Monday, June 5, 2006

The Carolinas

North (Reasons to be optimistic)

<--The tallest man, the broadest shoulders, the longest tongue, the most minutes played.

Dwayne Roloson has had two games in the entire playoffs where he's had more than three goals scored on him (Detroit Game Four and Anaheim Game Four), and he didn't even look bad in either of those games. Let's also not forget goal four in the Detroit game was Lidstrom's pick and roll.

Shawn Horcoff is becoming quietly dominating, and I don't know that he's been properly slowed down at all in the playoffs. Teams are keying on Smyth, Hemsky and, to a lesser extent, Samsonov, and Horcoff is just getting his job done. He'll be the leading scorer in the final round, I think.

Carolina's defence has been getting the job done, but it's by committee (which isn't always bad, but still, who do you throw out, no questions asked, while protecting a lead late?), and could suffer hard under a good forecheck.

Carolina's forward depth has been talked about again and again, and it looks really good on paper, but they were basically playing Buffalo's AHL defence, and it took them seven games. Miller was a big part of that, sure, but the Canes also didn't exactly dominate the shot count through the series (with the exception of game two). Bergeron and Greene can give me a little bit of a sick feeling in our end sometimes, but they can't really be worse than Paetsch-Jillson AND Janik-Fitzpatrick (or whoever Buffalo was cobbling together by the end there), and if push comes to shove, we can always just play Pronger for 40 minutes a game. Right?

The Canes are cocky. Teemu Selanne was cocky, and now he's racing sportscars through Finland. They can call themselves the better team all they want--I don't care, so long as we get our name on the Cup.

Cam Ward might be getting tired. He was chased in Buffalo, and while Gerber is better than the average backup (certainly better than our backups), there's a reason they've been going with Ward. If we can shake him, and they start juggling goalies, it might be the crack we need.

Every year the Flames have gone to the Cup final, we've won the Stanley Cup the next year. Someone pointed that out in about September, to which I rolled my eyes and cursed our inescapable history. But, uh, you know, that was before we were in the Cup final.

The 99s--as Avi pointed out, it's taken exactly 99 games to get to the Cup final. And Horcoff was drafted 99th overall. Bob Cole his misidentified Jason Smith as Ryan Smyth 99 times. The Oilers rink staff have buried 99 loonies across the red line. Colonnade seats to the Stanley Cup Finals at Rexall cost $129, which is only $30 off from $99.
Jay-Z has 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one. WE ONCE HAD WAYNE GRETZKY! THAT HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING!

South (why I'm scared)

Every single TSN analyst has picked the Oilers to win. Hell, almost everyone in Canada is picking the Oilers to win. That just can't be good.

Carolina's forwards do look really, really good on paper. We've also favoured a kind of sit-back-and-wait approach these playoffs, which I'm just not sure is the most effective strategy with this team. It seems like we should go at their defence hard, not just sit around and let them forecheck and shoot us into oblivion.

Peter Laviolette is a smart coach, who will be able to adjust the way Randy Carlyle couldn't (and, uh, I guess Ron Wilson, too, for that matter). If we win game one, I fully believe Laviolette will have some strategy for beating us in game two (the Canes haven't lost two in a row since their first two against Montréal). MacT has done that well, too, of course, which makes me think this will be a long series.

As I pointed out when I predicted the Canes to come out of the east (it's true, I don't know how to link to the post, put scroll to the April archives and see), they're the best home team in the league, and even though they had a weak conference, they had the best record outside their division of anyone in the East.

This whole run is exactly like Calgary's, which doesn't bode well for the end. Oh, but will the fire of heaven rain down upon Flames fans if we end up going further. Prepare to get paid back for a full season of looking down your noses at us, you frickin' bastards.

Canes bloggers seems nice. We really need to get some hate going on here. Hey, Canes fans: Ron Francis was a heartless pussy. Yeah, I said it. No. Heart. And, uh, Zarley Zalapski wore a bra under his shoulder pads for every game, because it made him "feel like [the] princess of Neverland." He started a tradition that Glen Wesley carries forward to this day. It's also worth noting that "Brind'amour" is French for "0 for 2."



Dan-O-Mite said...

The run is not exactly like Calgary's. Calgary entered the final round after a grueling seven game round three and their opponents had almost a week of rest. It's the Oilers who've had the rest this time.

mike w said...

Calgary actually beat the Sharks in 6 games, but I concede the point. Another big difference is that Oilers aren't injury-riddled and playing 7th and 8th defencemen. Of course, the Oilers needed the rest and who knows how many players are nursing cracked ribs, bruised brains and broken feet.

gary b said...

I wouldn't worry too much about the 'support' of various TSN analysts, simian or otherwise. Their mojo is weak and noneffectual. Besides, the second we lose a game in this series, they'll all be off the bandwagon, just like after we lost game 4 of the Ducks series.

Just stick to worrying about the regular playoff jinx sort of stuff, you know, like wearing the right number of hats during the game, or avoiding eating things that are red, or ONLY eating things that are red, and so forth. we'll be fine.

Chris said...

Ahhh, but TSN's most accurate analyst, Maggie the Monkey is predicting us. She's got a fairly good track record which puts the other analysts to shame.

Doogie2K said...

I find it horribly sad that the Goddamned monkey is the only one who can't fall below .500 after all of this. SHE HAS FUCKING CLINCHED ALREADY. What does this say about TSN's "analysts"? Do they overthink it? Underthink it? Throw darts at a scoresheet?

Dan-O-Mite said...

So, Mr Motors, Mr Ward has said that all of his "true friends" from home will cheer for Carolina. Will you?

Anonymous said...

Geez after all that refereeing you still have the audacity to write Lidstrom's pick? LOL

d-lee said...

Maggie has never correctly picked a Stanley Cup champ.

In 03, she picked the Ducks. In 04, she picked the Flames. This year, she picked the Oil.

I'm just sayin.

I'm not taking your "Ron Francis was a pussy" bait any more than you would take my "Gretzky was a fag".

However, there's no denying the love nest shared by Moose and Gary Coleman. You know exactly what I'm talking about.