Sunday, May 2, 2010

Western Conference review pt. 1

San Jose defeats Colorado (4-2)
I was really hoping to watch the super-stars on the Sharks kick some ass, but it would appear that their marquee names just aren't into that sort of thing. When I watch their games (which is rarely - they are west-coast teams, let's remember) their super-stars just aren't living up to the hype. I want them kicking ass and scoring goals. When they're not putting it in the net, their sticking it up the other team's ass - but that's not the Sharks.

In any case, they dominated the last few games with buckets of pucks on net, and beat the Avalanche fairly well. Let's recall that the Avalanche were overachievers, and it was remarkable of them to have the season that they did. But ... they are what they are, a team absent of bonafide mature talent, and they were hard-up against a big team like San Jose. Colorado's best years are still in front of them, though.

Happy to see the Sharks move on - but ... not happy with how they did it. Again, knowing that they've started the second round with some great hockey is comforting. I'm happy to see that.

Chicago defeats Nashville (4-2)
Well duh! But let's consider that they didn't only defeat Nashville (and all the Predator's old Leaf fan favourites) but they also beat them with some incredible over-time heroics. The game 5 where they scored short handed to tie the game, and then won in overtime as the penalized Hossa came out of the penalty box: that was just amazing.

Chicago has an exciting and ambitious crew of players that don't know when to roll over and die (mostly because they're too inexperienced to know better) and that's a good thing. They have pulled wins out of places where there are no wins to be had - and that's awesome. I picked Chicago because I know that they present the most exciting and interesting storyline out of these two teams - and damnit if I wasn't correct.

Good for Chicago. Nothing against Nashville (and Belak and Sullivan) but Chicago has more first-round finery than the Preds. Nice!

Detroit defeats Phoenix (4-3)
Who cares? Despite being the heavy favourites, the Red Wings were the low seeds in this playoff round because their top 6 forwards each spent considerable amounts of time on the injured reserve list. This meant that, even though they are perennial challengers for the Stanley Cup, they were able to come in as "under dogs" against a team of players with no playoff experiences over the last decade. Well, Detroit won, good for them.

I don't care - I don't like them, I'm tired of their players, and I'm thrilled that the inexperienced (though challenging) Coyotes were able to stretch the series out to seven games. It gave me three more wins in my overall prediction schedule than I would have had if the Wings had swept the series. I'm tired of the Wings always winning - it's the same old thing all of the time. It's boring. I will bet against the Wings, however unwise it is, for as long as they are a good team.

Let 'em struggle for a year or ten (or however many the Leafs missed the playoffs for) and perhaps then I'll regain interest in their escapades. Otherwise, go for a hike, HockeyTown.

Vancouver defeats LA (4-2)
Remember, the Canucks are my Stanley Cup picks. They've got the top scorer, career seasons out of their second line players, one of the best goalies in the NHL (regardless of his season stats) and a solid defence. They've got right team at the right time to go the distance for the Stanley Cup. This is the formula - you can't design it, it has to come to you, and when you've got it, you've got to take it all the way. They've got lightning in a bottle - this is their time.

That being said - I like the LA Kings, despite my history with them in hockey pools. I like a lot of their players, and it's a bit of a shame that they don't get to have more success in the playoffs. What Drew Doughty achieved in his first time through the post season was really impressive. He scored more goals (3) in the playoffs over six games than Dion Phaneuf (2) had as a Maple Leaf this season (26 games).

And how were my western conference predictions/preferences for winners? Three series, to one. Not bad. I am happy with the progression of the Western Conference teams. Their overall stats in terms of wins and losses even further pleases me: 15 wins and a measly 10 losses. Very cool.

This would make my overall total for the first round: 5-3 in terms of series predictions/preferences and 28 wins and 21 losses. A very good result, if I say so myself!

To be honest, though, I would have preferred Ovechkin in my hockey pool of Sidney Crosby, if I were in a hockey pool. With great luck, I'm not. Put it this way, if you get 20 points in the playoffs, you've had a helluva a good time! Crosby has 14 in one round alone. That's incredible!

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