Wednesday, April 28, 2010

2010 NHL Crazy Eights Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions...AND a BONUS mystery photo!

Here at BTOG we are a full service blog. For those who could care less about the hockey playoffs (and some who do), I've dug out this photo from the vast BTOG archives as the first mystery photo in ages. What are those curious, squiggly streaks of light? Clue? The photo was taken in Etosha National Park, Nambia at night. Ok, I may have given it away. Good luck!!

The Long Awaited Prognostications.

Is it just me or was the opening round of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs kind of boring?

With the exception of a handful of games (the final 3 games of the Habs/Washington series and one Avs/Sharks game come to mind), there hasn't been much to write home about.

The second round of the playoffs seems, on paper, to have more potential in terms of entertainment. Perhaps not...

Just for notation sake: The BTOG series prediction record is 6-2! Not bad for a hack such as I. Those lousy NJ Devils and Buffalo Sabres choked and let me down.

Let's do it...

San Jose Sharks vs. Detroit Red Wings.

The Sharks' party is over (again). Turn off the lights... It's going to be a tight series though. I was slightly surprised that Phoenix pushed the Wings to a seventh game in the opening round. But, if their performance in that seventh game is any indication of their prowess then they should take the Sharks to the cleaners.

Wings take the series on the road in 7 (Usual Sharks disclaimer: much less than 7 if the Sharks fold like a giant house of cards).

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Vancouver Canucks.

I'll be sucking it up and cheering for the 'nucks. However, I have a bad feeling that they may experience a deja vu (re: 2009 playoffs) moment at the conclusion of this series. The "young" Hawks have one more year of experience and that will most likely be the key factor. But then who knows? If Goalie Luongo and the Twins stand on their heads...they might pull a stunner out of the hat... But for now,

Hawks take the Canucks in a homer series in 7 thrilling games.

Boston Bruins vs. Philadelphia Flyers
Noooooooooo!!! Marc Savard, please don't come back for the Bruins. For the love of god, your brain has bounced around enough. I'm kind of scared for the guy. That's all I have to say.

Flyers in 6? They're like a wounded animal backed into a corner looking for a fight. I'll go with that...

Montreal Canadians vs. Pittsburgh Penguins.


Okay, now that I got that off my chest, the Habs are in deep doo doo. You thought the Washington Capitals had an invincible multi-pronged attack. The defending champion Penguins have a similar attack force, but they up the ante by throwing into the mix, the world's best hockey player, Sydney Crosby.

If the Habs can semi-shut down Crosby and totally shut down Malkin and Staal and their goalie implodes (I can see that happening) and Hab's goalie Halak is god-like again, they may engineer another glorious miracle on ice.

I'll go against conventional wisdom and rational thought and predict:

Habs in 7.

Olympic Champion and the Big Tub of Goo!

Congrats on the gold medal, Kaillie!!

I had a photography gig at a Subway business conference the other day and guess who I bumped into?

My good friend, Kaillie Humphries, 2010 Winter Olympic Gold Medal Champion in the Women's 2 Man Bobsleigh!!

Ok, I wish she was my friend.

She was the guest speaker at the conference.

I was charged with taking pix of her with conference attendees.

It was a lot of fun.

In the end, I worked up enough guts to ask for a photo myself.

She was a really nice person.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 NHL Sweet Sixteen Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

Cheezies are Canada's favourite snack food...

Once again, I'm late with the my prognostications for the first round of the National Hockey League Playoffs.

The Playoffs or as I call it, "The Road to the Stanley Cup", could not have come at a more opportune time. After an monumental, epic fail of a regular season in terms of exciting hockey (excluding the Winter Olympic tourney), the 2010 Road to the Stanley Cup might live up to its hype.

Without further delay (BTOG's overseas readers, who probably don't care about ice hockey, please allow me to momentarily indulge), here are the most researched, informative, and accurate predictions for the first round of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Ottawa Sens vs. Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 2010 edition of the Ottawa Senators can actually envision themselves holding Lord Stanley's Cup over their heads. They're that close. Too bad Sidney Crosby and his band of defending Cup champions stand in the way. However, the Pens, as a collective, weren't that great this season. On most nights they've been a one man Crosby show. It wouldn't surprise me if there was a major upset in this series.

Pens in 7 (out of 7 games). 51 percent chance of an Ottawa upset.

Colorado Avalanche vs. San Jose Sharks

Oh how I detest underachievers. I'll give the hopeless Sharks this round (unless their goalie implodes again). The Avs looked pretty pathetic in the last couple of weeks of the regular season.

Sharks in 7 (ugh, the horror). Then again they'll probably fold like a house of cards and make an early exit.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Phoenix Coyotes

Hate to say this but I think it's the end of the line for the desert dogs of Winnipeg (er, I mean Phoenix). Just when I thought the Wings were going for that long walk in the snows, they bounce back to life in the latter part of the season. They'll be a handful for anyone who confronts them in the post season.

Wings in 6.

New Jersey Devils vs. Philadelphia Flyers.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzz... Devil's goal tending vs. the scoring challenged Flyers?

Flyers' misery shouldn't last too long in this series.

Devils in 5

Boston Bruins vs. Buffalo Sabres.

Key to the Bruins demise in this series? In two words: Ryan Miller. He alone will shutdown the anemic Bruins offense.

Sabres in 5

Vancouver Canucks vs. LA Kings.

Oh... how I loathe the Canucks. But because they are based in beloved Vancouver, I'll be pulling for them. Unfortunately, this series will be tough. Canucks goalie, Roberto Luongo, is in a slump. Nucks will need him to straighten out his game. The Sedin twins (I loathe saying "Sedin twins") will have to prove their mettle (once again) and not pull another annual disappearing act in the playoffs. Against a good, young Kings team, Vancouver will be pushed to the limit.

Canucks in 7.

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks

I hate teams like the Predators. I don't know much about them. From historical and current records, they certainly can play the role of spoiler against top notched teams like the Hawks. I'll err on the side of overall team talent and select the Hawks to take this series but not till after losing a couple of games.

Blackhawks in 6.

Montreal Canadiens vs. Washington Capitals.

My beloved Canadiens are in a lot of trouble. The Capitals are not a one man team. They do not revolve around their obvious superstar, Alex Ovechkin. Instead, their potent offence is multi-pronged, and maybe too much for the Canadiens to handle.

There's been trash talk regarding the Capitals' less than stellar goalies. However, I agree with the supposition that, with their vaunted offense, the Caps' goal tending needs only to be adequate to good.

Keys for a Canadiens victory: Halak (the goalie who must start the series) must be god-like, the Capitals' goal tending must be an epic fail.

Canadiens in 7.

That's it!

Tell me your favourites.