Wednesday, April 27, 2011

West, Round Two, and Thoughts On Round One

Four and Oh in my western predictions although before I crow I'll note that I may be an Ofer in the east, pending tonight's game sevens.

A tremendous first round, really terrific, other than the Wings sweeping Phoenix every series has had plenty of drama.

So to the conference semifinals in the Campbell.

Canucks v. Predators

Few series I have witnessed can match the drama of the Canucks/Hawks matchup that just finished. The defending champions coming off of a desultory year facing the Cup favourites, two teams with a history, one franchise that erased a long history of losing last spring facing a franchise that has only a history of losing.

Game seven showed me why the Canucks still should be considered favourites or at least co-favourites. They used their size and speed to absolutely shut down Chicago for the most part. The Hawks had little room to move and while a few spoke of Luongo being redeemed I honestly thought he had to make few difficult saves, although the one on Sharp in OT was brilliant. Amazing stuff. The Canucks deserved the win last night but were inches away from losing it. That's hockey, as they say.

And imagine the fallout if they had lost? No matter now, they are through and we will see if, as has happened in the past with other champions, they will look back at the close call as how they made their bones to start their run. Or perhaps, as Toews noted, they are not who everyone thinks they are and they will be exposed as such in the next round or two.

The Hawks will be back next year I suspect. They have a new wave of kids coming and a long summer to recuperate and I would guess that next fall they come out of the gate strong. In Crawford they look to have a solid number one goalie (imo he's a better goalie than Niemi), they have a nice top four on the back end and of course they still have quite a bit of strength up front. They will be back. Probably for years to come.

As for the Canucks I know that a lot of folks figure they are going down now based on this epic speed wobble but my only concern if I were a Canucks' fan is the lack of production from the Sedins. Kesler sawed off Toews and that was well and good but the twins' failure to slap around Bolland, Frolik (a very good player btw) and Travis Bickell, bothers me a bit. I don't think it will be a big deal this round but in the conference final it will be either the Wings or Sharks and both clubs are deep up front. The twins have to be better. If they are I think the Canucks remain the team to beat.

For the Canucks it has played out quite well though when it comes to their second round matchup. While the Sharks and Wings pound each other Vancouver gets Nashville. The Preds are a solid club and they beat the Ducks which I expected but I don't think they have the talent to take down the Canucks. Depth goes a long long way and the Canucks have a ton of it. Rinne will make it difficult and it will be no walkover at all but I say Canucks in six.


Wings v. Sharks

Detroit looked like the class of the league in round one as they swept the Coyotes out of the playoffs and perhaps out of existence. And they did so without Zetterberg.

Pretty scary but not surprising. This is a club that would have won two straight cups prior to last year if it were not for injuries hobbling Datsyuk, Lidstrom and Hossa in 2009. They still came within a break or two of beating the Pens despite that.

They are deep and they are led by probably the best player in the game right now in Pavel Datsyuk. In San Jose they face a club that swept them aside last season, a four game blanking that was a lot closer than the scoreline.

San Jose did not impress in the first round but of course they rarely do come the spring. Facing a Kings' team whose number one centre was Jarret Stoll the Sharks needed three overtime victories, including one that finished off an epic collapse, to ease by LA. And Detroit is not LA.

Never mind the Sharks' history which everyone focuses on and surely will again if they fall short this round. Their goaltending is shaky, their D does not inspire confidence and too many of their forwards don't seem to score enough when faced with quality teams and tighter checking.

Wings in six but I can see it going even less.


Woodguy said...

In Crawford they look to have a solid number one goalie (imo he's a better goalie than Niemi)

A couple of us kicked around the idea of offer sheeting Crawford in a thread at LT's today.

CHI is still in cap hell.

They are at $51MM with 8 Forwards, 6 Dmen (one is John Scott) and 0 Goalies signed for next year.

Cap is probably about $61.5MM, so that's roughly $10MM to sign 9 players, and Frolik and Crawford are the 2 best RFA's they have.

I think both players are fine players and I'd offer sheet them both. Crawford for about $3MM and Frolik at just under $3MM.

You'd only lose a 1 2nd rounder at those prices.

Not sure if you can sheet 2 guys at once, will have to figure that out.

You'd probably get one, maybe both if you can do both.

Crawford ran a .917 this year. Not shabby at all. While a rookie, he was a 2003 draft, so he's got some maturity.

Frolik was playing tougher minutes in FLA and looks to be a high quality 2 way guy. Shutting down the pisscutters with Bolland was beautiful.

Some will say there is no room on the roster for Frolik with all the good young forwards the Oilers have. Bullshit. You can never have enough good players.

As for Khabby in this scenario, fuck him. The Oilers can buyout and save some cash (but not cap hit), or have him work with Roy in the AHL, or he can go to Russia. It really doesn't matter. The Oilers have the cap room to do whatever with him.

Never happen. I don't v3.0 has it in him.

Woodguy said...

Wings in 6

I put a case of beer on SJS.

You down?

Woodguy said...

from the CBA 10.3 (d)(i):

A Club may have more than one Offer Sheet signed by a Restricted
Free Agent outstanding at any one time and from time to time, provided that it has the
available draft picks to satisfy its obligations pursuant to Section 10.4 with respect to all
Offer Sheets outstanding at the relevant time.

If my assumption that having 2 2nds in one year allows you to throw 2 offer sheets out that have a 2nd as compensation then trade Brule or Cogs for a 2012 2nd then offer sheet both Crawford and Frolik.

hunter1909 said...

Vancouver, Capitals, Wings, and Philadelphia.

I picked the Nucks to win the series, but was cheering for the Hawks as soon as they started beating them. A 4-0 sweep - turned into a 7 game OT win is going to seriously dampen their sails - so now I have doubts whether or not this team is the WC fave I thought they were.

As an Oilers fan I tend to enjoy watching teams lose more than seeing them win. Bruins and Nucks losing would have cheered me up far more.

RE Oilers: I never would have thought the Lowe/Tambo dream team(sic) would have the nerve to tank three years running , but if they got to Nugent then stick him back in juniors I reckon that's the plan.

Well, as much as I hate seeing the Oilers lately, it's proably the very best strategy - take another seriously crappy season and collect that primo draft pick to stick next to the others.

Black Dog said...

hunter - yeah those are my choices too

I don't have the hate on for the Canucks that many Oiler fans do although I too was hoping for the Hawks to come all the way back. But for my pools' sake I'm glad the Canucks won.

Woodguy - yeah Crawford or Frolik would be great additions, both are young but Frolik is already a player and Crawford looks like the real deal.

Woodguy said...

tank three years running , but if they got to Nugent then stick him back in juniors I reckon that's the plan.

I think sticking RNH back into the CHL would actually show maturity (management) and a commitment to long term winning rather than "LOOK AT OUR SHINY NEW PIECE WHO HAS NO CHANCE OF COMPETING AT THE NHL LEVEL YET, BUT HE'S HERE SO LOOK AT HIM!!!"

Swabbubba said...

The Canucks screwed my pool as I was picking Chicago as Cinderella run. That is missing unless the Bolts fit that description?

The thing I guess I don't get is some of the comments from the Nucks after the game. Or the entire over the top for a round 1 victory.
I guess not being used to winning makes you a ungracious winner. I would like to see the Preds sneak by them but like I said my pool is dead.

Liam said...

I seem to recall reading that when tendering an offer sheet you must use your own draft picks as compensation, rather than those acquired from other teams. That would impose restrictions on how many offer sheets you can submit at once (unless I am just out to lunch).

Woodguy said...

Yeah, looks like I'm wrong there, you need your own picks.

I still sheet one of them.