I’ll go over my picks. Round 1:
Wild. I’m going with Blues, not just because I feel they’ll go all the way, but there isn’t an easier team to beat in the first round. Sure Minnesota has Dubnyk and that’s been a wonderful story all season, but do they really have what it takes to go past round 1? I doubt it. If they were playing anyone other than the Avs last year, would they have gotten to the 2nd round then? I doubt it. Parise is good, but his supporting players are questionable. The only thing that makes me a little worried about my decision is that 42 of the Wild’s 46 wins were in regulation or overtime. But really, that doesn’t mean too much when the Blues won their division. Blues also have more pieces that can be truly dangerous. Backes, Tarasenko, Oshie, Steen, Schwartz. And those are just a few. Wild aren’t terrible, which is why I think they’ll go down in 6. Maybe 7 but I think the Blues won’t let it get that far. Nashville vs CHICAGO. This is one where I think goaltending won’t be what wins the series. Rinne is superior to Crawford in so many ways, Crawford is nothing but above average and Rinne is arguably elite. But when it comes down to it HE IS MARION HOSSA AND YOU ARE NOT. Toews is wonderful and although I’m a hater, Kane should be back and that guy is really good. Saad is one of my new favorite non-Sharks players in the league. Kid’s got a good future ahead of him. Preds will put up a fight and it’ll be very entertaining but Blackhawks will win in 7.
Jets. I loathe the Ducks. With a passion that is only rivaled by my hatred for the Kings. But in this, I give it to the Ducks. Goaltending will win this one. I do, however, look forward to the many Corey Perry and Getzlaf tantrums during the one inevitable loss they suffer in this round. Ducks win in 5. Winnipeg continues to be irrelevant. \ Canucks vs FLAMES. I absolutely love Johnny Gaudreau. He is a delight to watch and a gift to the NHL. He will have a hell of a series and combined with Hiller and if the Flames can ice a roster that isn’t too full of GRIT and guys who are only GOOD IN THE ROOM, they can easily take the Canucks. Lack is good but will forever be a backup much like my beloved Stalock. Even with Miller coming back after I believe the 1st game, they don’t stand a chance. Maybe the Sedins use their creepy twin powers and get lots of points. And maybe Bo Horvat has a great playoffs. But Calgary is riding a wave of PDO driven luck and it’ll continue for quite awhile I believe. They’ll go far. Plus Fuck the Canucks they lose in game 7 in a very heartbreaking fashion causing me to laugh uncontrollably.
Senators. This is another that will undoubtedly be won by goaltending. Holy crap on a cracker Carey Price is good. He is by far and away the Vezina winner this year. He leads the league in every goalie category. Hammond has had a great run and also been a great story during the end of the season, but let’s face it, he’s just not as good. Add in the Habs having PK Subban, Pacioretty, Markov, Desharnais and they’re pretty tough to beat. Did I mention CAREY PRICE IS LIKE REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD??? Yeah, they’re sweeping and it’ll be fun to watch. Lightning vs RED WINGS. I don’t like the Red Wings on principle, but I’ll give this one to them in 7. Nyquist and Tatar are reason enough even without Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Kronwall, Abdelkader, Helm…you get the idea. Stamkos is good and will hold them to a full series along with some of their rookies having good campaigns, but they don’t stand a chance to go into the 2nd round. And it hurts to pick Detroit on this one.
Penguins. DAN BOYLE WILL BE A PLAYOFF HERO IN THE FIRST ROUND AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT THIS! OK…so that will probably not happen but Rangers have 2 ex-Sharks so I have to root for them in this round. Shep could be a solid 4th guy line for them and depth is key in the post season, like it always is. I also wanted Pens to not make it for not lottery protecting the pick they traded away and I’m not about to start cheering them on now. Rangers in 6. Capitals vs ISLANDERS. I have loved what the Islanders have been doing the last few years, even when it seemed like their moves made absolutely no sense and their fans got all in an uproar. Starting with the Moulson trade, everything they did was good for their rebuild around Tavares and that’s why they’re in the playoffs now. They were my Eastern pick early in the season and I’m just relieved they made it so I at least could call that much. Tavares is one of the best in the league and in my opinion doesn’t get enough love. Probably because he plays for the Islanders. When they traded for Leddy and for Boychuk, they simply did what I wanted the Sharks to do and it’s paid off immensely. So good for them. I really like Ovechkin (best shooter in the world) and Holtby is my 2nd favorite goalie in the league (after Price of course) but the supporting cast in NY is what’s going to get them to the finals and the Caps will continue to be Sharks East. Which is too bad because I REALLY REALLY REALLY DO LIKE OVECHKIN. Series goes to 6 games.
Chicago. Even Hossa will be no match for Backes. Because Backes. Kane will continue to make me hate him by not doing much of anything and Toews will look very very sad right before the handshake line. Blues win because Backes. (Sorry Desi…no cup for you) Ducks vs FLAMES. Flames win this one because their crazy luck will still be going and Ducks will continue to have tantrums on the ice. Hiller beats his old team because that’s what the playoffs are for and all the Anaheim fans will forget hockey is in their town on their way back to Disneyland.
Red Wings. Price will continue to be perfect and Red Wings will run out of octopus…octopi…octopuses…whatever, they lose and Zetterberg’s beard will be sad. Rangers vs ISLANDERS. Sorry to my ex-Sharks on the team but they won’t last against the might that could be the Islanders. Isles have an ex-Shark too so I won’t feel too bad about it all. Kennedy was vastly misused in San Jose but that’s a different story. Islanders win because Tavares will have a great series.
Flames. This is where the Flames luck will run out. Maybe they’ll take it to 7 games, maybe they’ll get swept. Either way, Johnny Hockey will have a great run and cement his place in all of our hearts. Blues continue to win because Backes. Canadiens vs ISLANDERS. Price is still human and can’t be perfect all the time. Unfortunately PK Subban is also human and can’t be perfect all the time. Even if there are no significant injuries to either team by this point, the Habs’ defense can falter and will falter. Islanders win in 7 because Price is still elite and won’t make it easy for the red-headed stepchild of NY teams.
STANLEY CUP FINALS:
Islanders. Backes wins Conn Smythe and retires to run a SPCA.
No matter what happens, the 2015 playoffs are gonna sure be interesting. I could be so wrong about all my picks and get nothing right because that’s how sports works. Either way the playoffs will be stress free as my team didn’t even make it. As a Sacramento Kings fan I am used to this feeling. (shit, even as a Raiders fan I’m used to this feeling) I would rather see my team choke, yet again, than be left out of the party alltogether but maybe…just maybe…this will be fixed in the offseason and next year will be better.
(IS IT OCTOBER YET?)