Month: May 2014

2014 NHL Playoffs, round 3

Time for the conference finals, and time for me to sneak in my picks — as I write this the Rangers/Habs game has just dropped the puck. Summary so far: First round: 6-2, and my cup final picks made it through. Second round: 3-1, but my eastern pick to make the finals — Boston — goes down to Montreal. Boston was also my pick to win it all, so, oh well. Overall: 9-3, which is pretty good. Now we’re down to four teams and the conference finals. Winners of these series fight for the cup. My predictions: Eastern Conference: New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens — Price vs. Lundqvist. I’m trying to decide if the Canadiens were better than I thought or if they matched up well against the Bruins. However they did it, they deserved to win that series, and Price was a big part of it and seriously outplayed Rask. So we have two big stud goalies playing big stud hockey. There’s a lot of history in this series and a lot of people to root for. I think I’m going to take the “Martin St. Louis” factor of the Rangers playing to win for him and combined with Lundqvist, going to pick the Rangers in six. Western Conference: Los Angeles Kings vs. Chicago Blackhawks — the series of the recent Cup winners going head to head...

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So….. Now what?

The Sharks go up against the LA kings again in the first round of the playoffs, and once again lose and end their season too early. This time, however, they were up in the series 3-0, only to lose 4 straight. The fans are pissed. With good reason. The team is pissed. The coaches are pissed. The GM is pissed. The exit interviews are fascinating. What happened? What does the team do? What can it do? One thing is clear. Changes are coming. What are they? I don’t think anyone knows — although I’m sure Wilson has some ideas he’s not telling anyone yet. The problem is a tough one. The Sharks are (at least) a top six team in the league, and live in a division with three top-ten teams — the Kings and the Ducks. Two years in a row, the Kings have proven to be a better team than the Ducks. It’s not enough just to make changes; you need to improve the team. It’s a lot more likely that changes will make the team worse, not better; you can’t just rearrange the pieces and expect improvement.  Just ask any fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs, for instance. Or look at the Vancouver Canucks, a team that was close to the Sharks in talent who made changes to try to take that next step, and found...

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2014 NHL playoffs, round 2

Just a quick note to get my predictions in before too many games get played… Amazingly enough, I went 6-2 in the first round, missing Colorado and St. Louis. Congrats to the Minnesota Wild and Chicago Blackhawks for not caring what I think.  I will say this first round of hockey was, overall, some of the best and most entrancing hockey I’ve seen in however long I’ve been following hockey. When the Rangers/Flyers series is the series that keeps getting forgotten in the larger discussion going on, there’s some really good hockey happening. That series wasn’t a bad series, either, but was rather more like regular season hockey, somewhat grinding and not special. Notable in the series I got right — I picked the Kings, not the Sharks. And I wish I could say their win surprised me, but it didn’t. Quick outplayed Niemi, and the Kings outplayed the Sharks. As I said on Twitter after game 3, anyone who thought that series was over hadn’t been watching the Kings, and my gut told me after game 5 the series was over. It’s a little sad that two top-six teams in the league met in the first round and one went home, but that’s what happened here. That said, the Sharks don’t want to be a top six team, they want to be a top-2 team and a cup...

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