So in the First round I went 4-0 in the Eastern Conference and was correct on the number of games in 2 cases (Bufallo and New Jersey), the in Western Conference I was a paltry 1-4 but I was game number correct in that one game. Now on to round 2.
(1) Buffalo Sabres vs. (6) New York Rangers
The Islanders exposed something in Buffalo in the first series. Either they took them too lightly or they aren’t showing the work effort needed to win. Buffalo needs to get better or the Rangers will pick them apart. The Rangers are playing smart, disciplined, determined hockey and they are confident right now. They could steal this series, if Buffalo doesn’t step it up a notch. I don’t think they will, Buffalo will coast a couple of games and the Rangers will give them a fight, but in the end Buffalo prevails and moves on.
Sabres in Seven
(2) New Jersey Devils vs. (4) Ottawa Senators
New Jersey (and Brodeur) took a couple of games off during the first series, but then Brodeur got his ass in gear and by association the rest of the team. The Senators are a deeper offensive team, but not as sound defensively. The Devils and managed to find a transition game and have Brodeur. This one comes down to goaltending.
Devils in Seven
(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (5) San Jose Sharks
It took Detroit 6 games to dispatch a very ordinary looking Calgary team. Sure they were more physical than Calgary but Calgary managed to muster like 3 shots a game on Hasek. San Jose nullified Nashville (who was my pick for Western Conference Champ) pretty effectively and didn’t get a lot of scoring from the Thorton/Cheecho line. San Jose is methodical and relentless, they just keep coming.
Sharks in Six
(2) Anaheim Ducks vs. (3) Vancouver Canucks
I thought the Wild’s suffocating defense could nullify the Ducks offense and they would win out being more used to winning low scoring games. If it weren’t for a mercy game in their own building the Wild would have been swept. Anaheim is a juggernaut, I was on the bandwagon during the Giguire losing run in 2003.
Ducks in five
I had a bit of an epiphany today, I was reading a post from John Forslund’s blog where he talks about diving. Granted rules answers in hockey are never simple but here’s the plan. Next season the league makes a deal about enforced crackdown of diving along with the continued Officiating Standard. When a ref sees a hook, trip, etc but also sees a dive or embellishment, rather than not calling either (bad), or only calling one (ok, but still bad), he calls both. Here’s the difference, it’s not a manpower penalty. 2 minutes each for each player, both sides skate 5-on-5. The effect his has is potentially removing the two players for longer than two minutes. Since teams are skating 5-on-5 the offending players can’t leave the penalty box until a stoppage in play. This also has the effect of not altering the current play. It’s still 5-on-5 rather than 4-on-4. 4-on-4 changes the game, there is more ice, coaches roll different lines, refs are less likely to call additional penalties since it would be 4-on-3 or 3-on-3 (which almost never happens). It gives refs more of an out to a tough judgment call. If either side is blatant with the hook or the dive, you could tack on another 2 minutes and give a powerplay. It’s important to remove a diving player (and a hooking player) from the ice in punishment for the action, but not giving a 4-on-4 (which for some teams is a powerplay because of their skill) would go a long way to make it an easier infraction to enforce.
Beer is one of those things that’s subjective. I’m not talking about mass produced american beer (aka canoe beer), but US craft beers which honestly put European brews to shame (solely based on originality). Personally I love wheat beers and generally don’t like IPAs. Does this mean they are bad, no, of course not. I just don’t prefer their taste, but they are still fine beers. Of this list I’ve only had one, but I’m going to try to find more of them for comparison.
(1) Buffalo vs. (8) New York Islanders
Dipietro or not, the islanders are two slow and don’t score enough to knock off buffalo who has a big chip on their shoulder from last year.
Sabres in five
(2) New Jersey vs. (7) Tampa Bay
Bad powerplay (check), bad penalty kill (check), 1 real scoring line (check), shaky goaltending (check)
What is to like about Tampa Bay in the playoffs this year? Once Lecay and St. Louis get shut down who’s left?
On top of it Broduer is playing awesome right now.
Devils in six
(3) Atlanta vs. (6) New York Rangers
Atlanta will be star-struck, their first ever playoff appearance, if the rangers try to play wide open they’ll lose because Atlanta has better scoring, but the Rangers are hardened from last years drubbing by New Jersey and are looking to prove themselves. Atlanta is just happy to be there especially after backing their way into the third seed.
Rangers in six
(4) Ottawa vs. (5) Pittsburgh
Everyone says this series is the one to watch. Two high powered offences, I’m tempted to call this one a sweep,
but I don’t know which way it’ll go. So I’m taking the easy way out and taking it to 7 games. Pittsburgh is
untested and didn’t expect to be in the playoffs. Fleury hasn’t shown any big game prowess. On the other hand
Ottawa are the second best playoff chokers in the NHL (Sorry Dallas). Honestly this one could go either way, but I
wouldn’t be surprised if one of them swept the others.
