Sports by Randy Charles Morin.
Copyright 2005-10 Randy Charles Morin
Owned by Rapid Spiral Development Inc.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even the NHL agrees the hit was not worthy of punishment beyond the game penalty he received. This isn't even in the same league as the Bertuzzi incident.
These police, IMHO, see an opportunity for them to be on national and american television and are whoring themselves out for their 15 minutes of fame.
I also had a recent incident with the provincial Quebec police. They drove and flew down from Montreal to serve me a warrant for the servers at my business address. What a fkn waste of my tax money. Just another reason why ur Canadian taxes are too high.
Let's talk about the waste. The warrant was for data on servers at my business address. Any idiot with a brain could've figured out that my business address was a fkn mailbox. So the subpoena was for servers I store in my fkn mailbox. Trust me, I laugh about this almost daily. Do you need a high school education to join the police force?
After driving down from Montreal to find out that I don't actually store servers in my mailbox, they contacted the local police to find my home address. That must've been embarrassing and they pulled in the local police to waste their fkn time too. WOOT! Hear ur taxes flushing down the toilet.
They knocked at my door and asked "politely" if they could talk, or else, they would get a subpoena for my house. Hehe! Should called them on it. Made them drive back to Montreal for the subpoena for my house. And when they returned, I could'a told 'em I don't host any servers in my house either. Try a little detective work b4 u waste my tax money further. A simple whois query could saved them a lot of time and our money.
I gave them what they wanted. I didn't want them wasting anymore of my tax money. They don't think they have enough evidence to proceed. Convenient waste. Thanks!
So why r they doing this? Because it involves Sidney Crosby and they might get their picture in the paper. Meanwhile, some real crime is taking place in Montreal and the cops are too busy to respond. Thanks!
We live in a fkd up world. Chara pushed a guy at a bad time into a badly misplaced hard spot. Some cops are gonna take advantage of this and get their name on TV and in the paper. The fkd up part isn't the incident, its the attention whores taking advantage of it.
I don't know exactly who this person is, but they've been posting ridiculous crap on Talk-Sports and other websites since August of this year. All that I know is that they are from Montreal, Quebec as indicated by their IP address. They think that Marketa, Sidney Crosby and myself are part of a big conspiracy to place hook files on people's computers. And supposedly the police are helping us cover it up.
Latest rant about the hookfile. They figure if they use big words and technical terms that they'll seem intelligent. This person is severely paranoid.
Their wordpress blog.
Recent press releases likely written by the same person.
Some original claims they've posted on Talk-Sports
His recent posts.
A Facebook post.
Their FB account.
Nice draft pick steal by the Thrashers. Both a 2nd and 3rd rounder for a very old overpaid d-man in Matthieu Schneider. Montreal also has a condition pick coming back. It better be high. The Canadiens had lots of salary room to add players, which is now gone along with 2 draft picks. I don't understand this. Kaberle might have been available to them in the next few days.
We just updated all the NHL rosters.
Northeast Preseason Preview
The Gazette: Every penny Raymonde raises will go to the Jacques Plante Foundation, which she created six months after her husband's death to assist promising young goalies in Switzerland.
Randy: It would appear that Canada's men's hockey team was foiled at the Olympics from beyond the grave by the greatest Canadian goalie ever, Jacques Plante. Swiss or should I say Jacques Plante defeated Canada 2-0 on a 49-save shutout by Martin Gerber.
The is the highlight video from Sidney Crosby's first game agains the Habs. No not the recent one in Montreal, but the original game in Pittsburgh when Crosby knocked the water bottle off the net in the shootout.