Thursday, April 30, 2009
Generally I lose interest in the playoffs as they march on, not sure why that is. The first round is always the best one for me usually, probably because you have some upsets (8 over 1 is a lot more exciting than 5 over 3 for example), they seem to be the most physical of series and the long march has not yet begun to take its toll. By the time the finals roll around its June and it all seems a bit anticlimactic.
This year though I am quite happy with what awaits us in round two. There is some serious quality out there and some really nice looking matchups. Throw in the fact that we have three original six clubs, the last three Cup champs, last year's runnerup, the Capitals and a pretty good looking Canucks' team and there is quite a bit of sizzle. And while I may be proven wrong, I don't see a huge gap between teams, which we often see in the second round. The Ducks are an eighth seed but they, like the Oilers in 2006, are better than that. I think the Caps and Canes may be a little bit below the Pens and Bruins in quality but not by much.
So here goes nothing, quick and dirty, just like Grabia likes it.
Clan Campbell Conference
Wings v. Ducks
Goaltending goaltending goaltending. The Ducks have it and a killer top line and enough experience and quality left over from their championship team to definitely pose a threat. Having said that the Sharks and Wings are two different animals and this year's Ducks' club is more like their 2006 club then the 2007 one that won it all. Not a lot of offence after their big line and while they're going to give the Wings a run the defending champions are way too deep.
Wings in six.
Canucks v. Hawks
A nice matchup here. The Canucks got some needed rest as they were pretty banged up after round one. The Hawks are a fun team to watch. I wonder if they regret giving all of that money to Campbell though. Good player but they're going to have to pay the three kids on the blue and they have a ton of money tied up in him. I think this one is as close to a pick 'em as you can get but I'm leaning towards the Canucks. They beat a very good Blues team and while they had some puck luck to sweep I think they were full value. The Hawks are sweet but they got some breaks facing a Flames team that was devastated by injuries. That happens but fact is if the Flames had won one or both of the first two games, which they could have, then they probably make it out of the first round.
Great goaltending for both clubs and the Canucks are going to have to grind out some goals but I think they take it and I will go with them in six, maybe even less.
Prince of Peace Conference
Bruins v. Canes
I think the Bruins are the team to beat in the East. Depth will do it everytime and they go three lines deep. I haven't seen much of the Canes but they did a nice number on the Devils. Hard to believe that Jokinen was unwanted and how would he look as a low cost alternative shootout specialist? And of course gutless Joni Pitkanen with the world class play on the tying goal in G7. Definitely a guy the Oilers wouldn't want though. Jerk.
(I didn't mind the trade so much actually, I just found it annoying how it got spun that the guy was a bad teammate, soft etc etc. I think he's a very good player who can help you win. Just my opinion, of course.)
Anyways Cam Ward is playing well for the second time in his career ;) but I think the Bruins are too much and take it in six, maybe even five.
Pens v. Caps
The sexy matchup but I think it actually won't be much of a contest. The Pens are a far better club than the Rangers and unlike NY I am sure they will actually test the rook goalie who doesn't speak English. It will be snarly and a lot of fun and the Pens will prevail in five. Anticlimactic.
Hmm, so there you go. I go on and on about how I think there are a lot of good clubs here and then predict short series all round.
Stupid dink, make up your mind.
Posted by Black Dog at 5:00 PM