Old school wooden hockey stick...
Apologies to my loyal BTOG overseas readers but please permit me to indulge once again in that great Canadian pastime of NHL Stanley Cup playoff prognostication. [Ed. note: remember, what ice hockey is to Canadians, ping pong is to Chinese.]
Carolina Hurricanes vs. Boston Bruins.
Ok, what the hell happened in Game 7 of the Devils/Hurricanes first round series? 3 minutes left in the third, the score's 3-2 for the Devils. I had to visit the loo. I came back to the TV 4 minutes later to find Devil's goaltender Marty Brodeur booking a tee time in between post game interviews.
What gave, eh?
I don't know much about the Hurricanes other than I like Eric Staal and Cam Ward. If they can stand on their heads again, it will be undoubtedly be another long series.
I picked the Habs to beat the Bruins in the first round but that's was only because of my genetic predispositon. I have to give credit to the Calgary Flames (Eastern version). However, in the second round, they will face a much more formidable foe in the Hurricanes.
I'll give this one to the Bruins (that hurts me to the very core). Chuck Kobasew, Steve Montador, Andrew Ferrence will be too much for the 'Canes.
Besides, if the Stanley Cup ends up in North Carolina and the Royal Bank of Canada rink again, I may have to quit watching hockey altogether.
Bruins in six.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals.
Tough series to predict. Great series to watch though.
Team Ovechin was "underwhelming" in the opening playoff round, to say the least. The NY Rangers took them to seven games. What gave?
If they didn't plug in their rookie goaltender Varlamov, Team OV could have been good as gone in 4.
So, this second round series is basically Crosby vs. Ovechin. Ovechin has the edge. Indeed, I predict he will elevate his game this time around.
Washington's offence is more explosive than the Penguins.
Goaltending is about equal. Penguins' goalie Fleury has had his stretches of mediocre play but who hasn't?
Mmmm...the outcome of this series is so difficult to predict...
I'll pick DC on the basis of a better offence and home game advantage (even though I like Crosby a lot).
Washington Capitals in seven.
Anaheim Ducks vs. Detroit Red Wings.
First I just want to re-iterate the fact that I did predict the upset of Ducks over the Sharks in the first round.
But I think their road to the Stanley Cup finals ends here against the Wings.
The Duck's Getzlaf-Ryan-Perry (GRP) line will have to stand its head. Neidermayer and Pronger will have to put on 30+ outstanding minutes again.
However the Wings have at least 3 GRP-like lines and 4 top-of-the-world D-men.
I'll pick the Wings again. Too much talent.
Having said that I'm still wary of their goaltending. So, in addition, I'll predict that the Ducks have a 42 percent chance of upsetting the Wings.
Detroit Red Wings in six.
Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Black Hawks.
Well, well, well... the Canuckleheads are Canada's remaining hope of bring home the Cup to the motherland.
I'll be cheering for them in this case. I promised along time ago that I would cheer for any Canadian-based team (other than the Toronto Maple Leafs) remaining in the playoffs.
However, they will be facing a very, very, very strong Chicago team. Just ask the Calgary Flames.
The depth of the Chicago roster is daunting. Captain Jonathan Teows was a monster in the Calgary series. In fact, I think his line mate Patrick Sharp actually out played him.
If the Canucks had a second line of any stature, their chances would be better.
As for defencemen, I'll give the nod to the Hawks. Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith were monsters against the Flames. They'll be the shut down guys again.
The absolute biggest factor in this series will be the goaltenders. If Roberto Luongo is in the zone, nothing will stop the Canucks. Hands down.
So, it's Roberto Luongo vs. the Chicago Black Hawks.
It will be an entertaining squeaker of a series...
Chicago Black Hawks in seven. (I'll be hoping for an upset...go Luongo go!)