Month: May 2013

2013 Playoffs, Conference Finals

The Sharks fought the kings to game 7 and fell one goal, one shot, a couple of inches short. Some years it hurts, some years you feel they went as far as they can; this year, I think they went further than I expected and proved to themselves they could. Still, their season is over, and it’s not for four teams. Still work to do. In the 2nd round, I picked the Pens, Bruins, Chicago and Sharks. 3-1, which puts me at 8-4 for the playoffs. Maybe I should have been betting this year. I’m tempted to say “now it gets really interesting”, but in reality, it’s been a great playoffs. If the people who like to argue that the standard NHL season is too long want evidence, this year is it. Change the regular season from a marathon to a sprint and leave some fuel in the tank for the playoffs, and look what happens. And so to the conference finals. To nobody’s surprise, it’s the Penguins and Bruins. As it turns out, the Bruins got through the Rangers easier than I expected. Also, Torotorella is out of a job in New York. These two data points are not unrelated. I have to say I still like the Penguins out of the east. I don’t think Boston will make it easy, but I’m not convinced they can beat...

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The End of the Sharks season, 2013

And like that, the season’s over for the sharks. Game 7 against the Kings, last year’s Cup Champion and a team that looks to have rounded into champion form again. You can’t really fault much with the Sharks. The series was really that close. Was Quick a better goalie? Not really — and Quick is playing better than last year, when he won the Cup and the Conn-Smythe. Were the Kings a better team? Not really. Did Sutter out-coach McClellan? Not really. Did the Kings skaters out-play the Sharks skaters? Not really. Was it the loss of Raffi Torres? Not really; the Kings lost Stoll for the series and had to adjust for that as well. Everything pretty much balanced out. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a series this closely balanced, where as far as I can tell, the difference between the two teams was home-ice advantage. Not how the coaches used it, but the simple, minor things of last change and in the face-off circle. It ultimately came down to being just one goal better after seven games, and one truly astounding, key save by Quick on a shot Pavelski couldn’t raise two inches higher. It was that close. And it was glorious. I’m sure the usual talking and typing pundits will find the usual blather to complain about, and don’t get me wrong, the Sharks are...

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The Raffi Torres Hit

A Statement from GM Doug Wilson Regarding the Raffi Torres Suspension Upon review of the incident, it is abundantly clear that this was a clean hockey hit. As noted by the NHL, Raffi’s initial point of contact was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit on an opponent who was playing the puck. He did not leave his feet or elevate, he kept his shoulder tucked and elbow down at his side, and he was gliding – not skating or charging. It’s rare for me to disagree with Doug Wilson on hockey issues, but on this hit, I am. I’ve watched various angles of the hit multiple times. I see a different hit than Wilson does. What I see is Torres gliding in for a hit and making shoulder to head contact with Stoll. Wilson is correct that Torres didn’t leave his feet or elevate in the hit, which is why Torres isn’t suspended for a dozen games. But it’s clear from a couple of angles that Torres was watching Stoll as he skated in, had the time and ability to shift the hit away from his head, and didn’t. To blame Stoll for putting his head in the way of that hit is a GM defending his player, and more power to Wilson for doing so.  But it’s wrong. Shanahan’s right. My prediction on twitter a couple of days ago was three...

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2013 playoffs, round 2

Round 1 is done, round 2 is starting up, and so far, it’s been one heck of a fun playoffs to watch. The sharks made it through to the 2nd round. The Leafs almost took out the Bruins. Washington is done. All four of the second round series look to be great ones and tough to call. No slackers here.  But before I predict the second round, some housekeeping. How did my predictions in the first round turn out? In the east I picked: Pens over Islanders, Montreal over Ottawa. Rangers over Capitals and Toronto over Boston. Reality: Pens (but New York scared the hell out of them. well done!); Ottawa, Rangers and Boston.  two out of four. I was right in predicting Toronto/Boston to be a coin flip, though. That was a hell of a series. Both the Islanders and the Leafs can feel proud at how well they did and hopefully build on this, although the Toronto loss could be crushing. Hope not. The Capitals look tired, and as a franchise, this current mix of players is fading. their window has closed. Montreal could have won that series, but congrats to the Sens for not letting them.  In the east I picked: Chicago over Minnesota, Anaheim over Detroit, LA over St. Louis.  and San Jose over Vancouver.  In reality: Chicago was never really challenged, but that’s been...

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2013 playoff predictions

I’m a day late, but what the heck,this season was whacked by the lockout so who really cares if I’m making the predictions after a couple of playoff games have been decided. Please do not use these predictions to lose money with any wager — I’m sure not. But it’s a tradition. Every year I make my playoff predictions, and later this summer, you can all laugh at me when they prove mostly wrong. In a good year I seem to get about half right. Such is life… That’s why I’m not a famous hockey pundit…. Eastern Conference Islanders vs. Penguins. Well obviously, it’s the Island… Okay, I can’t say that a straight face. But I do want to recognize the Islanders (and Evgeny Nabokov) for making the playoffs when nobody, not even the Islanders, expected that to happen. Well done. But the Penguins will keep this playoff run short on the Island this year. Pens in 4. Senators vs. Canadiens. I have a fondness for the Senators, but this year, I think I have to pick Montreal. Probably in six. And it would be really cool if Montreal and Toronto were to meet, although I think the Mayans have a prediction that if that were to happen the sun would go nova. I’m willing to risk that. Rangers vs. Capitals: I have a fondness for the Capitals, but...

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