I figure we’ve got plenty of time so I won’t talking about the Stupid F***ing Ice Bowl that’s being announced later today (typical NHL, so desperate to work Crosby in that they’re announcing an event featuring him [and Alex] the day before the Cup Finals are starting, which don’t include him. But I can’t be too made that the Caps are visitors because as everyone has been pointing out, the visitor goes to the Cup Finals. Fair trade off.), but I would like to present my worthless well thought out predictions. And I would like to talk about the in-studio guest NBC is hosting during the game tomorrow night.
First, the pick. This is hard for me. Everyone is picking Chicago. Chicago is so trendy and they’re so good and everyone just loves them and thinks that even if it takes six or seven games, they’ll win. First of all, I think the problem I have with Chicago is that while I like quite a few of their players on an individual basis (Toews is so good, and, I mean, I own a Toews shirt for a reason), when they’re assessed holistically they make me think of that stuck-up jock at high school who knows he’s all that and knows he’s talented and attractive and somewhat funny and just assumes that everyone will love him. I’m not saying they’re not a really good team, because they are. Don’t get me wrong, I realize they’re talented and they do have a really good chance of winning it all this year. But they’re the star quarterback, and that gets on my nerves a little.
Then there’s Philadelphia. Philadelphia has essentially flipped off the hockey community by winning the Eastern Conference because everyone figured they were done for back in December when they switched coaches and celebrated by getting spanked by the Capitals, specifically one Lars Nicklas Backstrom (10 YEARS!!!!). Then when they finally snuck into the playoffs, everyone wanted to play them because they knew it would be an easy win. I was included in that list as far as the Caps’ first round matchup was concerned. I didn’t want the Sabres to play them because I knew Richards would score at least 16 shorties during the series.
But I digress. All of a sudden the Flyers are playing for the Stanley Cup and aside from the part where they’re on like their eighteenth goalie, they look like the team everyone picked before the season started. I hate the Flyers with a passion, but they’ve got something good going too. And as much as I detest them, I honestly think they have a legitimate chance of winning. That’s why I have a problem just picking the Blackhawks in six, because I think if Philadelphia plays the way they have for the past few rounds I think they could actually win the Cup. And if that happened, I’d have to kill myself and then cancel my subscription to the Buffalo News.
So now I don’t know if I should just pick Chicago anyway, because their goalie isn’t so high risk in the “complete meltdown” category, or pick Philadelphia because I think they could do it and I wanted to be able to say I picked them. I feel like this is one of those things where you have to see how each team plays against each other but that’s a cop out.
I think I’m gonna go with the Flyers because of all of the above reasons and also because Hossa plays for Chicago. I may have made it this far without mentioning him and his curse, but it clearly plays some significance. Don’t ever piss off the hockey gods. So, yeah. Philadelphia. I’m certainly not rooting for them, I just think that they could actually do it. Dare to be different!
I’m going to need a long shower when this is all over with.
NBC must realize, however, how I feel about these teams, because they’ve added some intermission entertainment to the game tomorrow night. None other than Buffalo’s own Ryan Miller will be taking the stage with Pierre and Mike to wear one of his uber trendy suits, discuss the game, and hopefully diffuse the tension that will surely build between Pierre and Mike. Personally, I’d rather just see him in between benches instead, but I realize this won’t happen.
As I would just like to remind everyone, I have an amazingly excellent track record with my favorite players doing intermission reports on NBC.
I actually haven’t watched this interview in quite some time, so I had forgotten how magnificently awkward it was and how deep and insightful it got with the learning stuff. If Ryan Miller’s appearance is half as epic as this one, I will consider it to have been a success.
See, guys? NBC can get it right every once and a while!
In the East…..
First of all, I’ve been on the bandwagon since the beginning of round two, so there’s really no reason to stop now. Second of all, how can you possibly pick against them after the way they’ve played? Third of all, part of me desperately wants to see what the city would do if they make it to the Finals. I mean, they set cars on fire up there to celebrate wins.
