Stanley Cup Playoffs – 2013 edition, Rd. 1

I really need to pay more attention to these kinds of things. I just noticed the NHL playoffs begin today.

I had better get on to issuing my yearly predictions as to how each series is going to play out.

For those unaccustomed to my methods, I only do a round at a time. I like to evaluate each series by match up, and not lock myself into predicting who will win a series that might not actually happen.

Some years I have been stunningly accurate (like in 2006 when I picked Edmonton to knock off the 58-win Detroit Red Wings in the first round). Other years I’ve done a fairly piss poor job of picking winners. How will I do this year? We’ll have to wait until the dust settles to find out.

On to brass tacks.

Eastern Conference

1 Pittsburgh Penguins v. 8 NY Islanders

Have to give this one to Pittsburgh. The league’s #2 team overall against the #16. Yes, upsets are going to happen. Just not in this series. Penguins in 5.

2 Montreal Canadiens v. 7 Ottawa Senators

This is a match up that should have happened a few seasons ago. Instead, it happens now. Both teams are close. Both in terms of team play and in physical distance. The only aspect of this match up the experts are giving to the Habs is offence, with defence and goalkeeping favouring the Senators. However, the playoffs are a different beast, and I have confidence Carey Price will be Carey Price. Canadiens in 6.

3 Washington Capitals v. 6 NY Rangers

It appears like Alex Ovechkin is back. Led the league in goals. Willed his team into a playoff berth. Then again, the Rangers were consistent all year. As much as how a team ends the regular season doesn’t really mean anything, I have to go with the hotter team. Capitals in 7.

4 Boston Bruins v. 5 Toronto Maple Leafs

Don Cherry is going to jizz himself each and every game. This is a decent mismatch. The Bruins are the better team, and the Maple Leafs, while icing a good team, just don’t match up that well. Except in fisticuffs. But fighting virtually disappears in the playoffs. Bruins in 6.

Western Conference

1 Chicago Blackhawks v. 8 Minnesota Wild

I’m calling another no-contest here. Chicago pretty much ran roughshod over the West this year. Minnesota, while holding its fate in its hands, still pretty much only scraped into the playoffs. Blackhawks in 5.

2 Anaheim Ducks v. 7 Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings scraped into the playoffs. The Ducks were the league’s #3 team all season. The Red Wings, in making the playoffs, are in them for the 22nd straight season. The Ducks are back following a really bad year last season. I have to say experience wins out, but barely. Red Wings in 7.

3 Vancouver Canucks v. 6 San Jose Sharks

Third straight division win for the Canucks. The Sharks have basically seen their window to win the Cup close. The same could be said about the Canucks, too. But with the up-and-down nature of the Sharks’ season, you never know. Canucks in 7.

4 St. Louis Blues v. 5 LA Kings

The Kings return to defend their title in a better position than last year. The Blues are in the midst of surging into a home-ice spot. I’m leaning towards the hotter team. Blues in 6.

2012 Stanley Cup Final wrap

Sorry I’m slow at getting to this. It was a rough week since the Los Angeles Kings skated off the ice with the Stanley Cup held aloft.

But I’m here now, to wrap up the series.

You can tell from my opening sentence that the Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils. On June 11, the Kings took advantage of a five-minute major to Steve Bernier and scored three powerplay goals to grab a quick lead they rode to a 6-1 win.

And to make things even better for me, it was in Game 6, thus making my prediction spot on for the only time this playoff season.

Yeah, I’m sorry. I have no real inspiration to do anything more than you see here. I’m tired.

Oh, I lied.

This result brings my overall record to 7-8. If it weren’t for a piss poor second round, I would have been at least 8-7. Oh well.

2012 Stanley Cup Playoff predictions – Stanley Cup Final

Time to figure out who I think will skate away with the Stanley Cup for the 2011-2012 season. After there being no official winner last year, the NHL needs to make sure this championship series is a good one.

But before we get to that point, I need to recap what we saw in the Conference Finals.

In the East, we had the New York Rangers up against the New Jersey Devils. It was the conference’s top seed against the sixth seed, or fifth if actual points was the determining factor. I had the Rangers winning in 7. I was wrong, as we saw the Devils win in 6.

Out West, it was the Phoenix Coyotes playing the Los Angeles Kings. The Coyotes won their first division title this year, while the Kings snuck into the playoffs after a disappointing (compared to expectations) year. I had the Kings winning in 6, which they nearly did, emerging victorious in 5.

