Almost there. The quarterfinals would have been a real bummer of a round without that Detroit/San Jose Game 7, the East was sure a bore. Two sweeps with an upset, (sorry, I don't consider a #3 beating a #2 seed an upset). Nashville drained the life out of the Vancouver series, but I think the most exciting teams have pushed through.
I went 3 for 4, picking the Tampa upset, but missing the Bruins sweep. Also picked that the Sharks would need seven to get past Detroit, for whatever that's worth. So only three more series left to pick, here's my thoughts on the next two...
Western Conference Finals
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #2 San Jose Sharks
How do you pick at this stage of the game, who's bashed up the least. I think these teams are pretty even, but I think the Canucks have the edge in speed. I'll call goaltending a draw, despite the fact that the thought is that Luongo should be lightyears ahead of Niemi. Everthing else seems to be similar, defenses move the puck well, plenty of offensive weapons, special teams click. I think the Sedins' get going in this series while Kesler slows down, Pavelski and Marleau get going, while Setoguchi and Thornton stall. Kesler is going to busy shadowing Thornton leading to less offense for both.
Canucks in 6.
Eastern Conference Finals
#3 Boston Bruins vs. #5 Tampa Bay Lightning
Boston's hungrier this year and it shows, despite Philadelphia's injuries and sluggishness, I think the Bruins proved a point in beating the Flyers. Thomas is the sharpest he's ever been, lots of offense, decent defense, but a shitty powerplay. Tampa, as I said before, just believes and that's what they're riding on. They've got offensive firepower too, but not as much as depth as the B's. For the warrior that Rolosson is, I think Thomas will win this matchup.
Bruins in 5.
Some other thoughts...
- Boogaard's death is crazy news. If this is due to concussions, this will definetely be the slap in the face that all contact sports will need to regulate hitting, or maybe just fighting. Already thinking Bob Probert.
- Great news for the Isles, hope they finally get that new rink built. And they signed Grabner.
- Crazy part about Grabner is that he was a Canuck last season. That organization is oozing talent. Hope Hodgson gets a real chance next season.
- Disagree with Jagr to the Pens, despite the fact that it is more about getting the Penguins legend back into the organization rather than actually playing next season. But if the media's going to create it, then I don't think he mixes well in that lockerroom with that young group. But that's just me.
- This relocation crap is hitting critical mass, but I would not be surprised to see Atlanta go out without a whimper. Imagine a hockey team being swept out of a city before the fanbase even had a chance to dispute it. But what Atlanta Spirit owner Bruce Levenson had to say in this interview was pretty depressing for Thrash fans.
Plenty more, but I'll save it for another time, enjoy the confy finals!