Month: May 2006

Conference Finals projections

My conference final predictions…. But first, round 2: Edmonton/San Jose (SJ: nope) Colorado/Anaheim (Anaheim: yup) Ottawa/Buffalo (Ottawa: nope) New Jersey/Carolina (Carolina: nope) 1-3. um… yeah. thanks, anaheim, for helping me avoid a total blackout. So I was 5-3 in the first round, one of the best records I’ve had for a while. So I’m now 6-6. Still .500, which gets you in the playoffs. Of course, both of my original “final round” picks are gone…. And in the finals: Edmonton/Anaheim: Edmonton in 7. Anaheim’s rested, maybe too much. But very evenly matched, but I’ll give this one to Edmonton for the experience — Peca and Pronger and company have me convinced. Buffalo/Carolina: Carolina in 7. Again, it’s youth vs. experience, rest vs. ready, and deep down inside, I’m going to choose Carolina for having Weight and Brind’AMor, and at this time of the season, it’s the gut=check guys that come to the front and carry the play. Both series are very evenly matched. Any of the four can (and should) deserve a shot at the Cup. Ultimately, this is shaping up to whoever has the biggest hero wins the next series, and Edmonton and Carolina have guys who understand what it takes to be a “conn-smythe” type player; and that’ll ultimately be the difference this round and next. To me, the Cup, or not-to-Cup, lies on the shoulders of...

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Sharks lose game 5; Series gets really “interesting”

Tough game tonight on many levels, and while frustrating to watch the Sharks lose, if you take a step back and watch the game as a hockey fan, I (at least) thought it was a really hard-fought, tough, really fun game by two teams playing “no tomorrow” hockey. The score notwithstanding, I think the Sharks won the first two periods with some margin; if you look at the shot count and the tom of possession in the offensive zone, you see the ice slanted the Sharks way. If you look at blocked shots, if you look at goals scored, if you look at Toskala’s save percentage (wince), you’ll see that what edmonton did was defend the defensive zone wonderfully, force turnovers, and stuff them down Toskala’s throat. I’m sure some folks will disagree with me (I heard a few of them in the parking lot leaving tonight), but in my mind, Toskala had NO chance on ANY goal scored on him. Period. None. A few of them were so bad that the Oilers scored them and then looked at each other with a “this is too easy” look, acting almost embarrassed to celebrate a goal like that. So I don’t criticize Toskala at all; I could have played goal tonight and the result would have been mostly the same — because the “normal” shots were generally low percentage, and...

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Oilers finally get through to Toskala

Oilers finally get through to Toskala: Roloson deflected Ek’s shot, the puck went way up in the air and nobody saw it. Just a flukey thing. What can you do?” said Sharks coach Ron Wilson. “It all came together like, well, a perfect storm. We had them penned in their end for two minutes on the power play, firing shots left and right, then one of our shots gets deflected, we can’t find the puck and they get a bounce.” When Jason Smith (on a nifty deke) and Ales Hemsky (after a great feed from Ryan Smyth) beat Toskala early in the third he was gone for Evgeni Nabokov. It was only the third time in his NHL career, Toskala has given up five goals in a game. If Toskala’s psyche is a little bruised, he wasn’t showing it after the Oilers made him look mortal for the first time in the series. He didn’t have much to say, but he didn’t look broken up. Wilson got him out of there after 31 shots, not so much because he was shell-shocked, as to get his former No. 1 Nabokov into the game. “Just a rest for Toskala and an opportunity to get Nabby some work,” said Wilson, who’ll let the Finn jump right back on the horse Sunday night. “I thought Peca’s goal (to make it 3-2) actually got...

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Game four goes to edmonton

The Battle of Alberta: I think Chopper speaks for all Oil fans when he says:It would be more enjoyable if we were up in the series,” said Moreau. “But I love this hockey – it’s great, it’s fast, it’s physical. It’s a great product. It’s two teams that are competing very hard, two teams that skate well.True dat.I have no grand observations other than I think that the winner of this game will win the series. I think that might be correct. Gotta hand it to Edmonton tonight. They found the crack in San Jose’s armor and ripped it wide open. San Jose’s been humming along, feeling invulnerable and playing like it. No more. Now, we get to see whether San Jose can deal with that. It’s no longer an easy decision to pick the Sharks in this series (if it ever was. I picked them in six; it’s easier to pick them in six than living through them playing this series for six games….). On the other hand, Edmonton is going to have to win in San Jose; if both sides keep winning home games, the Sharks move on in 7. But edmonton had to find a way to break through. they did. Now, it’s clearly the Sharks on the defensive, having to find a way to push back and take momentum back. Game five has to be...

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Round 2 predictions

My Round 2 predictions…. But first, a look back at Round 1. I picked: Detroit/Edmonton: Detroit in 5 Dallas/Colorado: Dallas in 6 Calgary/Anaheim: Calgary in 6 San Jose/Nashville: San Jose in 6. (that makes me, um, 1-3 in the west, where I know the teams better. Great work, chuq) Ottawa/Tampa Bay: Ottawa in 4 Carolina/Montreal: Carolina in 5 New Jersey/Rangers: New Jersey in a fight. Buffalo/Philly: Buffalo in 6. (where I magically went 4-0) So I’m 5-3 in the first round, one of the best records I’ve had for a while. 2nd round: Edmonton/San Jose: San Jose in 6. I just think San Jose is rolling, better offense, better goaltending. Pronger worries me, as always. he can carry a team, and will. Colorado/Anaheim: Anaheim in 6. I just don’t think Colorado is stronger. Ottawa/Buffalo: Ottawa in 7. Series to watch this round in the east. gonna be fun. New Jersey/Caroling: New Jersey in 6. the better team, with...

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