Thursday, April 29, 2010

Round 2 Stanley Cup Predictions (2010)

After Round 1 is anyone even putting thoughts into this or are they just throwing darts at the remaining jerseys and whoever they hit, that's the team they say will advance? It wouldn't be the worst strategy. I'm going with a little of my gut/heart and a little of my head for Round 2.

Will it be as unpredictible as Round 1? As devastating to hockey pools? Here's my predictions.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Montreal Canadiens
I was born and raised in Montreal. As I type this I am wearing my Habs jersey purchased in 1986, still bearing #44 Stephane Richer on the back. And I have to admit, I let my rational brain rule my pick in Round 1 when I said the Canadiens would be gone in 4. It was what EVERYONE said. But this time - I'm not letting rational thought enter my head. I'm going on guts and glory and history and my belief that I am watching a legend being born (Halak). I love Sidney Crosby (in ways that should be illegal because of our age difference) and I consider him the number 1 best player in the game of hockey, ever. But I think his team is tired. And I think Marc Andre Fluerry is only a good goalie, not a legend like Halak. I also want Sid to know that when this prediction comes true he can cry on my shoulder.... or any other part of my body for that matter.
Puck Bunny Prediction: Canadiens claim it in 7.

Boston Bruins vs Philidelphia Flyers
I knew Boston would make it. They were the fluke I bet on. I did not think Flyers would. So for this one... I have to go with my original dark horse. I think the Flyers are lucky Martin Brodeur was on the downhill side of his career. I don't think Tim Thomas or Rask or on their way down. Plus the Flyers have had the longest time off between rounds and I think it will do a little damage to the fire they had burning. A long break between rounds is usually not beneficial to a team's momentum.
Puck Bunny Prediction: Bruins take it in 5.

Chicago BlackHawks vs Vancouver Canucks
On this one, I'm going to let my heart and my head rule equally - because for once they both have the same thought. Vancouver will win this. It will be bloody and brutual and a gladiator-style fight to elimination, but the Canucks will be left standing. Vancouver will have to win a lot of road games in this, but that ridiculous Olympic road trip was good training. And Chicago will most likely be cocky - going on what worked last year. But Luongo learns from his mistakes. And the Sedins aren't in a coma-nap like last year. And Samuelsson is on fire. And Princess Kesler would probably rather throw his tiara under a bus than let Ladd advance.
Puck Bunny Prediction: Canucks win it in 6.

San Jose Sharks vs Detroit Red Wings
One day off for a bunch of vetrans (aka old dudes) after a grueling 7 game series involving a massive time zone change.... that's going to take it's toll. And to start another series with the same time zone challenges and another young, strong bunch of competitors.... that should be the end of the Octopuses. But it won't be. I hate to say it because other than Todd Bertuzzi, I hate Detroit. I think they play thug hockey - pushy, cheap, and sometimes even dirty. But I also think San Jose doesn't have enough power, emotional cohesiveness or stamina to take on this aged giant. Already Thornton has melted down, Heatly is (rumored to still be) injured and so what else have they got? I really hope I'm wrong but...
Puck Bunny Prediction: Red Wings in 6.

Am I crazy? Do you have predictions of your own? Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Round 1 Recap

At the end of every round I'll do a Bests & Worsts type of thing. Ready.... set.... go...

Best Series
This could also be called Biggest Upset and Most Tencious Team or Biggest Tank. There is not one sane hockey fan that would give Best Series to anyone other than The Montreal Canadiens and the Washington Capitals.
I don't know 1 single person, expert or otherwise that said Montreal would win a game. not a single game. CBC announcer Mike Milbury said that if Washington could sweep in 3, they would. I said they would be out in 4. But as soon as they won the first game - I changed my tune.
My fiance, who has been a Habs fan since birth - literally birth - gave up when they fell behind 3 to 1. But I didn't. I knew after that first win they could take this to game 7. But nobody - not even me and all my French Canadian blind faith - thought they would WIN in 7. And what a spectacular last game. It was an edge-of-your-seat, nailbiter right till the end!

Best Kept Secret
Steve Bernier - where the hell have you been all season?! Bernier stepped up his game in the playoffs and became a point earner, which the Canucks definitely need going in against Chicago now. Especially if Alex Burrows doesn't find his legs... err shots... now that he's off the Sedins' line.

Best Comeback
A year ago, while playing for the Vancouver Canucks, Taylor Pyatt earned the nickname Taylor Pylon. Well, at least the male fans called him that. The female ones just stared into his pretty blue eyes and didn't care what his name was. Taylor was a slow, sluggish and couldn't make a play or get a point. But when he left Vancouver, he left the Pylon behind. In Phoenix Pyatt was a faster, smarter player who could score. When you look at his performance this time last year versus this year - Pyatt is the comeback kid.