Overall, I went 1-1 in the Conference Finals, bring my record to 6-8, guaranteeing a losing record in my predictions for the first time since I went 6-9 in 2010.

On to my thoughts on the Stanley Cup Final.

(6E) New Jersey Devils v. (8W) Los Angeles Kings

The Kings are the eighth seed in name only. They have played like President’s Trophy winners, going 12-2 through the first three rounds. The Devils had some trouble with the Florida Panthers in the first round, but have come on stronger in the next two rounds, taking out the Philadelphia Flyers and Rangers in only 11 games, going 8-3. You have goaltending coming out the wazoo in this series, and the Devils are uncharacteristically good on offence. The Kings, for their part, have turned on the offence in the playoffs, after being one of the NHL’s worst teams offensively in the regular season. Many people want to see Martin Brodeur win one more Stanley Cup. I don’t. But my emotions don’t factor into my predictions. When it comes down to it, the Kings are on a serious roll, and I don’t see anything stopping them. I’m taking the Kings in 6.

2012 Stanley Cup Playoff predictions – Conference Finals

I don’t know what to say here. Compared to my previous years of being bang-on in my predictions, this year has been a total disaster for me.

After a first round where I went 4-4 in my predictions, the second round was far and away a disaster when up against previous playoffs.

Let’s recap.

New York Rangers 4-3 Washington Capitals (right team, wrong games)

Philadelphia Flyers 1-4 New Jersey Devils (wrong team)

St. Louis Blues 0-4 Los Angeles Kings (wrong team)

Phoenix Coyotes 4-1 Nashville Predators (wrong team)

In short, I went 1-3 in the second round. Now, there are some positives to be noticed. The Flyers lost, which is actually good news, because Philly deserves shitty teams that never win. The Flyers are a disgrace to hockey, and if there was a way to go back in time and prevent them from winning their two Stanley Cups in the 1970s, I would. But, yet again they won’t win it this year, so all is well in the world.

I am also flabbergasted at the Predators being dismantled by the Coyotes. I really had Nashville going at least to the Western Conference Final. Apparently that’s not going to happen this year.

OK. On to my predictions for the conference finals.

Eastern Conference Final

1 New York Rangers v. 6 New Jersey Devils

These two teams could take the subway to their games (unless the NYC subway doesn’t go to Newark). Both these teams are not quite known for their offensive prowess this year, but they have weapons. And they both have goalies who are very good, although Martin Brodeur is getting old. This has the makings of a long, low-scoring affair, with the winner being the Rangers in 7.

Western Conference Final

3 Phoenix Coyotes v. 8 Los Angeles Kings

Who saw both these teams getting this far? I sure didn’t. The Kings are better than I expected them to be in the playoffs, but they’re every bit what they were expected to be before the puck dropped to start the regular season. On the other hand, the Coyotes are getting it done, but no one’s really sure how. They’re a bunch of spare parts working as a team, and it’s a model that’s had great for them. But in the end, I feel the Kings are on fire, so I’m going with Kings in 6.

There we have it. My predictions for the NHL’s conference finals. Here’s hoping I can redeem myself and get closer to a .500 record. So far, 4-4 and 1-3 is only 5-7. I need to nail the final three series to pull it out.

2012 Stanley Cup Playoff predictions – Round 2

Well, I have to say that was one hell of a first round. Upsets aplenty, Game 7s aplenty. It was quite something.

To recap, here are the series results:

New York Rangers 4-3 Ottawa Senators (right team, wrong games)

Boston Bruins 3-4 Washington Capitals (wrong team)

Florida Panthers 3-4 New Jersey Devils (right team, wrong games)

Pittsburgh Penguins 2-4 Philadelphia Flyers (wrong team)

Vancouver Canucks 1-4 Los Angeles Kings (wrong team)

St. Louis Blues 4-1 San Jose Sharks (right team, wrong games)

Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 Chicago Blackhawks (wrong team)

Nashville Predators 4-1 Detroir Red Wings (right team, wrong games)

This sets up the following matchups for the second round, along with my predictions. Hopefully I’ll do better than a .500 (4-4) record this round.

1E New York Rangers v. 7E Washington Capitals

I think the Senators showed that the Rangers are vulnerable. But in a goaltending contest involving Henrik Lundqvist, there are few goalies who stack up. Then again, there is Alex Ovechkin to worry about. Still, I have to give this to the Rangers in 6.