(Fun activity I highly recommend: stopping whatever it is you’re doing and just saying to yourself several times, “They set cars on fire when they win. Actual cars.” You won’t be disappointed.)
In the West….
Chicago’s been on my bad list since the whole Hossa thing (poor, poor Nashville) but I haven’t picked San Jose in a series yet, dammit, and I won’t now.
Besides, every single person watching hockey at this point knows that Marian Hossa guarantees getting to the Finals then losing. I wouldn’t want to bet against history.
The second round is upon. Let’s see who’ll win, shall we?
They’re not getting eliminated any time soon and besides, they’re playing the Sharks. Those poor Sharks won’t know what hit them.
I’m really, really on the fence about this series. If Luongo plays really well and those creepy Sedins keep the offense going, I think the Canucks will win. But Chicago could win easily too.
1.) They have to win. Like, my sanity is riding on this.
2.) Holy crap, have you SEEN Halak? It’s crazy. I don’t know how he does it.
I really could not care less about this series. There’s no way I could be less disinterested. The only redeeming quality this series has is that it’s one giant middle finger to NBC. That being said, I feel like Boston might not have the upper hand. It’ll change if/when Savard comes back and Rask has to play really well, but I feel like the Flyers are trying to seek revenge on all of us for making fun of them.
Yesterday I inaccurately predicted what will happen in the first round out west. I hope I’m a little bit closer with my predictions in the east, since at least I see these teams on a more regular basis.
I certainly don’t think this will be some quick and easy series like some people do, but still. Even if the Caps don’t win the Cup this year they sure as heck better not get eliminated by Montreal. *scary eyes*
It sounds like they sucked against Philly this year, but let’s be realistic: WHO is currently the goalie for Philadelphia? I’m not even sure I know.
If I absolutely had to pick which team I hated more between Ottawa and Pittsburgh I think I’d have to say the Penguins, which means that by default they’ll win.
Okay, so here’s the deal: I’m picking Buffalo because I really want them to win (obviously). That being said, I’m really worried about them. Miller obviously can carry them, but can he carry them for a whole series? And I know regular season stats don’t count for anything and blah, blah, blah, but I really don’t like how things went against the Bruins. The Sabres are lucky Savard is out. I’m a little scared. I still don’t think I trust them 100%.
Now, everyone always talks about an East Coast Bias in this league….and I’m no exception to it! Keeping that in mind, I will proceed to pick the winners of the Western Conference first round series. They will all be wrong. I won’t say how many games because I’m always more wrong with those.
Because let’s face it, the Sharks are never getting out of the first round.
They’re a pretty darn good team from what I’ve seen, and besides, the team that will beat them is….
Phoenix, I’m really, really sorry. This sucks. You deserve so much better.
I’m basing this solely on Henrik Sedin. Like, that is the only thing affecting my choice. Whatever.
I’ll do the east later today/tomorrow. Because those predictions will be just as valuable as these!
Indulge me for a moment and allow me to be the 800th person to comment on how it seems like the season just started. I really can’t believe the playoffs are already here, but they are. Woo!!
The Sabres went out with a bang, pulling Lala who proceeded to crash into the ref and go right into the boards. That seems somehow fitting for what will most likely be his last game in Buffalo. Good luck, Patty. You always seemed like a nice guy.
Buffalo did, however, lose, which means they get Boston in the first round.
1.) This will most likely be the most boring series in the history of the world.
2.) I know that Boston hasn’t been too good this year but Raask has been playing really well and I am a little worried for Buffalo. Miller will be fine barring some sort of meltdown (please God, NO) but it seems like the Sabres just can’t seem to score against Boston. This could be problematic.
I’d like to think that the Sabres will win and I’m trying to be optimistic, but this is the Sabres. I think it really could go either way.
I’m totally over the whole Richard thing. For Alex to keep it that close while missing ten games is really impressive in and of itself. And the season for the team was so magical that it really just would have been extra frosting on the cake, and even I, the frosting queen, know there is such a thing as too much frosting.
