Goldmann: Who’s going to beat this insane force?
The hot phase of the DEL playoffs starts LIVE on SPORT1. SPORT1 expert Rick Goldmann analyzes the teams – especially a duel becomes a battle.
Dear hockey friends,
Finally she is running, the #most awesome time of the year: the DEL playoffs! Intensity, speed, toughness, tension and only one team will make it to the next round. Who will it be?
With the game of the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers against the Cologne sharks (Wednesday, from 19.25 LIVE on TV on SPORT1 and in the LIVETICKER) a quarter-finals awaits us, which has completely changed in comparison to the previous season. Last season, the Nuremberg team still stood for hockey hockey, a lot of offensive – especially around the Reinprecht-Reimer-Ehliz series.
This season is the cornerstone for their success the strong defensive. It’s not for nothing that the Ice Tigers are the team with the fewest goals conceded. And: They are no longer so dependent on their top series for a long time, they are much more balanced. This is also proven by the following fact: Olympic silver hero Leo Pföderl has won nine games – the most in the DEL history of the Ice Tigers!
The sharks are the complete opposite of the Ice Tigers. They’ve lost some of their defensive stability. Their attacking output also attracted more attention this season due to the long absence of their goalie Gustaf Wesslau. The problem was that there were only two goals from the last three games before the playoffs.
However, they were there when it came to the direct quarter-finals qualifying against Ingolstadt. This shows the quality of the team. And after a lot of hustle and bustle during the season, there is now a little bit of peace and quiet in Cologne – as far as that’s possible. Nuremberg is probably the easy favorite, but Wesslau should or could become the spoilsport for them.
Let’s get to the defending champion. Munich simply has a terrific troop, as you can see from the seven Olympic heroes alone. In addition, the champion of the last two years, Keith Aucoin, is the best DEL striker and Yannic Seidenberg is the best defender.
Seidenberg is a phenomenon for me. It was his first full time as a defender and then one of those. It’s unbelievable when you imagine that he’s always played strikers in the past years and that he’s only a temporary defender. Back to the whole team: most goals, second fewest goals, 36 wins with only 16 defeats. So one wonders: Who is going to beat this group in a best-of-7 series?
But opponent Bremerhaven is also a phenomenon. How coach Thomas Popiesch and team manager Alfred Prey managed to catch the loss of last year’s top series and put together such a powerful team is worthy of all honours. Bremerhaven’s return to the quarter-finals is a huge success for them. But it will hardly be more than that, unless the residents of Munich disable themselves…
Ingolstadt versus Mannheim is not only the new edition of the 2015 final series, it is also the duel between two of the three hottest teams in 2018. Ingolstadt has made a sensational run under Doug Sheddon. Fourth place is the earned wage. Since he died on the 28th. For the first time behind the gang in December, he won 34 puntke in 17 games – not even Champion Munich was so successful. In addition to Shedden, Ville Koistinen also played a major role in the upswing. 16 scorer points in 15 games – sensational values for a defender.
Mannheim has played most of the season under its possibilities. Now it’s on for the eagles, too. Mannheim’s yield was only two points lower, which shows that the team found each other. And Mannheim must never be written off in the playoffs. The eagles have a depth in the squad, which otherwise only Munich can compete with (the quarter-finals of the DEL playoffs).
This duel will be a battle for me. I’m curious about the hardness. For me, the defensive advantages of the Ingolstadt team are on the defensive, while the eagles have on the offensive. Very exciting. A series in which a goalkeeper can or must make the difference if he or she will not play more than seven games.
Wolfsburg is a play-off monster under coach Pavel Gross. Hardly any other team is able to gain as much in the knockout stage as the grizzlies. Gross still tickles additional percentages out of his players. But this year I have my doubts. But this is mainly due to the many injured people. No Fauser, no Haskins, no Voakes. Even if Haskins and Voakes return, downtime will be noticeable.
With the polar bears, Sean Backman is slowly getting back into shape after his weak phase. Especially the series with Sheppard and Petersen gives the Berliners a scoring punch, which they lost last season in the late play-off phase – when the polar bears got tired. Not only the series from the Regular Season – three victories Berlin, one for Wolfsburg – speaks in favour of the polar bears (SERVICE: Results / Schedule).
But that doesn’t have to mean anything, because the #hottest time holds surprises for us again and again. Because that’s what makes the playoffs. Intensity, speed, hardness, tension and surprises.
I wish us a lot of fun with it.
Rick Goldmann, 40, stood on the ice 126 times for the German national team. The defender, who was sent to 212th place at the 1996 NHL draft. Position was drawn by the Ottawa Senators, contested a game in the NHL. After a severe ankle joint injury he finished his career at the EHC Munich in 2008. In his career he played 500 DEL games for EV Landshut, Adler Mannheim, Kaufbeurer Adler, Moskitos Essen, ERC Ingolstadt and Iserlohn Roosters. Goldmann has been commenting on the matches of the national team for SPORT1 since 2008.