Tuesday, April 14, 2015

East Rising

 For the first time in a long time, maybe 2009, maybe even longer than that I look at the eastern conference and think that one of these teams could actually win this thing fair and square. I mean sure in the past there was always a shot, anything can happen in seven games, but for the past while it has been a case of five or six or more teams coming out of the West being better than anyone the east could send out there with maybe a lone exception.

The collapse of San Jose and the bad luck of LA (if they go 500 in OT/shootouts the rest of the league is shitting its' collective cooperalls) and the apparent slide of Chicago have contributed to thsisparity. The big boys have come back to the pack, at least for a season, but as a whole the west is weaker. The two worst teams in the playoffs are in the west and while I rate the Rangers and Lightning as best in the east there are other teams on their heels. The east, for one year at least, looks legit.

 Like the west the east is a gong show this spring. I am always confident of picking five or more series correctly and I think maybe once I went 4-4. If I went 0 and 8 this round I would not be surprised. Unreal.

Rangers/Pens

 I haven't liked the Pens in years. Every spring columnists fall over themselves proclaiming them to at least win the East, every year since 2009 their goaltending and shoddy D and lack of depth up front does them in. Truth be told the only reason Crosby and Malkin have a Cup is because the Wings were wracked by injury and had Chris Osgood in net. This season their underlying numbers are good but their D is a disaster thanks to injury and Fleury is still the man between the pipes. If I had a dollar for every time that grinning buck toothed bastard cost me a pool I'd have a few dollars.

 The Rangers have eight players with over 45 points which basically makes them the 1977 Habs in this league. They have a deep quality D, speed and depth and one of the few reliable proven goalies in the league.

 Rangers in 5

Islanders/Caps

 For me the Caps are just in that group below the big boys. I like them a lot. I like the Islanders too for that matter. Both teams have a ton of depth up front. I like their D as well. I have to give the Caps the slight edge because of Holtby and because I like Ovie and Backstrom a little more than Tavares and Okposo. This may be the best series in the first round though.

Caps in 7

Habs/Sens

 This one reminds me of Blues and the Wild a bit and I went with Minnesota there (which I am already regretting) so I think I need to go with the Sens here. As much as I expect Hammond to implode at some point the truth is the Sens have been lights out for months and they have some serious quality up front plus Karlsson. I don't like their D a ton but I don't really like the Habs, they have some great players but without Price they would be decidely below average. Adding Petry was a big get for them but with Pacioretty apparently hurt and Therrien being awful I think the Sens' roll continues. This will be a lot of fun I think and obviously there is no reason that Price can't win this on his own but I think the Habs have the odour of a first round exit around them. *sniffs air*

Sens in 7

Lightning/Wings

 The Lightning are stacked with kids eh? Unreal. They could be very good for years and Yzerman has done a terrific job. The deal for St. Louis. Wow.

 Listen, the Wings are always dangerous but their goaltending is a big question mark here and for that matter their D is iffy as well imo. They have quality up front but nothing compared to Tampa and Hedman and Stralman are fantastic on the back end for Tampa as well. Some injury issues on the blue for the Lightning will make this a bit closer but I can't see the Wings going anywhere, probably the weakest team in the eastern picture.

(By the way if you are ever down south go to a game in Tampa. Great atmosphere outside the arena pregame and in game presentation is very very good. Crowd is loud and smart and you're not getting bombarded by Tshirts and other white noise constantly. I prefer games there to anywhere else in the league, not that I am well travelled that way.)

Tampa in 6

2 comments:

Muji said...

A lot of likeable teams in the East.

You have the Sens, obviously.
The Lightning are an exciting young team built mostly through the draft and smart acquisitions.
There's the Islanders, also built through the draft and with players from other teams that didn't value them as much as they should have (Grabovski, Halak, Boychuk, etc.).
The Rangers have the most handsome man in the universe; I'm wet just thinking about him hoisting the cup
And of course you have the Capitals; how fantastic would it be to watch Ovie shut his critics (hi Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and anyone else who uses the term "enigmatic") up for good?

Black Dog said...

Would love to see Ovie win it all and think he has a decent shot to do so.