Wednesday, April 14, 2010

1st Round Predictions

I've learned from the past not to pick past the 1st round just for the simple reason that if you do fuck it up, which you're more than likely to do, everything gets screwed up in terms of seeding. So we'll try the chicken shit method that all the media uses picking round at a time, but don't think I didn't layout the whole tree already.

In the interest of time, I've also included my playoff pool player selections. For those of you who don't know, the playoff pool works like this...
1) One player must be selected from each playoff team. Two goaltenders, four defensemen, and ten forwards.
2) Points work lika 'dis... Two points for a goal, one for an assist. Goaltenders get two points for a win, one additional point if its a shutout. As a bonus, you get one point per overtime period completed, win or lose.
3) Those who die with the most points wins. But also loses 'cause you're dead.

No fancy calculating systems, or online resources because I'm not motivated to set all that up. So score yourselves at home, I know you're just aching to do it considering the other 50 pools you're in.

Eastern Conference
#1 Washington Capitals vs. #8 Montreal Canadiens
I don't hold out much hope for the Habs, especially when the first posts generated at the end of the regular season sound like 'can the Canadiens beat the Caps?'. They might steal a game or two, but that'll be thanks to Halak's heroics, or Capital injuries. This could be a sweep for Washington, but I'll give the Habs the benefit of the doubt, Caps in five. I'm taking Backstrom and Markov from this duo.
#2 New Jersey Devils vs. #7 Philadelphia Flyers
The pundits picked the Flyers to take the East by storm with the additions of Pronger, Emery, et al. but it has been anything but the case. Pronger has supposedly caused a rift within the party atmosphere of the Flyers locker room, and Emery, who played well, went down with a career threatening injury. Leighton picked up as insurance, saved the bacon of the franchise, and with new coach Pete Laviolette behind the bench the Flyers were still nothing more than mediocre. The Devils, on the other hand, are their usual defensively suffocating selves with Lemaire back at the helm. Zach Parise has been given the green light to shoot, (#2 in shots behind Ovie), and is ninth in the League with 38 goals. There's also some guy named Kovalchuk they picked up in a trade who's supposed to be good. I see this as a fairly quick series, one that Philly probably should have stayed home for, Jersey in five. I'm taking Parise and Carter from these two.
#3 Buffalo Sabres vs. #6 Boston Bruins
Buffalo has ridden the amazing play of Ryan Miller, with a balanced attack under mastermind Lindy Ruff. They can score, but not a lot, they can play D, but there are a few holes. Well Miller fills most of the holes in the backend, and Vanek, when in the midst of a streak, can make it rain. Boston is hobbling into the postseason with a banged up squad, missing key playmaker Marc Savard, among other injuries. Their offense is anemic without Savard, but rookie/sophmore Tuukka Rask might be able to pull a few games out for them if the rest of the team helps him out. Buffalo in six, probably less. I'm taking Vanek and Chara out of these two.#4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. #5 Ottawa Senators
I doubted the Senators would make it in this year, but they've proven me wrong. No one's really sure what kind of shape the Pens will be in for this year's run. It could be a severe hangover, or a relentless team on their way back to another Cup run. I have a sneaking suspicion we'll see them in some later rounds. The Senators are another hard team to get a good read on, Brian Elliot has been lights out at times this year, but he's still only Brian Elliot. Karlsson has surprised me with his strong play, and Volchenkov's healthy enough to go running over people, Pittsburgh may have more trouble than they expect. But I expect the Pens to take it in six, but it will be a hard fought series. I'm taking one of my two goaltenders in Fleury, and I'll take Alfredsson to boot.

Western Conference
#1 San Jose Sharks vs. #8 Colorado Avalanche
This is the kind of soft first round matchup that the Sharks need to get under their belt for a better than their usual march through the postseason. I am once again going to be gullible enough to fall into that trap, but I don't think anyone is expecting the Avs to take down the Sharks. Getting to the postseason is victory enough for Colorado, as a team that no one expected to sniff the playoffs. Lets see how good Andy can be, Sharks in five. I'm going with Marleau and Stastny out of this pair.
#2 Chicago Blackhawks vs. #7 Nashville Predators
No one ever gives the Predators much respect and yet year after year they find themselves in the postseason, usually overmatched. This year is no different. With suprise finish from Patrik Hornqvist, and strong play from Rinne the Preds have managed to hang in there. But with the firepower that the Hawks have from rolling lines, and good offensive support from the defense, it looks like it should be a quick series. But Nashville always guts it out, and that's why I'm going with Chicago in six. I'm taking Shea Weber and Patrick Kane here.
#3 Vancouver Canucks vs. #6 Los Angeles Kings
I am pretty surprised that so many people are picking the Kings to come out on top in this series. Maybe its the uncertainty of Luongo, or people not watching enough of the Western Conference, but this Canucks team is poised for a deep run, no matter who they face. The Kings are glad to be in the postseason, but it doesn't go much further than that. The youth on that squad will have to learn some postseason lessons in order to be battle-tested for the postseason tournament. Vancouver, on the other hand, is ready. Nucks in six. Luongo is my second goaltender, and I'll take Doughty too.
#4 Phoenix Coyotes vs. Detroit Red Wings
I want to believe that the Coyotes can do this, but I just don't think it'll happen. They'll give them a hell of a series, but considering the turnaround the Wings put together, not to mention all that talent, I think the Dogs are simply overmatched. I'd accept being wrong in this one, Wings in six. I'll take Doan and Franzen in this one.

As for my preseason record, I went 4 of 8 in the West, 6 of 8 in the East. You can look back here, but I foolishly took Calgary, Anaheim, St. Louis, Dallas, the New York Rangers, and... nevermind. Toronto alright, you fucking happy. I thought they might have a turnaround, I want to spice up the picks instead of them looking like everyone else. At least I was right about Columbus, right Rick?! You pig fucker! Where's my fuckin' Molson?!

So that's it, can't wait to get underway tonight!

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