been part of the larger evil empire not too long ago, but Brian Burke and Chris Pronger are long gone and the only jerk left is Corey Perry. The Kings have to spend more time at the top of the heap before sentiment turns on them.

Why you should root for the Ducks: Bruce Boudreau, deserves a chance to make a run and truly rub it in while the Caps watch from their recliners: Dale Hunter over Boudreau remains one of the knee-slappingly funny coaching changes of the modern NHL. Boudreau has made useful players out of castoffs and kids: Andrew Cogliano, Ben Lovejoy, Mathieu Perreault (Caps again), Hampus Lindholm, Kyle Palmieri, Cam Fowler, and Jakob Silfverberg have all played key roles in support of the Ducks' superstars this season.

Why you should root for the Kings: They've been a really good team for awhile now and they've done it by turning over the edges of the roster and bringing in young, effective players. They got rid of Jack Johnson and got much, much better. If Anze Kopitar were North American, he would be behind only Sidney Crosby and Jonathan Toews in media hype. Drew Doughty.  If Dustin Brown weren't on this team, they would be the clear-cut "good guy" favorites in the post-season.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Minnesota Wild

This is the unlikeliest second round matchup and should be the most one-sided. The Blackhawks get a significantly easier match-up and the Wild are free-rolling. If playoff experience means as much as sports writers think it does, the Blackhawks should win in a walk. Las Vegas is on board: the Hawks are the heaviest favorite in the second round.

Why you should root for the Blackhawks: Except for goaltending, they're run the way a hockey team should be. They've got top-end stars and depth throughout the lineup. Management may have screwed up the last couple of goaltending contracts, but they've figured out how to keep the team's core together. They're a league power, but they're not like the Yankees - the big bad bullies.

Why you should root against the Wild: The Wild are a bottom 10 team in the league, but they caught a bit of puck luck to get where they are. They're not particularly evil, but who wants to root for porridge?

Boston Bruins vs Montreal Canadiens

Just reading that makes neutral observers react like they've just smelled something rotten. Tampa lost and took our only hope for good with them, though Detroit against anyone is better than this. It's a long-standing and hate-filled rivalry full of cheap shots and violence, but so is Germany vs Russia. No one wins when they play each other. The Canadiens haven't crushed anyone's testicles recently, so they've got that going for them.

Why you should root against the Bruins: Greggy Campbell and the Bruins are the league office sweethearts and the special protection they receive has gone from conspiracy theory to accepted in two years. Their long con pump-and-dump on the Oilers via Andrew Ference is offensive. Milan Lucic is garbage and should be suspended for 30 games for his cheap shot on Dan DeKeyser. Brad Marchand. Do you really want to hear television media personalities repeat "Chara" over and over for the next month?

Why you should root against the Canadiens: The Canadiens were what the Bruins are now for 40 years. If any team deserves to suffer an Oilers-like 8 years, it's the Habs.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Rangers

Lundqvist vs. Fleury.  The end.

Why you should root against the Penguins: There are few players more overrated than Marc-Andre Fleury. Their fans. A significant portion of them hate Kris Letang, hate Dan Bylsma, believe Evgeni Malkin is soft and doesn't care, believe Craig Adams is a key to their success and think that Marc-Andre Fleury is a really good goaltender. Oh, also *read in the voice of Pierre* Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby Crosby

Why you should root against the Rangers: The Rangers sit on the worst side of sports management. They were a significant driver of salary inflation and the wrong-headed spending didn't help them at all. Glen Sather spends like tomorrow will never come and to this point he's got nothing to show for it.

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