Thursday, April 30, 2015
So the first round wasn't a complete bust for me, I went five and three, let down by the Jets, the Sens and the Canucks. Way to go jerks. So all time 58 and 22 in the first round, not bad.
On to round two where I am eighteen and eighteen since I started doing these things. I tend to go with hunches here and this has forever been my downfall and so I am going to go with head rather than heart this time around except for maybe one series cause I'm a dummy!
First though a couple of thoughts on the first round which was pretty meh if you ask me. A couple of series over quickly and not a lot of drama in a lot of others. Few overtimes and few goals and a couple of series devolving to dead puck garbage with skilled players hogtied, the only penalties called for the most part being the puck over the glass (which I don't mind, honestly, back in the day there was an endless stream of pucks fired into the crowd to relieve pressure), two many men and even once, a faceoff violation. So the NHL is basically the petty bureaucrat who fines you because even though your paperwork is entirely in order, an 'i' is not dotted, meanwhile your suitcase is full of heroin and rare spiders and prostitutes. Gary Bettman has one job and that is to make the owners as much money as possible and he is good at that and really nothing else. What an absolute failure he is, a smarmy puppet with a tin ear and really if you get down to it if his job is to make the owners as much money as possible, to maximize profit for this collection of shameless grifters, he is a failure at that, his attachment to the money pit in Glendale being example one. So it goes though.
As soon as McDavid came up copper and blue the call went out on the interwebs to trade Hall, trade Ted, trade them all!!!!! I exaggerate slightly and let's get one thing straight, anybody can be traded, absolutely, but you don't trade Hall or Ted or Eberle for anything less than young top pairing D who are established and under team control for years. No trades for pending UFAs like that quack from Boston suggested. No second pairing D. No goalies holy christ unless his name is Carey Price. No once wases or may be somedays. If you are going to trade quality young talent you need the real deal coming back, no ifs or maybes or gambles.
The Oilers need D and what they need is Chiarelli to pull a Garth Snow and poach guys from teams in cap trouble, of which there are many. Is it easy? No. Can it be done without selling the farm? Absolutely. Do you remember who Snow traded to get Boychuk and Leddy? Of course not because the price was minimal.
As for goaltending if anything these playoffs have proven what we have known all along, there is a glut of goaltending out there and there is no need to pay a premium for it unless you're a dummy. Other than Price and Lundqvist who amongst the remaining guys would you consider elite? None, that's who. You have a few inexperienced up and comers in Anderson, Bishop and Holtby, a solid old hand in Hiller, a guy who was out of the league a year ago in Dubnyk and a guy who was benched, deservedly so, for part of the first round. Goalies are voodoo. Don't overpay.
Anyhow on to the picks!!!
Anaheim v Calgary
We'll start with the one gimme. The Falmes took out the fading Canucks in a series highlighted by Bob 'Artley's old school goonery lol, what a throwback. They keep on trucking these Falmes and certainly they've proven a lot of naysayers wrong although let's be clear their first round matchup wasn't really battle of the titans yeah? Meanwhile the Ducks had the closest sweep you will ever see, breaking a battered Jets' team's hearts time and time again. Some ascribe the Ducks' late game success to clutchiness and character and while there is a lot to be said about a team's low panic threshold in those situations, it does count, a lot more might be said about the Jets' poor defensive zone coverage. Pavelec is Pavelec but when guys are getting uncovered one timers from the slot I don't think you can blame the goaltending or wax erotic about the leadership qualities on the Ducks. PICK UP YOUR MAN!
The Falmes have some nice pieces, starting with a real live top pairing D and some great kids and it will be interesting to see if they sell some guys high this summer or, like the Avs, double down on what was a lot of luck. (Don't get me wrong, fair play to them for making the playoffs and winning a round and smart moves this summer could build on this. Also spare me the 'analytics don't matter' on the one season in hundreds that beats the house, think man think!).
The Ducks, however, may not be the team to beat out west (I think it is whoever wins the Central) but they are big and fast and skilled and deep and anyone who watched their series or those in the central would be in cloud cuckoo land to believe that the Falmes or for that matter anyone out east can keep up with the big boys. Maybe the east will challenge, the Falmes will not. Ducks in 5.
Chicago and Minnesota
Oh boy. This may be the Cup Final right here. Now my first instinct was that the Blues/Wild series was but the way Chicago did in a very good Preds team while their goalies took turns imploding makes me think that this may be similar to the 2010 club which was just too good for everyone else even with goaltending that could blow up now and then.
Now ... that said I look at the Wild and remember that they gave the Hawks fits last spring and that was with Bryz in net. They are fast as hell and there are times that the Hawks have looked vulnerable on the back end and Crawford has struggled and so a big big part of me thinks that the Wild may actually be the favourites.
OK I am going with Chicago although more than any series this may bite me in the ass. But Sharp and Oduya look like Sharp and Oduya again and while the Wild are a nice team they don't have Toews and Hossa and Kane and Keith, basically four future hall of famers who know that this may be their last shot for a while. The old gang is getting broken up this summer and you only need to look at the Pens to see how hard it is to win when you are paying two guys a shed load of your cap.And I think that while Dubie Dubie Doo had been awesome and I am very happy for him the Hawks are not the Blues. These guys can shoot the lights out.
Hawks in 7.
Rangers and Caps
I figured Rags and Tampa for the conference final and while New York New York were not that impressive in beating Sid, a hobbled Malkin and a D that included me, my 82 year old old man and the ghost of my dear departed dog, they are still going to beat the Caps imo. I like Washington and love Ovi but they barely beat an Isles team whose D was almost as thin as the Pens beyond their beauty first pair. The Rangers have the edge in goal and AV may be one of the top five coaches in the league and this team is, if anything, faster and deeper than last year's club. (!!) They're going to roll.
Rags in 6
Habs and Bolts
Montreal has the decided edge in net but that's about it and Therrien makes Randy Carlyle look like Toe Blake as he has shackled the skill the Habs have and has them playing a chip it off the glass style that is both dull and doomed to failure. Try and score one and hold on for dear life.
Ottawa gave them all they could handle and if they had gone with Anderson earlier they probably would have won it although that said I don't blame Cameron for riding Hammond. Buddy got them there and that's not just sentimentality (although I don't rate Hammond at all - he's an AHL goalie who got hot basically) - he was that good and after one bad game do you pull the plug on that? You may do so of course but I don't blame Cameron.
Anyhow Tampa remains a great bet here. Deep quality D led by Hedman and the probably no longer underrated Stralman. The Habs can't match it even with Petry killing it in support of Subban. And up front the Habs have some nice things but the Bolts beat Tampa with Stamkos not scoring a goal. That's not going to last GOOD CANADIAN BOY you can bet the house on that. That shrimp line us unreal and are going to eat Emelin, amongst others, alive.
Tampa in 6.
Posted by Black Dog at 3:14 PM