I realize it is the time of year when many hockey fans flip on the tube and realize that they haven't actually watched hockey in a while. Fine, fine. I'm coming to accept that from some of you. In case you were wondering...yes I did do some picks this year (insert me rolling my eyes).
So without further ado here is the official DNP playoff primer and my first round picks!
(As usual I expect all of these to be proven wrong in the next 7 days)
The Western Conference
This is the conference that beats the crap out of itself every year, with the last team standing usually winning the Stanley Cup. It is a brutal test of character and stamina, and after every season I'm shocked to find that nobody has been killed by a brutal hit or dehydration. There will be more than one upset in the West this year.
The Eastern Conference
Teams in the East are usually high flying and exciting to watch. They are loaded with fast, young players like Alex Ovechkin, and seem to never quite play defense. This is why a team from the East probably won't win the Cup this year, even though the uber-talented Penguins of Pittsburgh who feature superstars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Marian Hossa will win a Cup sooner than later.
Here are the first round matchups and my picks (for the betting) which will probably be proven wrong over the next 5 days...
In the West:
Detroit vs Nashville
Detroit is Detroit and we hate them because they are Detroit. Even still, they are good and should cut through a soft Nashville team like (insert any scary 2008 skate related injury joke here)
Red Wings in 5
San Jose vs Calgary
With the wildly overdue for a title Joe Thornton at the helm, towards the end of the season SJ looked like the team to beat in the West. Calgary has some punch because their coach is an old insane guy named "Iron" Mike Keenan. Jarome Iginla, who is the captain of the Flames WILL get into at least one fight in what will be a tighter series than expected. Fun should be had by all. There will be balloons for the kids.
Sharks in 6
Colorado vs Minnesota
Okay...what if you took two teams that almost played the same and put a healthy Peter Forsberg on one of them? That is how close this series will be. Forsberg has scored 11 points in his last 4 games and is once again THE GUY in Colorado. Avs pull the upset in this one because they have a better offense.
Avs in 7
Anaheim vs Dallas
Last year's champion, the former Mighty Ducks of Anaheim will try to beat down a solid divisional foe in this round. Dallas is slumping and the Ducks play defense. Simple as that. Look for Ducks goalie, J.S. Giguere to find a way to cheat and wear even bigger pads during the playoffs, as he really isn't very good.
Ducks in 6
In the East:
Montreal vs Boston
Surprisingly these two teams did much better than expected this season. Boston was banged up since the first month and Montreal was mostly crappy. Yet both teams found quality play from unexpected sources and here we are, an Original Six matchup! Good times. Look for Montreal's strong second half play to continue in front of wunderkind goale Carey Price and the resurgent Alex Kovalev.
Les Habitants in 5
Pittsburgh vs Ottawa
Ottawa, last season's Eastern Conference representative in the Cup final has been a mess since their back up goalie Ray emery flipped out and got their coach canned sometime around midseason. I would give you an exact date except I'm still laughing. Yet because the East is the weaker conference they have managed to hang in long enough that they should be soundly thrashed by the Pens in the first round.
Thanks for playing.
Penguins in 5
Washington vs Philadelphia
Alexander Ovechkin has been the best player in hockey this season, potting 65 goals, which is good. Yet aside from a couple other good up and coming players, and the addition of a starting goalie (Cristobal Huet) at the trade deadline in February they probably don't have a talent to win the conference.
Philly on the other hand is young, has star players (Daniel Briere, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter) and has no clue how to play defense...but they can beat people up! That's good...right?
This matchup gives me a headache.
Capitals in 6
NY Rangers vs New Jersey
This is another rivalry matchup featuring some of the best players to ever play like Jaromir Jagr of the Rangers and Martin Brodeur of the Devils. The games will be intense and a few players may get their feelings hurt. Make sure your kids watch this matchup so they will know how to properly fight come high school. The Devils are slumping and the Rangers are heating up, so this will definitely be a close one.
Rangers in 7