What if Hockey was more like Curling?
Until about 2:45 a.m. EST on Thursday morning, it looked like the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs had become a bonspiel.
You know. Sweep. Sweep. Sweep.
Shawn Horcoff, however, ended the triple OT marathon in Edmonton, which meant the Oilers and Sharks will have to go at least five games before one team moves on and the other begins making salary cap calculations for next season.
The Sabres, Canes and Ducks could all still rout their opponents in four straight, and if that happens, it would be similar to 1995 when three of four second round matchups were sweeps and the other went five games.
If the one-sided nature of the second round is a trend, it's pretty hard to figure out what the defining nature of the trend is.
Perhaps its the equalization of the post-lockout world. Carolina, Buffalo and Anaheim are all teams that were in terrible financial straits before the NHL and the players union shut 'er down for a year.
Meanwhile, all the financial powerhouses - Toronto, Detroit, Philadelphia, the New York Rangers and Dallas - have been sitting on the sidelines for a while now.
Maybe it's about how the new NHL is all about youth. All the teams that are left have only a sprinkling of thirtysomethings, a big departure from the win-with-veterans approach many teams took in the late 1990s and early part of this century.
Then there's the goalies.
If San Jose survives, the Final Four netminding matchups could be Ryan Miller vs. Cam Ward in the east, and Vesa Toskala vs. Ilya Bryzgalov in the west.
Not one of those four had played a post-season game before this spring.
Combined, their salaries add up to about $2.4 million.
On the bench, meanwhile, are Evgeny Nabokov ($5.4 million), Jean-Sebastien Giguere ($4 million), Martin Biron ($2.12 million) and Martin Gerber ($1.1 million).
Short-term, teams might start to be reluctant to throw more than, oh, $3 million a year at any goalie.
And Roberto Luongo, who has never made the playoffs, wants $6 million.
The really weird thing about all these sweeps, meanwhile, is that the teams poised to be swept sure didn't look like they were ready to be thrashed coming into this round.
Ottawa had hammered the defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in five games. New Jersey had won 15 straight. Colorado had upset the Stars in five.
The best news is that rather than being beat up, quick second round series could leave all the winners in far better shape to produce quality conference finals and a truly top-drawer Stanley Cup final.