Senators in seven
(1) Detroit vs. (8) Calgary
Good moral character prevents me from ever predicting Detroit to win a playoff series. The most wonderful thing in
the world was them getting ousted in the first round last year. (till the canes won it all) The Flames are a better
home team than away and their style suites playoff hockey. Detroit doesn’t have an North American captain and
their future rests on a 200 year old groin and a backup goalie who was better at fighting with Roy than stopping the
Flames in five
(2) Anaheim vs. (7) Minnesota
Everyone was all Ducks this and Ducks that at the beginning of the year, toughest division in hockey etc. I think
they’ve gone a little soft here at the end. Minnesota is built for the playoffs, sound defensive team that gives up
nothing. This one goes down to the wire and comes out with the upset.
Wild in seven
(3) Vancouver vs. (6) Dallas
This will not be a fun series to watch. The two lowest scoring teams in the playoffs, the two goalies with the most to
loss. Turco hasn’t gotten out of the first round since Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, while Luongo while fantastic regular
season goalie has yet to prove a thing in the playoffs. I don’t think the road team will win a game all series.
Canucks in seven
(4) Nashville vs. (5) San Jose
After Ottawa/Pittsburgh this is the next best opening round series. Nashville is a very well balanced team that can
hurt you in many ways. San Jose has the most lethal power-play in the league. Nashville has Forsberg, who has been huge in any playoff situation where he wasn’t the captain/go-to-guy. Nashville stays out of the box and moves on.
Predators in five
My distaste for certain hockey officials is well documented, but this is a travesty. First they make him wear a helmet, taking away the second greatest hair in hockey (after Barry Melrose’s mullet), but now they give extra work to McGoo over Fraiser? Blown call after blown call and this guy still has a job. Stephen Walkom must have lost his mind, did he not watch the oiler game where McGoo called a clean face off win a hand-pass? Now overall the officials this year have been a B+ or an A- in my mind. Not as good as last year but still very good… But McGoo… D-, make him a linesman, put him in the goal booth so he can watch the replay rather than try to tax himself by making a timely call, anything but having him decide a playoff series.
Not too long ago I bought my first Mac, a mini. I was in the market for a new computer. I didn’t want to spend another $3k like I did last time. I’ve found the longer I work with computers the less I want to pay for them in my personal life. A shiny new pentium doesn’t hold the same appeal as it used to. So I was looking for something in the sub $1000 range.
Talk to any intelligent hockey fan and they will tell you that the Stanley Cup is the hardest trophy in sports to win, in fact most intelligent sports fans will agree.
• It takes 16 wins, 4 seven game series after an 82 game regular season.
• NFL takes at most 4 wins, at least 3, all of which are single elimination, following a 16 game regular season
• MLB uses 1 best of 5, and 2 best of 7 series, following a 182 (or there about) regular season
• NBA recently adopted an NHL style playoff, previously their first round was best of 5 (rather than 7)
Last night the Canes lost 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning and 15 minutes later when Montreal won 2-0 over Boston, it became mathematically impossible for the Canes to make the post season. They become the 3rd team in NHL history to miss the playoffs following winning the Cup. They also add another footnote to NHL history as the first time in NHL history that both final teams (Edmonton and Carolina) failed to make the playoffs the following year.
It is disappointing? Yes, the one thing I wanted out of this year was to not have a collapse and endure the mouth-breathers comments about how it was a fluke, etc. Now that it’s done we can reminisce a bit.
The Canes won the Southeast division by 20 points, over the then defending Stanley Cup Champs, Tampa Bay
They only faced elimination 2 times, Game 7 of the Conference Finals against Buffalo and Game 7 of the Finals against Edmonton. Fluke? I don’t think so, you can fluke your way through 1 game, but not a 7 game series.
As much as missing the playoffs causes the Canes to be a footnote in history, the fact that they are still and will always be the 2006 Stanley Cup Champs isn’t diminished at all. When New Jersey won their first cup in 1995 they were considered a bit of a fluke team, it was a lockout shortened season, then they missed the playoffs the next year and the pundits had more ammunition. Now Jersey is a Eastern Conference powerhouse, they haven’t missed the playoffs since that year after the Cup, and won 2 more since then.
There are 16 franchises that have never won the Cup. Enough time has passed at this point that Toronto doesn’t have a band on the active cup (67-68). The 92-93 Canadiens are the last Canadian team to win the cup. The Southeast division winner has won the last two cups. No team captained by a non-north american born player has ever won the Cup.
My picks for this year? Nashville plays for the West, New Jersey for the east, and Broduer wins his 4th Cup.