Yeah, this is a blog. So what? Wanna make somethin’ of it?
Well seeing as I’m unable to do any work this morning because I’m completely snowed in – cue hysterical laughter from any and all American or West Coast readers – and I seem to be the only person in southern Alberta with working power this morning, I feel somewhat inclined to post a blog.
Now I know I said a while ago I was ready to get back into regular posting but I really do have a solid excuse for misleading you. As it turns out, I was lying. And apparently I do that sometimes even when I’m not trying to.
I don’t know if I was waiting for something truly inspiring to write about or if I just lost the ability to come up with worthwhile thoughts for a bit there but hopefully the mass of sports the spring brings us can give me a little something to discuss from time to time.
Of course, there is nothing bigger to discuss than tonight’s commencement of the NHL playoffs.
I’m generally not a big predictions guy because they are simply guesses, no matter how educated. Being right 10 times in a row doesn’t necessarily mean you have any idea what you’re talking about, while being consistently wrong doesn’t necessarily make you an idiot.
Every result of every game in every professional sport is simple proof anything can happen. And anything DOES happen.
The best teams must still play well to beat the worst teams and absolutely no one on the outside can account for the unlimited variables contributing at all times toward how well someone does or does not play.
That being said, I’m telling you what I think anyway.
San Jose (1) vs Colorado (8) – OK so right off the bat we have the prime example of why predictions are dumb in the first place. Every single year for a decade the Sharks have started and finished the regular season as serious Cup contenders and every single year they get knocked off really early. But every single year countless media experts have them as their eventual champ. Well, not this guy. I refuse to put my name beside the Turquoise Tankers until they prove to be something else. With all due respect to his fans, Joe Thornton has been the best example of a big-game bust the professional sporting world has to offer for years and I can’t in good conscience pick a team he plays for to go anywhere, regardless of the inexperience of their opponent. Therefore, I pick Colorado and all their rookies to win in six games. And if they don’t, I pick San Jose’s next opponent to do it in five.
Chicago (2) vs Nashville (7) – While I admit they have tweaked their uniforms here and there for the better and they are a pretty exciting team for the most part on the ice, all I picture when I think of the Nashville Predators is a giant, unsightly mustard stain. So even though I believe Nashville could pose some serious trouble for the Hawks, I’ll be adamantly cheering for their failure. But this is a good thing because even the unbiased portion of my brain thinks Chicago will win this one in six games, though it will likely be in spite of mediocre goaltending from Cristobal Huet.
Vancouver (3) vs L.A. Kings (6) – This to me is the most exciting of the Western series to watch and because of that is also the biggest coin toss as to who will come out on top. The Canucks have the Art Ross winner, his twin brother, solid two-way forwards, a great blueline and the gold-medal-winning goaltender – though Luongo has stunk it up a bit lately. The Kings have the best defenseman in the league – even though he’s so young we’re not supposed to call him that yet – a great group of speedy, skilled forwards complimented by some good size and toughness, and a solid, albeit unproven, net-minder. I honestly believe this could go either way so I will simply choose based on experience and home games, and Vancouver has the edge in both. Canucks in seven.
Phoenix (4) vs Detroit (5) – Awwww, isn’t it heartwarming to see what the Phoenix Coyotes have accomplished in the midst of all their off-ice turmoil and uncertainty? This is without a doubt one of the best stories the NHL has to offer this year and it would be just wonderful to see them make a solid run at the Cup to show the desert fans that hockey is a sport they can love. Yeah? Well story’s over sweetheart, you got Detroit. They were like 17-3 and down the stretch and are full of proven winners. Wings in an easy five.
Washington (1) vs Montreal (8) – A few weeks back when I first thought these two teams might meet in round one I started to search for a diplomatic way to tell you all I thought the Habs would win that series. They are one of the only teams to win in Washington this season and they almost did it twice. But more importantly, Jose Theodore is the only French-Canadian goalie alive who doesn’t make his career stoning the Habs and seems to even be intimidated by his former club. However this was all before the Habs proved to be the softest team in the league with no hope of beating anyone unless their goaltender stands on his head. And then for good measure, Thomas Plekanec gives the Caps extra momentum – as if they needed it – by insulting Theodore and saying “he’s good but it’s not like we’re facing Miller or Brodeur.” Smart comment from a guy who has yet to perform well in the post season and is hoping to land a big-money deal in a few months. Washington in five.
New Jersey (2) vs Philadelphia (7) – The only team entering the playoffs with as little momentum as Montreal is Philly. While that triumphant shootout win over NYR surely gave them a high to take into the first round, I seriously doubt it will matter a lick against the best goalie of all time and his supporting cast of Parise and Kovalchuk and Elias and Zajac and Langenbrunner and Rolston and so on and so on… Devils in five.
Buffalo (3) vs Boston (6) – Maybe it’s solely because I’m a Habs fan or maybe these two teams really are that lame but I can’t think of a series I’d rather watch less than this one. Boston has nothing but heart to hang on to as far as I’m concerned, while Buffalo has serious speed and goaltending advantages. Buffalo will win in six, but wake me up when they do.
Pittsburgh (4) vs Ottawa (5) – I know 4-vs-5 series should be tough to pinpoint but, as was in the West, I believe this one is an easy pick. Ottawa has been a team no one can really figure out this season as most of their campaign was riddled with lengthy streaks. A good month would shoot them up the standings, while a bad month would follow and bring everyone back to their heels. Pittsburgh on the other hand played pretty consistent all season, though they were nipped by the Devils for the division crown and they are, of course the defending champs. Even if Malkin continues to underperform I’m still sure the Pens will take this series easily. I’ll say six games but if it goes less, I’ll be the least surprised.
So those are my picks. But like I said, take them for what they are worth. If the Flyers beat the Preds for the Stanley Cup in two months, I’m not taking responsibility for any bets you may have lost along the way.
Bye for now!