Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The NHL Conference Finals Begin Tomorrow; Also, Free Concert Alert

Yeah, so. If you kept an eye on any news outlet, you already know that the Conservative attempt to use the Winnipeg Jets as a campaign platform got dumped on -- and hard -- by pretty much anybody who would have any say in it. So let's shift gears a little and talk about... hockey in other cities! Yeah!

I got pretty much nothing right in my second-round predictions, but I'm still going to make some quick predictions anyway. Because I'm not smart enough to know better. So!

Western Conference

(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (2) Anaheim Ducks

Hey, first seed versus second seed. How often does that happen?

Detroit's done quite well to make it this far (especially considering that, y'know, they usually don't in this situation), but I really can't imagine how they're getting out of this one alive. Except for randomly shooting pucks at the net as soon as possible, I'm having a hard time thinking of something Detroit does that Anaheim doesn't do better.

Detroit has a great goalie; Anaheim has two, in case one breaks. Detroit is a gritty team; Anaheim is a really gritty team. Detroit has a defenceman nominated for the Norris trophy; Anaheim has two defencemen nominated for the Norris trophy, and the two of them play enough combined minutes that there's almost always at least one of them out on the ice. (Mind you, all the Vezina nominees are out of the playoffs, so award nominations don't necessarily count for much.)

And on top of all that, it turns out that Randy Carlyle is a line-matching grandmaster genius -- as was obvious when he was working his wizardry and shutting down all of Vancouver's lines... in Vancouver.

If Detroit wins this one, I'll be mystified. But, hell, what do I know? I'm the same guy that thought the Sharks were going to score goals, or that the Atlanta Thrashers would accomplish anything.

What I'd Want: Anaheim in five.
What I'll Guess: Anaheim in six.

Eastern Conference

(1) Buffalo Sabres vs. (4) Ottawa Senators

Ooh, this is going to be an awesome series. This is going to be fast, this is probably going to be vicious because these teams hate each other furiously, the neutral zone's going to whirl around like a blender full of bingo balls -- and while I'm not specifically predicting another headhunting session, megabrawl and goalie fight between the two teams, I would not rule out the possibility entirely.

Ultimately, I both hope and believe that Buffalo's taking this one; Buffalo is going to jump all over the inevitable turnovers that seem ingrained into Ottawa's playstyle, and I suspect Ottawa only made it this far because of how completely and dramatically Brodeur suddenly declined for no conceivable reason. ("Well, I've got the puck, I'm way back here, I'll just shoot it in at the net really lightly and... whaaaaaat?")

I suspect that, whatever the Stanley Cup Finals turn out to be, they might seem rather underwhelming after this series.

What I'd Want: Buffalo in seven, and the series gets incredibly nasty and violent by the end of Game Two.
What I'll Guess: Buffalo in six, and the series gets incredibly nasty and violent by the end of Game Four.

Game One of the Eastern Finals happens tomorrow night, so I'm probably not going to see it; I'll be out and about playing video games with dudes and folks. And Game One of the Western Finals happens Friday night, so I'm definitely not going to see it -- and that leads me into the other portion of this post.

Anybody who knows me knows my deep appreciation for things that I receive without paying for. (I am the quintessential Winnipeg big-spender.) There are quite a few long and involved stories about this trait, many of them fond remembrances of my university free-stuff glory years, but suffice it to say that I do not turn down items or events that are offered for the sum of zero dollars.

So when I saw that flyer downtown after work (and it's a hard flyer to miss -- it got put up seemingly everywhere), stuck on a posting board right across the street from the Urban Bakery -- well, who am I to refuse a setup that serendipitous?

Granted, mashups are sort of a bizarre genre exercise -- but, at the very least, they're always good for messing with your friends' heads. This sort of thing is right up my alley (the mashups, I mean, not the messing with heads... although, yeah...), as most bizarre genre exercises are, so I'm figuring I'll have a blast. I'm figuring you will, too, if you get in on it!

Do you have something better lined up for this Friday night than going out and having a grand time, dressing up nice to listen to charmingly weird music? Because I sure don't! And I'm not just saying that because I'm cheerfully self-deprecating about my social life these days!

Now, if anybody needs me, I'll be returning to what I was doing before I wrote this post; it's good to take a brief break now and then from the important business of melting from the heat. God, no wonder crowds love hockey in May.

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