Well, in terms of the distance they travel it works out the same. But it definitely is tougher for the east coast team to start games at what would be 10 or 1030 pm when playing out west compared to west coast teams playing on the east coast and starting games at what would be 4 or 430 pm.
The travel issue is irrelevant, as it works both ways. All four teams will be traveling.
CBC would need game 1 to start tomorrow in order to have a game Saturday, Hockey Night in Canada. One could argue, why not have game 1 start Saturday?
That's just one of my guesses.
I heard that the NHL and the their TV deal wanted/needed a nationally televised game for Thursday night. Both NBC and CBC wanted their prime time slots filled as well. Philly/Bos at 3pm Sat, Det/SJ at 3pm Sun and then Was/TB at 7pm Sun for NBC to hit all of their possible major markets and obviously CBC wanted Vancouver on Saturday night and that's why they have an early start (9pm) despite being on the west coast.
So it was all based on the TV deals and the need for a nationally televised game tonight (Thursday) and then the rest of the weekend works out as it does because it just makes sense.
And you should go ahead and say it. Shout it from the rooftops. I'm saying nothing against Zetterberg who is an awesome player with great playoff stats for the past four years. No argument from me at all.
However, what I AM saying is that rolling out the same old tired cliches about "disappearing Joe" are not particularly valid right now. He had a great series against the Kings by anyone's standards. Anyone calling out Joe's play right now is showing laziness of thought and not paying attention to reality.
Let me tell you about this awesome player....he was a major league prospect and a high first-round draft pick, he had been the Captain of an Original 6 team, he averaged over a point per game in his career in the first 13 seasons, and his team was once the number one seed in the West only to lose a hearbreaking first round series to the lowly eighth seeded team. Everyone called him a choker 'cause he just couldn't get it done in the post-season and neither could the rest of his very talented team.
By the way, this player's name is Steve Yzerman.
Then in his 14th season in the league, when he was 32 years old, Stevie Y finally won the Cup and everyone stopped calling him a big fat choker.
Joe Thornton is in his 14th NHL season and he will be 32 in July. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. But something for Wings fans to think about when the bandy the choker label around.
Joe Thornton's numbers in the playoffs are fine. No one is arguing that. But he absolutely has disappeared in big games when it matters. From the NHL playoffs to the Olympics he has absolutely disappeared. Also, making the comparison to Yzerman is way off base. Yzerman took a struggling Wings franchise and made them relevant again in a gradual/progessive manner. Thornton, in many people's eyes, plateaud and just hasn't been able to get to the next level in those big games.