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Top 10 Reasons to Love the Playoffs - #7 & 6

Let's get right to it.

7)You don't have to hear some portly schmuck scream 'holy mackinaw!' every five seconds

Joe Bowen, as you all know, is the so-called voice of the leafs. He's also incredibly annoying (much like the other 'voice of the leafs' Andy Frost). Happily, even when the Leafs are in the playoffs, he does not do the games - unless you're unfortunate enough to have to catch the games on radio - so when the second season comes around, we are spared his Santa Clause-esque broadcasts.

Now Joe Bowen hasn't always been annoying. In fact, he was probably at one time one of the top play by play men in the game. But like many prominent figures, Bowen has become a mere caricature of himself. Bowen was always had an exciting style, but at one time he'd only bust out the Bowenisms - mainly 'holy mackinaw' - after such an exciting play that you might actually believe the exclamation was genuinely spontaneous. And it was even kind of cute and novel back then. But as the catch phrase grew in popularity, even for a time being played over the P.A. when the Leafs would score - Bowen got way too caught up in it too the point that nowadays he screams it at every available opportunity. Because of it, he's become almost unwatchable - or maybe that's just the Leafs.

Another thing that I find kind of annoying about Bowen, while we're on the subject, is the way he chuckles uncontrollably after anything that is even slightly unordinary happens: a stick breaking on a wrist shot is good for about 45 seconds of chuckling, a goalie slipping and falling behind the net is good for about a minute, and Lee Stempniak making physical contact with an opposing player, if it ever happens, will probably set him off for a couple of weeks. I've got nothing against a bit of levity, but please, Mr. Bowen, try and get a grip.

And just a quick question about Paul Hendrick: can someone tell me why this guy has a job? His interviews are brutal, his voice is annoying, and when he's pulling ice level commentating duty, his contributions are even more superfluous than Pierre McGuire's. Seems like a nice guy though.

6)Marginally better officiating

If I was writing this 5-10 years ago, I wouldn't have to use the qualifier 'marginally'. But the efforts of the NHL to suck the personality out of officiating have been so effective, that the once signficant difference between regular season and playoff officiating has become almost negligible. Nevertheless, there is still a bit of difference, and it does make the games more interesting.

We do still get a lot of those chincey hooking and holding calls, but I have seen games these playoffs that went long stretches without a penalty, though by the current standards one perhaps ought to have been called. There's nothing like watching hockey where the referees just let them play. That being said, I realize that the whole clutching and grabbing thing is a legitimate issue and eventually the players are going to have to cut it out completely. But I can't stand '2 minutes for having your stick brush up against the side of another player'. Games shouldn't be decided by something like that.

PensionPlanPuppets.com is a fan community that allows members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Toronto Maple Leafs and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editor of PensionPlanPuppets.com.

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