Pic of the day: First Stanley cup. A pic of the Montreal Hockey club after winning the first ever Stanley cup in 1893.
Hmmm…. Deja Vu…
A few times a year I put on my prognosticators hat and try to figure out what will happen in the NHL playoffs before they actually happen. Silly me. Only occasionally do I get it right, and when I do it’s usually more about dumb luck than anything else, something I have in common with everyone else who does this crap.
Reading that statement, you might think that I either have no confidence in my picks and picking ability (which could be further implied by the title of my picks columns in general) or am jaded enough to not care. Not true. I have plenty of confidence in my picks, but confidence doesn’t make the picks right, any more than having an opinion about politics makes it automatically right just because you have it. I’m plenty confident, I just get it wrong a fair bit. Nothing to be ashamed of.
And while I’m jaded I care about my picks, even if they SUCK.
Even if they are amazingly wrong. Before I get to the second round crapfest, lets review what I picked in the first round and how that turned out.
My Eastern conference picks were sub-par, and that is being nice about it. The only pick that I nailed was my pick of the New York Rangers beating Ottawa in 7. And even there I was wrong. I said that Callahan and Gaborik would have to do well in order to not lose. Gaborik was a non factor throughout the series. I picked the Bruins to win in 5 games, and they lost in 7. I don’t think anyone foresaw Braden Holtby holding the B’s at bay, or the Bruins underachieving quite as much as they did. I had the Devils winning in 5. They won in 7 and the Panthers were much stronger against them than I gave them credit for, so I’m calling that a miss. And I picked the Penguins in 5. With the porous goal-tending the Pens put up, I could have beaten the Pens this series.
My Western conference picks were just as bad as my Eastern conference counterparts. I picked the Canucks in 7, and they lost in 5. Roberto Luongo sucked so hard that he didn’t see a second worth of time after he got his ass handed to him by the Kings the second time in a row. The only pick I got right was the Blues winning in 5, with the Blues holding the Sharks to 1 goal or less for 3 games. And I picked the Blackhawks in 5 and the Red Wings in 7. I’m not sure I could have gotten those picks more wrong.
2 of 8 on the picks. Wow. Those picks just plain Sucked. Out. Loud. Which brings us to the…
NEXT ROUND OF WILDLY INACCURATE NHL PICKS.
Eastern Conference picks:
1) New York Rangers vs. 7) Washington Capitals. The Capitals scored 16 goals against the Bruins. Most of the time the Caps had a very hard time scoring. The reason they won was Braden Holtby and the defense in front of him held down the Bruins, not their own offense. The Rangers won much the same way. It was King Henrik and the D in front that gave the Rangers the win vs. Ottawa, especially when the chips were down and they had to win 2 in a row, including game 6 on the road. All things here point to a low scoring long grind of a series. Sounds like more of the same for both teams. Home ice will be kingmaker here. Rangers in 7.
5) Philadelphia Flyers vs 6) New Jersey Devils. The Flyers scored at what could only be called an unprecedented pace. The Devils, like the Rangers, had to come back to win 2 in a row. I don’t know that the Flyers can keep up the offensive pace against the Devils. Claude Giroux and Danny Briere are good, but I don’t know that these two can continue at an over a point a night pace. I don’t see the Flyers being able to multiple players put up hat tricks on the same night against Marty Brodeur. Devils in 6.
Western Conference picks:
2) St. Louis Blues vs. 8) Los Angeles Kings. The Kings pulled off the upset on the ‘Nucks. The Blues are not the ‘Nucks. They have better goal-tending. They have a better defense. The Kings are not a joke though. They proved they have offense against Roberto Luongo and the two headed ‘Nucks goal tending tandem. And Jonathan Quick is one of the best goaltenders around, and proved it against the ‘Nucks. On top of that the Blues O is limited, half of their goal scoring in round one was from 2 people. That’s a problem the Kings’ll be able to exploit. Kings in 6.
3) Phoenix Coyotes vs. 4) Nashville Predators. Both teams played up to their opponents and beat them down. The Coyotes had a slight edge offensively, and the Preds had a slight goal-tending edge in round one (though the ‘Yotes had 1 shutout and the Preds none) These teams are nearly mirror-images of each other in a variety of ways, offensively and defensively. I’m leaning towards the better playoff offense here. Radim Vrbata needs to shine here for this pick to work though. He got shut down by the Hawks, and he needs to step up for the Coyotes to win in 7. Which they will.
That’s it from here, America. G’night.