Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Soupy Campbell - This Is It

You never know what is going to happen but I do think that this year's Cup champion will be from the West. Again. Indeed if it were not for the Wings being severely hobbled two years back (Lidstrom, Hossa, Datsyuk) we'd be looking at four straight years of western champions coming into this spring. I think we'll see the same again this year. The best team and perhaps the best three teams reside out that way.

Vancouver v Chicago

Chicago is dangerous and they are probably the best team outside of the top three in the west. Certainly not the ideal opponent for Vancouver, especially in the first round where often giants fall. Could Chicago win? Absolutely but I don't think its very likely. Besides the fact that their depth took a hit last summer, Dave Bolland is hurt and Duncan Keith never really seems to have found his game this season. He's still good but he has not been great.

This may actually be a boon to the Canucks. They will not take the Hawks lightly at all nor should they. Chicago has throw two superior lines out there, one with Toews and Hossa that can basically take it to anybody in the league, one with Sharp and Kane to kill the soft. Their top four is quality and Crawford is quite good.

But ... after those top four forwards are a bunch of kids who have not been able to find their way this season. The Hawks have been inconsistent from day one. And the Canucks are the best team in the league. By a lot. Best in goals for and goals against. Excellent special teams. Deep at every position.

I think the Canucks have a battle on their hands but superior depth nearly always wins out. Canucks in six.

San Jose v LA

The Kings were everyone's darling before the season began but they never really seemed to hit their stride. The biggest reason is it seems that Drew Doughty had an average season after being absolutely terrific last year. Without that dominant guy on the back end the Kings never really got it going. They picked up Dustin Penner at the deadline and he has done very little and of course the injuries to Williams and Kopitar have really hurt them. In fact its killed them. They're dangerous (everyone is dangerous) but they are having an awful time scoring goals and that will probably do them in. At which point Terry Murray will probably get canned.

San Jose has kind of snuck under the radar this season. They had a slow start but they turned it around and as usual they are a favourite and maybe one of these years they will get somewhere. Deep up front, not so much on the blue. They have enough to beat the Kings but not sure what follows for them.

Sharks in 6, just because they never get out of the first round without a fight.

Wings v Coyotes

The Wings are the Wings and the Yotes are the Yotes and while Detroit is going to need Henrik Z. if they plan on another Finals' appearance, Pavel Datsyuk is probably the best player in the league and this club is, again, deep everywhere except for in net where there may be an issue. Phoenix is a good solid club but I don't think a good solid club beats the Wings. Lidstrom is only going to be around for a while longer. Detroit is going to be ready and they're going to win a tough slog.

Wings in 6.

Ducks v Nashville

Somehow Anaheim went from being on the bubble to having home ice advantage. Crazy race this year.

Nashville always makes the playoffs and they always lose the first round. Last year they had it made, on a PP with seconds to go against Chicago and then Kane tied it up and then Hossa won it OT and they were down instead of up and that was all for them.

This year though, is their year. I think they may be a better club than the Ducks anyhow but Anaheim's netminding is a mess and I don't think Dan Ellis has what it takes to win a round.

Preds in 6.


Ribs said...

I'm taking Vancouver for the same reasons you have described. I do hope they lose terribly, though.

San Jose for the same reasons you have.

Detroit the same.

I'll take Anaheim vs. Nashville just because the Ducks forwards can really score when they need to and I think they can push through this round. I'm 51% confident in this choice.

Russ said...

I got VAN, SJ, DET, and ANA


We are definitely not on page overall, I got ANA and philly in the final, betting CFP returns in game 2 or 3 of the first round and they go on to dominate the east.
West I just can not imagine vanouver past the second round, so thats hopw I get where I get...
Ducks weakness could be a healthy goalie for sure...

Black Dog said...

Russ - I could see Philly making a run of CFP is healthy. If not they are screwed.

Anaheim isn't going anywhere with Dan Ellis in net unless the top three seeds get knocked off. Even then probably not. Just my opinion of course.

Ribs, yeah I'm about as sure when it comes to that 4/5 series. I can't ignore the goaltending though. And Weber and Suter will get the Perry line. I think they can stop them.

Swabbubba said...

I think Manny M missing from the line up is huge for the Nucks. I don't think they have a guy that can fill that role. Therefore I put this as a wash. 2nd with Torres missing for 1st two it makes them easier to play against.
So Chi in 6... I will be wrong so many time it is not even funny.

hunter1909 said...

I'm too lazy to post this anywhere so just for form I'll agree with everyone you have picked except the Ducks, who I pick to win the series.

Meanwhile I'm on this killer diet(I call it the Stalingrad Diet, since I'm eating roughly the same amount of calories as the surrounded "fortress" did lol).

It's working like a treat.

Ribs said...

I suspect we'll see more of Ray Emery than we do of Dan Ellis in the opening round.

Carlyle has said Emery is available for Game 1 but that Ellis will likely start.

Black Dog said...

Hunter - so you're eating your boots now? ;)

Ribs - I know Emery saved their bacon but is he much better? Of course its Ellis so I guess so. :)

Swabb - mass suicides on the left coast if that happens

Ribs said...

Hehe...We're about to see I guess. I'm sure he's a slight upgrade.

I have to type in "sendo" to post. Nice.

hunter1909 said...

The seige is only 9 days old, so no boots quite yet. We still expect either to break out or else wait for supplies to be flown in(of course this is impossible, a corollary of having a drug addict in charge of the air force).

hunter1909 said...

PS: This might seem a little late, but I picked the Caps/Habs(wtf they're the Bruins achilles heel)/Flyers and um...who's that other series again?

Black Dog said...

ummm, hmm


took me a while

too many teams

hunter1909 said...

I foolishly went for the Bolts on that one, lol.

Ribs said...

Eric Stephens tweet...

It looks like Ray Emery is indeed the Game 2 starter for the Ducks.

The lack of goals in these playoffs is killing my hockey pool. That and Ryan Miller. The bastard.

Black Dog said...

Yeah so far so shitty for me. Both pools I am in (a regular one and an 'under 50' one) I went Vancouver, Detroit, Boston basically

Bruins need to win.

As for Canucks and Wings so far so good, I have some lesser lights in later rounds with the idea that they will score a lot of points over a few rounds but of ocurse guys like Raymond and Burrows don't necessarily light it up game to game

So early. it will be interesting to see what G2 brings tonignt and tomorrow