Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Stanley Cup Playoff Quarter-Finals Start(ed) Tonight

Okay, okay, I know. These are probably better posted before the first games of the second round are on. Humour me! I'm a busy dude.

Eastern Conference

(1) Montreal Canadiens vs. (6) Philadelphia Flyers

Did I expect both teams to have played seven games by this point? No, sir. No I did not.

Montreal's a fun team, and I'd like to see them move on, but let's just establish right now that I would be perfectly fine with the Flyers advancing here. My affections were largely neutral between them and Washington when the first round started, but the Flyers organization and the Philly fanbase really stepped it up: "VENGEANCE NOW" is the greatest god damn slogan I have seen in years, and if I die tomorrow I want you guys to write that on my tombstone as my epitaph.

Montreal went undefeated against Philadelphia all season, but then again that's what they did against Boston and we know how that turned out. So I'm pretty sure that Montreal will win this series, but I'm also pretty sure that they'll have a couple of really awful games where they give up at least five goals.

And I really enjoy watching the Flyers -- plus come on, "VENGEANCE NOW", seriously -- but really they'd only made it this far because Tom Poti of the Capitals took a force-ten stupid penalty in overtime of Game Seven. (It is a really bad idea to blatantly trip a dude when you are in overtime of Game Seven.) So Montreal may have been lazy and overrated for the last series, and they may still get lazy and overrated for this series, but they'll still pull through regardless.

What I'd Want: Montreal in seven, despite the Flyers bodychecking everything on the ice and their fans sporting "WE HOPE YOU DIE" shirts.
What I'll Guess: Montreal in, say, six.

(2) Pittsburgh Penguins vs. (5) New York Rangers

Man, what the hell, they may has well have given both these teams byes in the first round. Pittsburgh swept Ottawa handily because Ottawa is a collection of morons who made a point of playing the wrong goalie, and New York beat New Jersey handily in five because Martin Brodeur Gerbered it up and forgot how to play hockey. (And hey, nice faceoff, Madden!)

So both teams are pretty well rested, haven't faced too much in the way of adversity yet, and will probably take a little while to get good and fired up. So if solid, tightly-structured defensive hockey is your thing, then you are going to hate this series so hard because there are going to be anywhere from five to eleven goals in all of these games.

What I'd Want: Pittsburgh in five, and Georges Laraque scores at least six points.
What I'll Guess: Pittsburgh in six, but the media spends more time talking about Sean Avery than about Sidney Crosby and Jaromir Jagr combined.

Western Conference

(1) Detroit Red Wings vs. (6) Colorado Avalanche

Yeah, so Forsberg's injured. He made it through a whole series first, though, so I guess I would have lost if anybody had organized a pool on it.

The coach took the news well, of course:

"Obviously, you miss Peter's talent because he attracts a lot of attention from the opposition," Quenneville said. "But we're used to him being in and out of the lineup."

For a statement of support, that's actually quite depressing. "Yeah, he's broken again, but ah well. He's made out of very talented glass."

Anyway. Red Wings and Avalanche! This is always fun to watch, and I'm sure this series will be awesome even though Patrick Roy is now busy being old and watching his son flip a shit and attack people. Between the Jonathan Roy incident and the whole rioting thing, the province of Quebec has as late been making the point that it takes its hockey very seriously.

But I digress!

I wasn't really impressed by Detroit in the first round (you beat Nashville, ooooh), and truthfully I'd like to see half the team retire and get it over with just so the Central division can start getting interesting again. In the meantime, I like Colorado's general character a lot better and I like Colorado's old people more than I like Detroit's old people, so my allegiances are pretty much set on this one.

What I'd Want: Colorado in five, because Detroit winning the President's Trophy and then collapsing is always, always funny.
What I'll Guess: Colorado in seven, because Detroit won last time so now it's Colorado's turn.

(2) San Jose Sharks vs. (5) Dallas Stars

Speaking of old players, holy crap Stu Barnes is still playing hockey. The Winnipeg Jets drafted him when I was five! He's so old he makes me feel old just for having remembered him!

I so rarely get to see games with either of these two teams in them, so I'll probably get a kick out of this series. They're both likeable, legitimate Cup contenders (like Anaheim was until they forgot to stop punching people -- nice discipline, geniuses), full of talent and grit and great expectations -- and they really don't like each other very much after their last game. VENGEANCE NOOWWWWWW

What I'd Want: Tough call! We'll say Sharks in seven.
What I'll Guess: Sharks in five, because it is the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Marty Turco is scheduled to be bursting into flames any time now.

New Meanies concert tomorrow! Whoo!


Anonymous said...

You know what I think about the Detroit/Colorado hatefest. (In case you forgot, it's roughly opposite what you just said.)

Also, I may need a snail mail address from you in six hours. Just because. ;-)

James Howard said...

Yeah, I know. And I can certainly understand why Detroit maintains a fanbase; it's a very classy, very consistent, very good team that just happens to have a bunch of players who are as old as dirt.

(Dominik Hasek was drafted by the Blackhawks a year before I was born, and I was negative-three years old when the Canadiens drafted Chelios, so you can imagine my consternation when they keep coming back every year.)

Snail mail, you say! Well, my address is 35--wait a minute, what am I doing, people can read this. Fire me an email, bro!