The Capitals will be playing the Canadiens in the first round. Montreal has had a few really good stretches this season and Halak had been awesome and I seem to recall Theo having a meltdown in that one came up in Montreal, but I feel like the Caps should be able to get this one done.
Ottawa is playing Pittsburgh, which is convenient because that means one will go home. I can’t decide which team I hate more but I feel like it would be better if the Pens got knocked out first. Thomas Vanek OWNS the Sens now!! The Sabres can beat them!! Their mindtricks will work no more!
I have faith that San Jose will perform their annual chokejob, and I feel really bad that Phoenix has to play Detroit. If they beat the Wings then they truly are blessed.
Watch out, Pittsburgh. We’re coming for blood.
(Also, Michael, get your act together; Sasha, for the love of vodka, don’t get hurt; David, I love you unconditionally and can’t wait to see you win EVERY SINGLE FACEOFF you take; Lars, y’all gonna be crazy good this year; Varly, I have faith that you’ll be the starting goalie; Mike Knuble, I’m counting on you to make the top line [Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble] the most insane line evah; the defense, collectively, please play a teeny tiny bit better [read: learn how to play defense]; Alex, score 60 goals, repeat with the Hart and Maurice Richard trophies, and steal that Art Ross away from Geno.)
Let’s go Caps!
So. The time has come to prepare a post previewing the Sabres. Where to begin? The Sabres were a mess last season, to be perfectly honest. Playoffs two years in a row, then no playoffs two years in a row, then they beat the Red Wings and the Caps in the preseason. Yes, I know we lost Drury and Briere, but seriously, dudes? Get over it. They weren’t the only players on this team.
The thing with these Sabres is that I can never decide if any of them have individual talents, or games like that 10-2 win over Edmonton are just a complete fluke. Yes, Thomas Vanek is good at putting the puck in the net. Yes, Tim Connolly is fabulous when he’s not lying in a hospital bed in a full body cast. Ryan Miller is frustratingly inconsistent, but when he’s on, good grief, is he on. Patrick Kaleta isn’t half-bad at throwing hits. Sir Christopher has a bright future ahead of him.
But I’m not sure if these Sabres are good enough to take the next step. Yes, if Gomez hadn’t taken out Miller we probably would have made the playoffs. But after seeing how the other teams played in the postseason, there’s an excellent chance that the Sabres would have been slaughtered in the first round. It would have painful, and it would have been ugly.
Darcy promised big changes this summer, so he let my Caveman go and signed Steve Montador in his place, and he brought back Mike Grier. Woo. Way to go, Darcy. Grier will (hopefully) be able to keep the whiny brats on this team in line, but that’s about it. He also signed about 27 enforcers and “gritty” players, so, you know, watch out, league. (I actually have a theory that Darcy watched Slapshot one too many times before free agency started and he wanted to be like the Chiefs and just beat up every team. If it’s old time hockey we’re going to be putting up with, I at least want a Killer.)
One thing Darcy didn’t do that we were all expecting was dump some of our dead weight. Yes, Max is gone, but we still have Hank and Jochen. Man, did those two frustrate me last season.
You know who else frustrated me? Jason Pominville. Jason effing Pominville. He was all cute and adorable and point-producing two years ago and then last season he completely sucked. It was awful.
Thomas Vanek was on track for fifty goals last season (remember when I was all freaked out that he would score more goals than Alex? Heh.) and then he broke his jaw. He’s definitely our best goal-scorer and I’d appreciate it if he could keep that up this year. I’m also counting on Derek Roy to be our best point-producer. Come on, Royzie. Do it for Kyle.
I’d really like some of the Portland kids to get a chance up here, but I’m not sure if that’ll happen or not since we don’t exactly have loads of roster space to give away. Gerbe and Kennedy might be ready to make the jump, but it really depends on who plays well in training camp and who else undergoes surgery right before the start of the season. Adam Mair.
Another concern is the Olympic Break. Yes, it will give some of our guys a chance to rest up, but not Ryan Miller. It became rather apparent two seasons ago that our fragile little goalie can’t handle playing a long season. The Olympics are kind of intense, and they’re going to exhaust him if he ends up being named the starting goalie.
