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Wed, 01 May 2013 02:15:09 GMT
2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Predictions

A series by series predictions for the 1st round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and a glimpse into the next 3 rounds. The NHL playoffs since the 2004-05 lockout has been a unpredictable beast. You make the playoffs on the last day of the regular season and you find your way to the Stanley Cup finals. What makes a good regular season team is clearly not what makes a good playoff team. Here's my sense of what might happen this playoff season.

Wild v Blackhawks

The Minnesota Wild have badly underperformed and scratched their way into a playoff spot. That said, a hot goalie and some timely scoring might give them a chance. But goaltending and scoring have not been their forte this season. They do have some grit with Cal Clutterbuck, but on the whole this team is soft. Not a recipe for winning the Lord Stanley's mug. An underdog to win a series and a longshot to win it all.

And the Wild are playing the recent Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks are loaded with talent; Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane. Their was the question of goaltending at the start of the season, but Corey Crawford has been great. The consensus is that the Hawks are the team to beat in the West.

Winner: Blackhawks

Red Wings v Ducks

This isn't the Red Wings we knew in years past. There's no Nicklas Lidstrom. End of story. It's just not the same team.

The Ducks have been an off-and-on team for years with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. They even won a Stanley Cup a few years back. I don't think this team has the depth to make it far in the playoffs, but I do think they have enough to handle the Wings. Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne are getting older by the day.

Winner: Ducks

Sharks v Canucks

For the 1st time in a long while, the Sharks aren't expected to do anything this playoff. They're suppose to boy out to the much better Canucks. And with perenial non-playoff performers like Joe Thornton, they have every excuse. But remember, they are very deep in talent and someday, if Joe is willing, they might surprise in the playoffs. And don't forget, that's a Cup winning goalie between the pipes; Anti Niemi.

The Canucks are very much like the Sharks of a few years ago. Some playoff success, but everybody expected so much more. And because of injury, they'll be starting the playoffs with long-time playoff disappointment Roberto Luongo in net. Whichever team loses this series, will cement their reputation as playoff losers.

Winner: Canucks

Kings v Blues

An extremely talented team that should have little problem taking care of the Blues. But I'm not sure a team led by the party boys (Jeff Carter and Mike Richards) can make it two years in a row. I'm thinking the hangover from last summer hasn't quite warn off yet.

The Blues are... well... a blue colar team. No stars and a lot of names even I don't recognize. Just a lot of hard work. Their goaltending load was split between three goalies. It's very rare that teams with no talent advance in the playoffs.

Winner: Kings

Islanders v Penguins

The worst run organization in the NHL made the playoffs on the back of their one superstar John Tavares. That's about as far as they'll get. I doubt they could handle an injury riddled Penguins lineup in a seven game series. And the Pens are getting healthy.

If Sidney Crosby returns to the form he displayed early this year, then we might see a 16 game winning streak. Unless... remember last year... total collapse of the flower.

Winner: Penguins

Senators v Canadiens

Senators played way over their heads all year. Now they have a healthy Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson. They can steal a round, at most.

The Canadiens are looking back between the pipes and putting their faith in Carey Price. A career 8-15 playoff record. This might be Price's last chance. If he falters again, then the fans in Montreal might start calling for a change.

Winner: Canadiens

Rangers v Capitals

I really liked the makeup of the Rangers at the start of the season. Things didn't go as expect and the team was rebuilt mid-season. Mid-season of an already short season. Henrik Lundqvist could put the team on his back lead them thru a few playoff rounds, but I doubt it. Teams rebuilt mid-season rarely go anywhere in the playoffs.

Alex Ovechkin is on fire and we're heading into the playoffs. This team is gonna live and die on his stick. I don't see much problem dispensing the Rangers. Then... in the 2nd round, it's OV time or bust.

Winner: Capitals

Leafs v Bruins

As a long-time Leafs fan, what a relief. Playoff games. Everything sits on James Reimer's shoulders. They're a tough and fast team that can score. Can they keep the puck out of the net? Reimer did it all year.

The Bruins are either the toughest team in the playoffs or the 2nd toughest. And the Leafs are either the toughest or 2nd. Expect a lot of hitting. Fighting. Injuries. Whomever wins is likely gonna get beat the next round anyway. This is war.

