Ducks Clinch, Bolts Clinch, Pinch Me

Hmmm. That’s odd. I’m sober and drug-free, yet I’m about to write that both Tampa Bay and the Mighty Ducks clinched playoff spots.
OK. I’m back. Sorry. I had to get up and see if the streets were opening up and swallowing us all up. But it’s fine outside. Nice even. Mild.
At the start of the season, I could kinda-sorta see Tampa maybe getting a spot. Everyone was expecting another strong year from goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin and it seemed like Vinny Lecavalier was finally starting to grow into his potential. And then Tampa had a really strong start, which is really the secret to making the playoffs. If you have an amazing October, you can get away with being average the rest of the season. It worked for the Bolts this season and it worked for the Islanders last season. So even when Khabibulin started to struggle this season, the Lightning were still entrenched in a spot. Or as the Pentagon might say, they were embedded.
Of course, the Tampa Tribune brilliantly and insightfully attributes the Lightning success to “More Offense.” I’d love to see a team lose with “More Offense.” Look for the Trib to soon reveal the secret of getting rich: “More Money.”
You may have noticed the Ducks clinched their spot in the West. Disney is having a great sports year. First the Angels. Now the Ducks. All of this success almost makes EuroDisney seem like it was all worth it.
Do people give you a hard time about the Ducks? My friends always tease me about their name like I picked it or something.
Anyway, over in Anaheim they play very tight defense and have gotten a super year out of Sebastien Giguere. He has eight shutouts. That helps a lot. It takes the pressure off the forwards. Not forward Paul Kariya, though. He never feels any pressure. He knows he’s overpaid. But for guys like Petr Sykora and the recently-acquired Steve Thomas, who actually try to play hockey, it probably helps knowing you’ve got someone solid between the pipes.