Monday, April 29, 2013


With the coming of spring in Canada, with the melting snow and gathering of people to shiver on patios with the slightest hint of sunshine and warm temperatures, we turn our thoughts to the great ritual of the new season: NHL playoff hockey. Hockey is supposed to be a winter sport, but the truly meaningful games are now played in spring, when we should be thinking of baseball .... wait a minute, the way the Jays are playing right now, bring on the Cup!!

I know that there are many readers ( 2 or 3 of you ) who are not hockey fans, but who really need to participate with your fellow Canadians in this ritual. I humbly offer to you these predictions as to who will win the various playoff rounds and, ultimately, the Stanley Cup itself.  This service will make even the most hockey illiterate person sound like a reasonable version of Don Cherry. ( If you aspire to such lofty heights of hockey red-neckism ) Read on, gentle puck-head !!


1) Chicago Blackhawks vs Minnesota Wild

The 'Hawks had a season to remember ... well, 48 games to remember. They have a top 5 that is, arguably, the best in the league, and a solid defence and goaltending. The Wild are an NHL team ... that's about all I know about them.

'Hawks in 5 games.

2) Anaheim Ducks vs Detroit Red Wings

Nobody saw any Anaheim games on TV, but apparently they are a good team. Getzlaff and Perry ( not a law firm) had good seasons. Bruce Boudreau is the coach and he swears a lot. Detroit had to get used to losing their best player and one of the greatest defencemen in NHL history this year and had an up and down year. But they've been good lately and have lots of veterans and a hot goalie.

Ducks in 7 games. Could be a really good series.

3) Vancouver Canucks vs San Jose Sharks

Vancouver seemed to survive the goaltending controversy quite nicely, but they are a team with a reputation of not really delivering the goods. San Jose is also a team that is usually in the playoffs but haven't gone far or deep since Arturs Irbe was their goalie. Still, I don't like Vancouver, so I'm picking

Sharks in 6 games.

4) St. Louis Blues vs Los Angeles Kings

Kings are the defending champs and still have a good young team. They seem to save their best for the playoffs ( just ask Brian Burke ... hockey fans will get that joke ). St. Louis has always been a miserable team as far as I'm concerned, but I like Brian Elliot as a goalie because he's from Newmarket.

Kings in 6 games.

5) Pittsburgh Penguins vs New York Islanders

Penguins have an abundance of star players, and if they get Crosby back, they will be hard to stop. The Islanders are looking for Denis Potvin and Chico Resch to see if they're interested in lacing them up again. Actually, the Islanders had a good season, coming back from the NHL version of purgatory, but it ends this week.

Penguins in 4 games.

6) Montreal Canadiens vs Ottawa Senators

In my version of the hockey universe, both teams would lose. However, since that's not possible, I must grudgingly admit that this has the potential to be the best series in the first round. Habs had a great season ... I have no idea how they did it. Ottawa survived injuries to key players and just kept grinding away. Karlsson is back and Spezza is rumoured to be close. This could be really good.

Senators in 7 games.  Seven games in overtime ???

7) Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers

Capitals sucked for most of the season, then went on an outrageous roll when Ovechkin realized that he was still a good hockey player. The Rangers struggled at times, but have some stars on their roster. This will be close and could be a good series.

Capitals in 7 games.

8) Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs

Leafs in the playoffs ??? Wow !! Both teams are tough and sometimes violent, but there are some good skilled players in both lineups. It really depends on the goalies, Tukka Rask for the B's and James Reimer for the Buds. Phil Kessel needs to rid himself of the timid play in Boston, and the Bruins need Chara and the defence to shut the Leafs down. My heart says Leafs, but my head says

Bruins in 6 games. Might be the bloodiest series ... Don Cherry will go apoplectic.

SECOND ROUND     ( I hope I have these match-ups right )

9) Chicago vs Los Angeles

'Hawks have too much for the Kings. 'Hawks in 5 games.

10) Anaheim vs San Jose

I might watch them in this series for the first time this year. I'm guessing Ducks in 6.

11) Pittsburgh vs Ottawa

The Sens will be inspired in the 2nd round, but the Pens have too much. Penguins in 6.

12) Washington vs Boston

Toughness wins out here. Washington need to really grow a pair, but they won't. Bruins in 6.

THIRD ROUND      (now, I'm really guessing !! )

14) Chicago vs Anaheim

Potentially a great series. Depends on injuries at this point. Still the 'Hawks are scary good. 'Hawks in 7.

15) Pittsburgh vs Boston

If the Pens stay relatively healthy, they have the skill edge. But don't count the Bruins out. Bruins in 7.


16) Chicago vs Boston

An Original Six match-up. This will be close and hard fought. 'Hawks will win in 6 games.

Now you know. Let the debate begin. Enjoy !!

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