Anaheim Ducks defenseman Ryan Whitney played an instrumental role in the Ducks upsetting the San Jose Sharks 4 games to 2 in the first round of the playoffs
After months of inconsistent play, Whitney had 4 assists in the series and was phenomenal on the breakout throughout the series.
People I‚Äôve talked to in Anaheim who cover the team on a regular basis tell me, Whitney is resembling the player he was in Pittsburgh during the 2006-2007 season when he recorded 59 points.
He is flourishing under head coach Randy Carlye and appears to be in the right situation.
The Ducks have been very encouraged by Whitney‚Äôs play over the past couple weeks as he appears to be nearing 100% health after off-season foot surgery which limited his ability for the better part of the season.
Just as they did when they made the trade, the Ducks organization believes they received the best player out of the Chris Kunitz, Eric Tangradi / Ryan Whitney trade.
The Ducks will cause the Red Wings some problems as they are physical and boasts the leagues top defensive corps with Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Whitney and Francois Beauchemin as their top four.
Joe Thornton the ultimate playoff-underachiever
Sharks forward Joe Thornton played with a lack of intensity and emotion during the Sharks first round series and he is the ultimate playoff-under-achiever.
He racks up a lot of assists in the regular season but he is among one of the most over-rated players in the past decade. There are 25-30 players in this league I would take over him.
Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf (8 points) was matched up against Thornton for much of the series and Getzlaf outplayed Thornton by a wide margin.
There is speculation that the Sharks will begin blowing up their team but I don‚Äôt know who would want Thornton at his price tag ($7.2 million per season). He failed to deliver in Boston and he‚Äôs doing the same in San Jose.
Sleeper team in the Western Conference
The Chicago Blackhawks ousted the Calgary Flames in six games beating the Flames 4-1 Monday night in Calgary. Complete disappointment for the Flames who after the trade deadline were being mentioned in the same discussion as the Red Wings and Sharks.
Chicago has a great offensive attack but the reason they won the series so handily was because of their physical play. Enough can‚Äôt be said for their role players such as Dustin Byfuglien, Adam Burish and Samuel Pahlsson.
The Hawks have a complete group of forwards, strong group of defensemen and a Stanley cup winning goaltender in Nikolai Khabibulin. Very dangerous team in the West.
Picks for tonight‚Äôs pair of game 7‚Äôs
Washington has all the momentum and the pressure is now on them to win the series. The Capitals are clearly the better team but since I predicted the Rangers to win in 7, I have to stick with the Rangers tonight. Rangers 3 ‚Äì Capitals 2
Carolina made a statement in game 6 winning 4-0 to force a game 7. They have all the confidence right now and at this point in their careers I would bet on Cam Ward over Martin Brodeur. Hurricanes advance.