Best Goalie
All hail Saint-Halak! Let's face it every goalie had some stellar and devastating games (well, except Brodeur who had one decent moment and the rest was epic fail). But Halak kept the Canadiens alive - the 19th placed team - against Ovechkin, Semin and the rest of the 1st place team in the league. In the last 3 games of the Washington-Montreal series, Halak stopped 131 of 134 shots! And Semin, a scoring machine, did not get one goal on Jaroslav Halak even though he took over 30 good shots.

Worst Reffing Calls
There are 3 here that deserve mention;
3) the disallowed goal in the Vancouver-Los Angeles series where Daniel Sedin was accused of kicking it in. There was 0 kicking motion.
2) The penalty against a Coyote after Holmstrom grabbed the Phoenix player and pulled him down on top of him. Also, NOT calling Zetterberg "accidentally" knocking the net off to keep Phoenix from scoring.
1) Not kicking Marion Hossa out of the game after his boarding/hit from behind on a Nashville Predator. RIDICULOUS. He was totally channeling Ovechkin who had not only got kicked from a regular season game but also a 2 game suspension. Hossa should have been booted - and because he wasn't he went on to score and dash Nashville's hopes unfairly.

Best Reffing Calls
Disallowing the Ovechkin goal in game 7 against the Canadiens.
Disallowing the Canadiens goal in game 7 against the Capitals.
Both of these were clearly goalie interference but it takes a good eye to catch it and balls to call it in a game 7 game.

Worst Playoff Beards
It pains me to say this because everything else about him (his looks, his attitude, his game) is perfect but... Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby. Also Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane. It's Crosby's third playoff run and after 6 games he still has less hair on his face than a hippie's armpit. Kane's hair growth is even more pathetic resembling that of a 12 year old boy. The difference is that everything about Patrick Kane - his weight, his face, his emotional state (if you ask cab drivers, anyway) - resembles a 12 year-old boy so at least he's consistent. Crosby. on the other hand, has manly looks, body, attitude but not facial hair.
Best Playoff Beards
Another tie - this time between Vancouver Canucks Kevin Bieksa and Montreal Canadiens' Brian Gionta. Bieksa's is the perfect amount of growth for a Round 1 beard. On top of that it's well groomed and evenly distributed. Not to mention it only draws more attention to his pretty blue eyes and full lips (are any dudes still reading this...? Whatever. I don't care).
Brian Gionta is used to facial hair, having a form of it through most of the regular season. But he, just like Kevin, has managed to keep the playoff beard nicely groomed and it gives him a rough but sexy look. Good job Gionta!
Scariest Playoff Beard
The only thing I like about the Detroit Red Wings is Todd Bertuzzi. I don't want the Wings to make it past the Sharks but if they do make it to the Stanley Cup final Todd Bertuzzi may have to watch from the bench. It would be hard to play with a playoff beard tangled in your skate blades. Seriously - Todd grew a Grizzly Adams-worthy beard about 15 hours after they snagged a playoff spot. It's crazy. Someone needs to get Bertuzzi a grooming kit stat!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Round 1 Playoffs Predictions

Well, I was waiting until it was final and now it is. Some fans have a lot to be thankful for - I'm looking at you Vancouver. Others should be crying in their poutine.

Here's my 2010 Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions!

Washington Capitals vs Montreal Canadiens
I hope that Gionta, Gomez and Price have already booked their tee times. There is absolutely no way that Montreal will win this series. And it pains me to say it. I'm a Montreal girl and a Habs fan by birth. I still wear my Stephane Richer jersey when they play the Canucks. But this year's team is no 80s powerhouse. They're rebuilding, in my opinion. A few more years and they'll be a contender, but they aren't ready for the Capitals now.

Let's face it, this Montreal Canadiens team doesn't even deserve to be here. They needed 1 wee little point and they tried their darndest not to get it. At least it felt that way didn't it? I hate Ovechkin and would love to see him shit the bed on this (like he did in the little thing known as the Olympics) but the entire team would have to take a coma-nap and that's not going to happen.
Puck Bunny prediction: Capitals sweep in 4 straight games.

New Jersey Devils vs Philadelphia Flyers
This one is not going to be a blow-out - although it should be. Devils should steam roll over the the Flyers who barely made it in to begin with. But here's the difference between Flyers and say the Habs... the Habs were actually as high as 6th at one point and slipped to 8th. The Flyers battled til the end just to make it at all. The game against the New York Rangers for the last playoff spot was a barn burner! Another thing going for the Flyers is that, sadly, Devils icon Martin Brodeur has proven he's at the end of his glory days (cough-olympics-cough) so the Flyers will be able to get somewhere. Flyers want it and they have the fire. It won't be enough but it will be a better series than Montreal-Washington.
Puck Bunny prediction: Devils win it in 6 games.

