Month: April 2009

2009 second round predictions

I never did post my first round eastern conference predictions. Oh well, this thing called “work” keeps keeping me busy. Some pretty good hockey, though. But in the West, I chose San jose (bah), Detroit, Vancouver and Chicago, going 3 for 4. of course, the one I got wrong went seriously wrong. bah. So the second round starts tonight and here’s a quick look at my picks. In the East, two really good series brewing: Carolina squeaked by New Jersey, but played a good game of hockey to get into the position of being ready for the opportunity to put a kill-shot on the Devils. They’re going to give Boston a run for the money, and they could well win if Boston isn’t on its best game. Beware the “playing with the house’s money” mentality here. But Boston should win the series, although it won’t be easy: Boston in 6. Pittsburgh vs Washington?  Fun series to watch. I’m going to have to give the nod to Pittsburgh, because a big question here is goaltending and whether the Caps baby goalie can keep it up. If he can, then Washington has a real shot here. If not? I’ll take the Pens. So Pens in 6. Out west? Vancouver vs. Chicago — Going to be a fast, up-tempo, physical war, I think. Both teams are playing well, both teams have goalies...

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post season things to be thankful for

I want to give thanks for a couple of things: First, thanks to the Washington Capitals for making it past the Rangers. Both because I really am enjoying watching the Caps (a really good team with great players and some notable flaws) roll into the playoffs. It’ll just be fun to see how far they get. Second, thanks to the New Jersey Devils for a game 7, last minute meltdown that both knocked them out of the playoffs (sorry, guys!) AND the Sharks out of the primary slot of the “how could they screw up that badly?” on the talk shows. While the Sharks implosion in the playoffs was bad, the Devils game 7 loss was historic.Doesn’t mean the Sharks problems are less serious, it just means I don’t have to read/listen to everyone dwell on them quite so enthusiastically. I have my own thoughts on “what next?” for the sharks, of course. Wanted to get away from the emotion of the moment a bit, and I’m waiting to hear what injuries weren’t being disclosed, although to be honest, some of the folks I know who work in the locker room hinted to me there’s nothing significant, at least not among the players I’m most disappointed in. More on this later, but to be blunt about it, the pundits out there (you know who you are) who are looking...

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Suspensions in the playoffs (and sharks game 6)

Brashear gets six games in the playoffs — well deserved, and well done NHL. The only way you stop this kind of crap is to kick them where it hurts. And Brashear needed a 2×4. Given Betts has a broken orbital bone and is out for a while, I’m glad the league came down hard here. The Tortorella suspension? Unfortunate, but earned. Same penalty Tie Domi got for watering a fan and turning a small altercation into a bigger one. You simply DON’T DO THAT. And while I have some sympathy for Sather wanting sanctions on the Caps (they’re deserved, from what I can tell), it doesn’t argue away the issue of YOU DON’T DO THAT.  The Tortorella suspension should be ground zero for the debate on how the NHL handles things, mostly because the fans are always complaining that the league is too soft (except when it impacts their team, or “the game”). The league did right here. As far as the Sharks? I finally saw the kind of game I felt this team was capable of; not perfect, but Joe Thornton finally stepped it up and played a “Joe thornton playoff game”. Will that game appear in game 6 tonight? If it does, the Ducks are done. Am I convinced? Far from it, but at least I’m looking forward to this game with some anticipation instead of...

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game 5 pregame notes

I apologize for the lack of hockey posting the second half of the season. I think maybe my (relative) lack of enthusiasm this season is because, frankly, I’m not surprised the Sharks are in this position. They got off to a massively positive start, and somewhere along the way, started coasting. That coast has to a good degree continued into the first round. I was wrong, however, when I said only two teams could beat the Sharks. There’s a third, and that’s the Ducks, and they’re doing an awesome job of keeping the Sharks from executing. The Sharks have had trouble stepping it up that next notch, but if the first round team was anyone but the Ducks (i.e., Columbus or St. Louis) this team would have rolled, if you ask me. At the same time, this team was built — and is capable of — beating any team going toe to toe. It just isn’t. So it’s not about matchups (an easier first round would be nice, but no excuse). It’s not about how well the Ducks are playing, or Hiller is playing (they are awesome, and if you step back from being a team’s fan, both sides are playing some pretty damn good hockey, but there’s no excuse that the Ducks are outplaying the Sharks given relative talent levels). It’s all about stepping up in the playoffs...

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The 2009 Playoffs western conference predictions

This is going to be one hell of a playoffs. There are really only two teams that “should” go to the Stanley Cup finals from the west. San Jose and Detroit. Everyone else is a dark horse. That said — both teams are vulnerable to upsets, and I wouldn’t be at all suprised if it happens. Detroit: will their goaltending be good enough to support a deep run? the last two games against Chicago indicates that might be a problem. San Jose: this team had plenty of injuries in the second half of the season, but honestly, they seemed to lose interest as well and coast. The good news is — they still won the President’s Cup. The bad news is: that won’t be good enough in the playoffs. If any team can “flip the switch” and get going in the playoffs, the Sharks can, but if it takes more than a period or two the Sharks could find themselves in trouble. So either — or both — of these teams could be missing from the western final. I give it about 50-50 one of them will be. Which one? Pick ’em. But honestly, the sharks problems are more solvable than the Wings are; if the goaltending isn’t there, it’s all over. And I don’t trust either Osgood or Conklin based on their play the second half of this...

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