Thursday, April 24, 2008
Growing up I became a Chicago Blackhawks fan and then from there a fan of the Bears and the Cubs. So it worked out well that when I followed basketball for about a dozen years or so that Michael Jordan played for the Chicago club as well. Turns out that like many I was more of a Jordan fan then a basketball fan. When he left the scene the antics of guys like Iverson turned me off of the game pretty quickly. I can still tell you a little bit about what is going on but not much. When the Raptors lost badly to New Orleans in a game this winter I was stunned. I thought they were a bottom feeder. At the time they were actually first in the conference.
The GM of the Bulls during their glory years was a fat little man by the name of Jerry Krause. Krause hated dealing with the media - his favourite part of his job was scouting. His greatest coup, the one that made the dynasty, was finding Scottie Pippen in a little Arkansas college and drafting him. Pippen grew up dirt poor and was a pretty interesting person. He was a proud guy who at times had a prickly personality. He was known as No Tippen Pippen for his legendary cheapness. He also came up with one of the great lines, telling Karl Malone as the latter prepared to take a big foul shot in a Sunday matinee that "The mailman doesn't deliver on Sundays". He was also an amazing player in his own right. Without him the Bulls likely would not have won six titles in eight years, two sets of three sandwiching Jordan's first retirement.
Krause lived off the Pippen selection forever. I can't remember the exact details behind it but somehow he garnered the nickname "The Sleuth"; as a guy who loved scouting you can imagine what he thought of that nickname. The problem is that in following years Krause far too often tried to live up to that nickname, drafting unknowns, projects and longshots as he tried to prove his genius once again. When they tore apart the Bulls dynasty Krause figured he could build another one (he, like nearly everyone associated with the Bulls, was lumped in as a guy who would not have achieved what he did without Jordan) but he failed miserably. Years later they still wander the wilderness and Krause is long gone.
Michael Jordan's less flattering nickname for the rotund Krause was Crumbs due to the GM's tendency to leave bits of his meal laying about on his person.
Terry Jones' nickname is Mashed Potatoes, Stinky Cheese and Chocolate Pudding but I digress.
So here are my second round picks, keeping in mind that when it comes to this I quite often try too much to be like Jerry Krause and by ignoring what I know and what is smart, try to pick the longshot, in order to be able to say that I saw it coming. Or in the case of picking against the Ducks multiple times last season picking against a team because I don't like them.
6 and 2 in the first round, not too bad. Said at the time that I should have picked the Flyers and did not but an OT win in G7 is as close as it gets. As for Dallas beating the Ducks, other then Al Maki from the Globe who went eight and con first round, few saw that coming.
So here goes:
Penguins versus Rangers - Hard to say if Pittsburgh is that good or Ottawa that bad but their attack is certainly a lot better then what the Rangers faced against the Devils. The big question for the Pens is their goaltending of course and I think the Rangers are a damn good team. Wouldn't surprise me to see them win this one but having said that I think the Pens are too deep and have too many bigtime weapons. They bring cannons to a fistfight. Pens in 6.
Canadiens versus Flyers - Habs eked one out against the Bruins and it will be interesting to see if they learned anything from the experience.The Flyers can roll four alright lines and they have Patrick Thoresen, who has the heart of a lion, balls of steel and a sense of humour. I don't like the Flyers D much though and they sure had a tough time against a young Caps team that is not as deep as the Habs. Another tight one but in the end its Habs in six.
Sharks versus Stars - Sharks either look amazing or the shits and by my logic above the fact that they needed seven to beat a flawed Flames team should mean that they are going down, right? Naw. I think Dallas is a good team, for sure, but the Sharks aren't dummies like the Ducks and I don't see Dallas working the Sharks over like the Flames did. It won't be easy but Sharks in six.
Wings versus Avs - Here is where I'm going to outsmart myself and I already know it. I have a huge boner for the Avs and most of it is based on Smytty and so many old pros going for it one last time. Riversq made the point down below that the Wings secondary guys - Cleary, Franzen, Samuellson etc - are an excellent bunch, a whole lot better then a lot of name guys out there. He's absolutely right but I look at the Avs having four lines and a D where Hannan, Salei, Leopold and Liles are their bottom six and I look at Detroit's goaltending and I smile, give myself a stroke and say Avs in six.
Just call me Crumbs.
Posted by Black Dog at 1:30 PM