5E Philadelphia Flyers v. 6E New Jersey Devils

After seeing what the Flyers did to the Penguins, I foresee the Flyers advancing. They have more offence, that’s for sure. But their goaltending is shaky (when has it not been so?), while it is Martin Brodeur (even at his advanced age) at the other end. I see a tougher series for the Flyers than against the Penguins, but not an end to their run (unfortunately). Let’s take the Flyers in 6.

2W St. Louis Blues v. 8W Los Angeles Kings

So much for the Canucks, eh? Both these teams were full marks in their defeat of their previous opponents. I can see a long AND a short series here. Long because the Kings are somewhat on fire and on a mission after clawing their way into the playoffs, and will fight the Blues tooth and nail. Short because the Kings knocked off the league’s No. 1 team, and may feel that’s good enough. So, I shall split the difference, while going with the better team overall. I’m taking the Blues in 6.

3W Phoenix Coyotes v. 4W Nashville Predators

One of these teams will be playing for the Western Conference title in at most seven games. Which one? I feel the Coyotes are on a high after finally winning a playoff series, and they were full marks for winning their division. But Nashville has been building for this year, and took out the Red Wings, which is never the easiest thing to do these past few years. I have to go with the Predators in 6.

There we have it. Let’s see what I know.

2012 Stanley Cup Playoff predictions – Round 1

OK.

I used to give long-winded explanations of why I picked each team to win its series. Well, I’m not going to do that anymore because, let’s be honest, since I got a real job I don’t have the time anymore to analyze each series in the same amount of depth as I used to.

But, I still like to try my hand at choosing each round’s winners. And unlike what I’ve seen on the NHL website, I’m not going to go beyond the first round here. I only do round-by-round picks.

So let’s git r done!

Eastern Conference

(1) New York Rangers v. (8) Ottawa Senators

I have to go with the Rangers here. Simply one of the best teams in the conference against the eighth seed. I’ll take Rangers in 5.

(2) Boston Bruins v. (7) Washington Capitals

Oh how the might-ish have fallen. The Capitals have fallen since the Canadiens Halaked them in 2010. And as much as it pains me to say it, the Bruins did advance the farthest possible last year. Let’s go with Bruins in 6.

(3) Florida Panthers v. (6) New Jersey Devils

The NHL needs to fix its rule that the division winners get a top-three seed. The Panthers had only the sixth-best record in the conference this year, while the Devils had eight more points and finished in sixth. I have to take the Devils in 6.

(4) Pittsburgh Penguins v. (5) Philadelphia Flyers

Another example of the inequity of division winners getting a top-three seed. Both of these teams finished with more points than the Bruins. This is going to be a down and dirty series. These teams hate each other. I’m going with Penguins in 7.

Western Conference

(1) Vancouver Canucks v. (8) Los Angeles Kings

The Kings were supposed to be better than this. The Canucks are as good as their record indicates, and are back for another run at the Stanley Cup. It won’t be quick, but it will be the Canucks in 6.

(2) St. Louis Blues v. (7) San Jose Sharks

The Blues really turned it around after hiring Ken Hitchcock. The Sharks, like the Kings, were supposed to be better. I’m going to say the Sharks will be another playoff disappointment for their fans, falling to the Blues in 7.

(3) Phoenix Coyotes v. (6) Chicago Blackhawks

Same points inequality as the Eastern Conference, but not as bad. The Blackhawks are the better team, but the Coyotes are not to be seen as a pushover. In a long series, I’m taking the Blackhawks in 7.

(4) Nashville Predators v. (5) Detroit Red Wings

When was the last time the Red Wings weren’t the home team in the first round? It was 2010. I thought it was longer ago. Whatever. Nashville finally won a playoff series last year. The Red Wings are the Red Wings. It will be long, and maybe include a few overtime games, but will end with the Predators in 7.

And there you have it. My picks for the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The first round, anyway. How will I do? We’ll find out in two weeks.

2011 NHL Playoffs – Stanley Cup Final Recap

Well, that never happened.

The newspapers will tell you Boston in 7 is what happened. Which means my prediction of Vancouver in 6 was wrong. Which also means I went an embarrassing 9-6 in my predictions.

But here’s what really happened. No one won the 2011 Stanley Cup.

That’s right. No one.

I refuse to recognize a Stanley Cup champion that employs an attempted murderer. You know who I mean.

As such, the 2011 Stanley Cup remains unawarded in perpetuity.

That is all.