2002 playoff predictions

(posted to the sharks list 4/14. Honest)

Detroit vs. Vancouver.

Vancouver closed the season kicking butt to make the playoffs. Detroit
closed the season with only 1 win in ten, and it wasn’t at all clear it was
the late-season vacation…. Can Scotty Bowman flip the switch and turn them
back into the Red Wings? Do the Red Wings have enough energy for the playoff
run?

Good questions. I hate betting against Bowman and Hasek, but if there’s a
series ripe for an upset, it’s this one. I wouldn’t put money on it, folks.
There are just too many guys on the Wings who can steal games. I’m just
wondering if they can steal it all….

Vancouver in five.

Colorado vs. Los Angeles

I’m gonna enjoy this one. Should be a huge, nasty, long, series. All the
better for everyone else in the conference, too. Both teams are full of
“ex-the-other-guy” players, and Potvin vs. Roy ought to be great.

But when it’s all settled, you have Roy, Sakic, Blake, Foote and Drury,
among others. The Kings are good — but the Avs are better.

Avs in six.

San Jose vs. Phoenix

San Jose seems to be pretty ready and pretty healthy going into the
playoffs. I think they match up well. Phoenix was a bit suprising to me
improving enough to make the playoffs, and might be the primary “happy to be
here” team in the west. Which makes them beatable — and dangerous.

But San jose should take it.

San Jose in five.

St. Louis vs. Chicago

Who expected this improvement out of the Hawks? Well, I guess Brian Sutter
did. I’m impressed. Their only relative weak spot is goaltending, where I’m
not convinced (yet). On the other hand, I’m more convinced that St. Louis is
in trouble. Their goaltending has convinced me — that it’s not the answer.
But they have Pronger and MacInnis, so they won’t go easily. But I expect
they’ll go — yet another first round loss for the Blues.

Chicago in five.

My choice out of the west: Colorado. My second choice: San Jose. My dark
horse: detroit

Eastern Conference:

Boston vs. montreal:

It’s great to see Montreal in the playoffs, but even if Theodore stands on
his head, it won’t be enough. But ti’s a nice sign the team is on its way
back again.

Boston in five.

Philadelphia vs. Ottawa:

I’d love to root for Ottawa, but they seem to be a team much like the Blues:
they’ve gotten good enough to be a playoff team,but not good enough to take
the next step. I don’t see that different this year. And Philly’s good.

Philly in four.

Carolina vs. New jersey:

Carolina’s happy to be here. Sorry, guys, not even close.

New jersy in four.

Toronto vs. NY Islanders

The best/closest match in the east. The Islanders have made a huge
improvement, but I can’t see them topping the leafs this year.

Leafs in 6.

My pick out of the east: boston. My 2nd pick: New jersey. My dark horse:
toronto.