I’m not going to make any predictions about this team, because I honestly don’t know where they’ll end up in the conference. What I do know is that they really are quite similar to the team we saw last year, and that team didn’t do a whole heck of a lot. Out of the playoffs is out of the playoffs, no matter what place you’re in.
Just a few personal letters to some of the players:
You just keep doing what you’re doing.
We gave you that contract extension because we believed in you, but you were kind of awful last season. Let’s just put the past in the past and move on. You can play better than you did. I believe in you.
Keep the little bastards in line.
Dear Sir Christopher,
I decided to make you my project this year, which means I love you even more and pay extra special attention to you. Not that there’s any pressure, I promise. I thought you were chivalrous and great player last year, and with even more time to grow and develop, you’ll get even better. Good luck, my young knight. May the force be with you.
Don’t forget your toothbrush on the road trips, sweetie!
I thought about it, and I realized that I actually am leaning towards the Red Wings winning this series. Come on, guys. It’s the Red Wings. This series is by no means going to be a blow-out, but I think the Wings will come out alive. So, Detroit in seven. Partially because, as I said, this series will be wicked close. Partially because a seven-game series would work best with my schedule. Game Seven would be on a Friday and I’ll be able to pay close attention to it. Five games would work too, but a six-game series would be awful. If that were the case I might have to miss the last game.
Candy Corn Head is out again tonight, which worries me that his injury is quite serious. We can only hope that when he does return, it’s with oodles and oodles of goals. Please, Candy Corn Head. Your lack of scoring is killing me.
But first, a few things from the Caps’ locker clean out.
When they were interviewing Jose Theodore the goaltending position came up. Jose was pretty much, “I may have been benched from the second game of the playoffs on, but that #1 job is mine, bitch.” What he actually said when asked about Simeon is “Well, he’s the goalie of the future.”
Dear Hockey Gods,
If you provide us with a major bitch fight between Simeon Varlamov and Jose Theodore during training camp next year, I will never say anything against you ever again.
Alex was wearing the same shirt he wore in Beijing last summer. It says Sochi 2014. I stared at it or a good five minutes before I realized where I had seen it before, and then I hurried to check my archives. Don’t judge me. I have a freaky memory when it comes to clothes. I could probably tell you what you were wearing last time I saw you (if I’ve ever hung out with you before). It’s weird.
And he’s leaving for Moscow tonight?!? SOB! I’m so sad that he’s not going to be on this continent. Can they make him come back and do another intermission report during the Stanley Cup Finals? That was horrific awesome. Why do I love European players so much? They only leave me for Europe in the summer, and I am left alone in this country. What does Russia have that we don’t?
I appreciate your decision to not go to Turkey since it’s “bad for you.” Heh. We wouldn’t want you getting into any trouble.
Dear Sergei Fedorov,
As you’ve stated your desire to play next yera, and the entire Washington Capitals organization seems to have a massive man crush on you, you’ll totally come back next year, right??
Okay, on to the Game Sevens last night.
Detroit won – big surprise – and so did Carolina. Wow. I was definitely rooting for the Hurricanes, but I didn’t think they’d actually come out alive. Cam Ward is now undefeated in Game Sevens in his career. Nice stat, Mr. Ward.
As much as I’d like to think Carolina could beat Pittsburgh, I just don’t know. They’re going to have to be fantastic to beat the Pens.
I really want the Detroit/Chicago series to be like one long string of Winter Classics. That game was highly enjoyable, and I’m hoping for an exciting series.
My picks for the Stanley Cup Finals are….drum roll…Detroit and Pittsburgh. Rematch of last year. I just don’t see anyone beating Detroit, and I think Pittsburgh will come out alive in their series, unless Eric Staal manages to score in four straight games.
Dear Detroit Red Wings,
If you beat Pittsburgh for the second year in a row to win the Stanley Cup, I will love you forever. This is not an exaggeration.