Winner: Bruins

Sun, 17 Apr 2011 06:50:45 GMT
Post Game 2 Roundup

Bruins v Habs (0-2)

The biggest surprise of the playoffs is the Bruins complete lack of offense; one goal in two games. This is due to three reasons; solid play from the Canadians defense (Gill, Subban, Sopel, Spacek, Hamrlik, Wisniewski and forwards Moen, Plekanec), good goaltending from Carey Price and weak shoots from the Bruins. As much as Carey Price has made the saves, the shot difficult is making Price look even better. Down 2-0 and going to Montreal, this series could be over quickly.

Pens v Lightning (1-1)

Not a surprise, without Crosby and Malkin, the Pens will be hard pressed to win this series. One great goaltending performance by Fleury has kept this team in the series. Interesting side note; Craig Adams has 6 goals in the last 3 regular seasons (207 games) and 6 goals in the last 3 playoffs (39 games). If Crosby comes back, then they still have a chance, but I see the Lightning taking this now that they have home ice advantage.

Caps v Rangers (2-0)

I didn't expect the Rangers to be able to keep up with the Capitals and they haven't. Only Matt Gilroy has scored for the Rangers. Lundqvist is gonna have to steal a game or two to get this team back in the series. Looks like a Capitals sweep is possible.

Flyers v Sabres (1-1)

Miller stole game one but the Flyers offense was too much in game two. With Miller injured, I didn't think the Sabres had much of a chance, but stole home ice advantage. The biggest difference in this series may turn out to be the lack of Chris Pronger. Normally, Pronger would be wearing down the Sabres forwards. Add something redundant about Flyers goaltending here. This looks like a 7 gamer. Then flip a coin.

Wings v Yotes (2-0)

It's called the Pavel Datsyuk show. Even without Henrik Zetterberg, the Wings are simply too much for the Yotes. Bryzgalov hasn't been at his best. He really needs to step it up at home and steal both games for his team or it's over. I doubt the Wings will sweep and that's all I got for the Coyotes' fans.

Sharks v Kings (1-1)

There's no reason the Kopitar-less Kings should be in this series. Well, except that Joe Thornton is up to his playoff disappearing act once again. In game 2 on the power play, Big Joe was fed the puck in the slot. He didn't even try to shoot. He skated behind the net, then out to the half boards and shot from there. Going the other way, Drew Doughty scored 4 pts giving him 11 points in 8 career playoff games. I see this going 7 games.

Canucks v Hawks (2-0)

Kane, Toews, Sharp and Hossa have combined for 1 assist in the 1st two games of this series. It might simply be fatigue. All four players have played an enormous amounts of hockey over the last 2-3 yrs. The Canucks look like he team to beat. Three lines are contributing and six d-men. And they have a pretty good goalie. Unless the Hawks win both at home, they could be done in 5.

Ducks v Preds (1-1)

Mike Fisher stole game 1 for the Preds and now they have home ice advantage in this series. The Ducks Big 4 (Selanne, Ryan, Perry and Getzlaf) showed up big time in game 2, each scoring a goal. This series is gonna be a showdown between the big 4 and Pekka Rinne. The series should go 6 or 7 games.

Fri, 08 Apr 2011 00:27:31 GMT
Rookie of the Year

We have some race this year. I can identify 7 legit candidates; 3 of which scored 30 goals.

Jeff Skinner

One year ago, Skinner wasn't on anybody's NHL radar.  He wasn't drafted and wasn't even projected in the 1st round of the draft. He scored 20 goals in 20 games during last years OHL playoff and he became a 7th overall pick. Twelve months later, he has 30+ goals in the NHL and is the choice of many to win the Calder Trophy.

Logan Couture

Nineth overall pic in 2007, he stagnated for the next 3 years. Out of nowhere, he's regained his top prospect form and put 30 pucks in the net. Unlikely to win, as he doesn't have the most goals, nor the most points for a rookie, which is the prime criteria for a forward.

Michael Grabner

Grabner was the 14 overall pick back in 2006. Like Couture, he struggled after his draft year. He played the last 3 years almost entirely in the AHL. A brief 20 game tryout at the end of last season was successful, potting 5 goals. The Canucks traded him to the Panthers, who then waived him before the season started. He was claimed by the Islanders and the rest is history; 30 goal rookie campaign.