Buffalo Sabres vs Boston Bruins
Am I the only Canadian who still has nightmares about Ryan Miller? Didn't think so. But I also fell a little in love with (and in awe of) Tim Thomas as he denied Ovechkin points in the final regular season game (and kept Ovie from winning the Rocket or the Art Ross trophies). These two teams have the best goaltenders in the playoffs. The key is that Boston has 2 of the best goalies in the playoffs and the Sabres only have one. Both Rask and Thomas can handle the Sabres offence. That's what it comes down to. Standings would indicate that the Sabres were better but... I honestly think the Bruins have what it takes for an upset.
Puck Bunny prediction: Bruins take it in 7

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators
Crosby. It's always going to be Crosby for me. This pick has little to do with stats and much to do with the fact that I think he's the most adorable, sexy, cute, talented boy that ever wore skates. I know - because I hear the voices of more rationale people around me - that the Penguins are struggling this year. That they're not where they need to be. But hello, it's the Senators. Struggle is the Sens' middle name. And they don't have one player that's nearly as hot as Crosby. And when I say "hot" I'm not just talking about his bubble butt and beautiful lips. Sidney scored the shoot out goal against the Swiss, the Gold Medal winning goal in the Olympics and jumped from 49 to 51 goals in his last regular season game to steal the Rocket from Ovechkin. Crosby is a hot player and when the pressure is on, he gets it done.
Puck Bunny prediction: Penguins take it in 5.

San Jose Sharks vs Colorado Avalanche
I want to say that the Avs will upset and take this series. I want to say that Dany Heatley (the Murderer) and the rest of the Sharks (who acted like absolute idiots in the last game they played against the Canucks) will lose - and we all know they have done it before. But I think - unfortunately - they will make it past Colorado. They HAVE to have learned from their mistakes (AKA the last two playoff runs). Plus Dany Heatley is way better at decisions on the ice than he is at deicisions behind the wheel. Add to that the Team Canada brilliance that is Marleau and Thornton and Team USA's Pavelski. These boys now know how to win. Nabokov is having one of his better seasons, although he can meltdown. Nabokov's ability to turtle and the Sharks ability to take really stupid penalties, is the only thing that will keep it interesting.
Puck Bunny prediction: Sharks win it in 6.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Nashville Predators
The Blackhawks have been very consistent this season. They're in it to win it. And quite honestly if they don't they have their goalie issues to blame. But that should hold out long enough to get them past the first round. What will keep it interesting and close (possibly) is Pekka Rinne, the Preds goalie. Rinne a much better goalie than the Hawk's Huet or Niemi but not good enough to hold off Kane and Toews for an entire round.
Puck Bunny prediction: Hawks take it in 5.

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings
Do you even have to ask? Vancouver will win this. And I'm not just saying that as a diehard fan who can't see the truth. I get that the Kings Drew Doughty is a force to be reckoned with. I know Captain Dustin Brown can score. And yes I get that Quick was on his game... most of the season. But this is the playoffs. And Quick hasn't been so quick lately. As a realistic Canucks fan I know they consistently and completely fall asleep in the playoffs. But this year, they decided to fall asleep early... like the last time they played the Kings.. and they've woken up.
The Canucks have never had a season like this - where no matter what they get thrown they come back. I thought the billion week Olympic road trip would kill them, but it didn't. I thought Vingeault would once again coach them into offensive oblivion, but he hasn't.... yet. I thought that Princess Kesler might dissolve into a puddle of tears after losing the Gold to his Captain, but he didn't. They are not the Canucks of yesteryear. These guys can - and will - do it!
Puck Bunny prediction: Canucks win it in 5.

Phoenix Coyotes vs Detroit Red Wings
If this was an Underdog competition -- Phoenix would have already won. They finished the season in the playoffs - with home ice advantage over the Red Wings - Who the hell ever saw this coming? And they're brankrupt right? C'mon who needs the BlindSide? Hollywood needs to make this sports story! But Detroit isn't a one-dimensional Hollywood antgonist. They are, in large part, hockey vetrans who want it BAD. And to be honest I want Bertuzzi to get a Stanley cup and this is his best chance. But I think between Doan's leadership and Bryzgalov's goaltending, Phoenix will defeat Detroit. It won't be easy but the Coyotes have youth and passion and nothing to lose. Are you listening Hollywood?
Puck Bunny prediction: Phoenix takes it in 7.