John Carlson

Drafted 27th overall in 2008. Note that all these rookies to date have been drafted in the 1st round. Somebody might wanna inform Brian Burke of these facts. Played half a season in the AHL and he's an NHLer. Fits in well, on a very talented Capitals team. Unlike to win.

Cam Fowler

Tell Burke that Fowler was drafted 12th overall in 2010. Ya, that's last year. And he scored 40 points this year as a defenseman. His -26 plus-minus rating is gonna keep him away from the Calder Trophy.

P.K. Subban

Drafted in the 2nd round of 2007. I have to think his skin color and mouth kept him out of the 1st round. How many defensemen score 56 points in their OHL draft year and don't get picked in the 1st round? He's improved every year since, is now a household name for every hockey fan and a twitter fad (#blamesubban). PK's stats might not get him the Calder, but I watch a lot of hockey and from what I see, this guy is already a leader on the Canadians. He's my Calder pick, but I doubt many will agree. They'd rather blame him for something.

Corey Crawford

I always hate it when a goalie qualifies as a rookie, yet he played games in 4 NHL seasons. This is actually his 5th season playing in the NHL. The numbers are there and he resurrected the Hawks season. He'll get votes, but he was drafted in 2003. Hardly a rookie.

Mon, 19 Oct 2009 17:31:54 GMT
NHL Eastern Conference Predictions
These are my predictions for the NHL Eastern Conference.

Rangers

The Rangers are off to a great start. Nothing new. Lunqvist does this every year. Don't credit anybody but Lunqvist and laugh at hockey analysis who make anything of the Rangers fast start. Lunqvist comes back to Earth as the season wears on him.

Senators

If Leclaire keeps it up, then expect the Sens near the top of the Northeast division.

Capitals and Penguins

The Pens and Caps will shoot it out again for the conference title.

Sabres

If Miller remains healthy, then the Sabres are playoff bound.

Thrashers

Great start. Maybe they can make the playoffs. Maybe. It's 50-50.

Devils

Still getting worse and relying on Brodeur more than ever. Brodeur will likely get them into the playoffs yet again. Someday he won't.

Flyers

Amazing team outside of management and goaltending. How do you put Randy Jones up for grabs? How do you gamble on the Emery headcase? If Emery doesn't implode the team, then they make the playoffs.

Bruins

Should easily make playoffs. GM is executive of the year for the Kessel trade. Last 12 months have put them into Stanley Cup contention for the next 10 years.

Lightning

They can't play defense. I feel sorry for their goaltenders.

Hurricane

Getting old. Need to surround Cam Ward with younger players. This is likely a good year for them to exit from the playoff picture and get a good draft pick. Ward may make that difficult.

Panthers

They suck again.

Canadians

Too much change in team personel, plus Andrei Markov not heathly, equals a lot of unfair doubt on Carey Price's skill and no playoff.

Islanders

The Isles will never make the playoffs until Garth Snow is fired.

Leafs

This franchise is turning into a joke. The Ducks cup win obviously had little to do with Brian Burke.
Thu, 30 Oct 2008 21:51:58 GMT
NHL Update

We just updated all the NHL rosters.

New Jersey Devils
Chicago Blackhawks
New York Islanders
Columbus Blue Jackets
New York Rangers
Detroit Red Wings
Philadelphia Flyers
Nashville Predators
Pittsburgh Penguins
St. Louis Blues
Boston Bruins
Calgary Flames
Buffalo Sabres
Colorado Avalanche
Montreal Canadiens
Edmonton Oilers
Ottawa Senators
Minnesota Wild
Toronto Maple Leafs
Vancouver Canucks
Atlanta Thrashers
Anaheim Ducks
Carolina Hurricanes
Dallas Stars
Florida Panthers
Los Angeles Kings
Tampa Bay Lightning
Phoenix Coyotes
Washington Capitals
San Jose Sharks
Wed, 22 Oct 2008 05:58:05 GMT
Even It Up Reffing

I really hate, even it up reffing. Last night, the Calgary Flame's Rene Bourque got a deserved 9-minute penalty, leading to a 9-minute power play for the Washington Capitals. The next 8 penalties and 16 minutes were called against the Capitals in one of the most blatantly obvious attempts to even up the penalties that I've ever seen. The refs Chris Lee and Bill McCreary are official idiots, although we've long known Bill to be. BTW, I'd like to thank Bill once again for all the homer calls in international hockey. I can't believe he hasn't been fired yet. The announcers are just as stupid as they actually tried to justify the 8 penalties in-a-row. A great victory for the Flames, except that they needed massive help from the refs.

http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2008020086

Tue, 02 Oct 2007 16:20:53 GMT
Steve Downie 20 Games - Episode #6

I recorded a new episode of the talk-sports.net podcast on time for the first time since Thursday. We had to cancel yesterday's show. Sorry.

Southeast Preseason Preview

http://recordings.talkshoe.com/TC-53113/TS-47444.mp3

Fri, 14 Apr 2006 01:01:49 GMT
Leafs can't draft

As we all know, the Toronto Maple Leafs can't draft players. So, I wondered, which teams can? As this is the year of the rookie (caused by a double crop of rookies), let's go thru the top 10 rookie scorers and find out who drafted them and when.

  1. Ovechkin, Capitals (1st overall)
  2. Crosby, Penguis (1st overall)
  3. Boyes, Leafs (24th)
  4. Jokinen, Stars (192)
  5. Svatos, Avalance (227)
  6. Vanek, Sabres (5)
  7. Phaneuf, Flames (9)
  8. Prucha, Rangers (240)
  9. Wellwood, Leafs (134)
  10. Steen, Leafs (24)

As we all know, the Leafs media are dumb. Next time you hear on 590 or 640 AM radio or read in the Toronto newspapers that the Leafs can't draft, remember the truth.

Sat, 11 Feb 2006 22:15:07 GMT
Caps sign Olaf Kolzig

CP: The Washington Capitals signed goaltender Olaf Kolzig to a $10.9 million US, two-year contract extension Saturday.

http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Hockey/NHL/Washington/2006/02/11/1437584-cp.html

Randy: I was really hoping the Leafs would trade Belfour and something for Kolzig. Oh well, maybe Theodore is the cheaper prize now.

Wed, 09 Nov 2005 21:26:59 GMT
Leafs v. Capitals, Game 16

The difference between Sunday's game against the Capitals and Tuesday game against the Capitals can be summarized as "Belfour stopped letting in bad goals after the 1st period." In both games, the Capitals had a lot of low quality shots on goal that evaded Tellqvist all game.

The reffing was somewhat better except that they continue to call it hooking when a players stick lightly touches another player. If you wanna create a new rule banning touching other players with your stick. Calling it hooking, when the stick isn't impeding the player at all, is kinda dumb.

Lines

D

Mon, 07 Nov 2005 11:06:40 GMT
Leafs v. Capitals, Game 15

You can point your finger at two players who won this game for the Capitals; Tellqvist and McCabe. McCabe has turned into the best scoring defenseman in the game, unfortunately they are only counting the goals he's scoring on the oppositions net. He scored the winning goal tonight on a shot by Ovechkin, a beautiful 100% intentional tip that left Tellqvist helpless. Mind you, had McCabe not deflected the puck, then the 60-ft shot may have evaded Tellqvist anyways, who let a few softies get past him tonight.

Lines

D

Fri, 04 Nov 2005 00:12:01 GMT
Leafs v. Hurricanes, Game 13

First Period

Intermission Notes

2nd Period

Intermission Notes

3rd Period

Lines

D

Fri, 21 Oct 2005 00:18:05 GMT
Leafs v. Canes, Game 7

First period

Second period

Third

Overtime

Game thoughts

Lines

D

Wed, 05 Oct 2005 16:56:04 GMT
Southeast Division Predictions
  1. Tampa Bay - Without Khabibulin, this is no longer a Stanley Cup contender. But still enough firepower up front to win the division easily.
  2. Florida Panthers - Very strong in net with Luongo, average everywhere else. They have a chance at making the playoffs.
  3. Carolina Hurricanes - Mediocre all around. Doesn't look like a playoff team.
  4. Atlanta Thrashers - Hossa is gonna find out it's a lot hard to score on a bad team. They need work on their golf game.
  5. Washington Capitals - An awesome youngster named Ovechkin and the worst D in hockey history; Biron, Heward, Witt. It's a good thing they have three goalies (Zolzig, Johnson, Ouellet).
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