Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The playoffs are a sad time

See, things weren't all good last spring. Do you remember the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you saw that Roloson wasn't actually getting up? Like you'd just spent $500+, every second day for the last two months and 23 percent of your liver to have Ty Conklin curb-stomp your testes with his skates on, if you were anything like me. Before that day, I didn't really know the pain of being a hockey fan, and almost nothing I've experienced since or could possibly experience hurt like that. Except maybe our team turning into a soulless, rudderless, historically bad group of AHL forwards and feckless defenceman less than a year after. That sucks, too.

Anyway, to rip off a line from Weird Al, there's no more time for crying over spilled milk, now it's time for crying in our beer, as we survey the NHL playoff picture without ourselves anywhere near it. I'll maintain at least a passing interest in the playoffs, probably tuning in when I've got nothing better to do, hoping to catch the odd OT marathon on CBC, and I'll check out the first few games of the Finals, too. Like most of the commenters on the post below, I think my allegiances are pretty much with Pittsburgh, the Islanders and maybe some Minnesota, though the practical fan in me wants to see the Ducks get to the finals and lose it, for that juicy first-round pick.

Anyway, though, enough of that: this was supposed to be some kind of first-round playoff preview, not a chance to insult Conklin and get "Dare to be Stupid" stuck in my head. Onwards and upwards, as painful as it is.

Eastern Conference

(1) Buffalo vs. (8 )NYI

I'd really like to see Smytty take them for a run, but without their 15-year man the Isles' goaltending couldn't stop a refrigerator from rolling uphill, and Buffalo won the Presidents' trophy with multiple injuries to top-line players. I think Buffalo will probably get torched by a more playoff-ready team, but the Isles needed a shootout against a Brodeur-less Jersey to make the post-season. Thanks for keeping the Leafs out, though. SABRES IN 4

(2) NJ vs. (7) Tampa Bay

Man, I can't imagine a series I could possibly care less about. I'd rather watch Azerbaijan play Nunavut for the right to wear paisley sport coats with pink striped pants. The only way this series gets interesting is if Brad Richards guns down Martin Brodeur in an East Rutherford back alley because their sex-slave-for-heroin swap goes bad. BOREDOM IN 1

(3) Atlanta vs. (6) NYR

Atlanta could probably make a case for the worst third seed ever (thank you, incredibly stupid schedule!), whereas the Rangers played in a division that had four teams make the playoffs, so on paper at least this looks pretty one-sided. There's a small chance, I think, that Lehtonen could get hot, at which point Atlanta has enough firepower up front and grinder-types to win a series or two, but the Rangers have almost the exact same make-up, and they've done better with it throughout the season. I think it will be pretty even, though, with Hossa-Kovalchuk stealing a few games before Jagr, Shanahan et al close the deal. RANGERS IN 6.

(4) Ottawa vs. (5) Pittsburgh

Maybe I'm nuts, but I think whoever wins this series wins the conference. Sure, Pittsburgh is young and Ottawa to this point couldn't eat a jello mold in the playoffs without choking on it, but both these teams have had stupid-good runs in the last few months, and, like Carolina last year, have four solid forward lines who, if they can't necessarily be counted on to score (Ottawa less so than Pittsburgh), can at least keep the other team off the board while the superstars get a rest. With that in mind, Ottawa has been the better team (especially when you consider how shitty they started off), though I personally would love to see the Penguins go on a run. SENS IN 6.

Western Conference

(1) Detroit vs. (8) Calgary

Burn in hell, Flames fans. Keep the chicken bones away from Jarmoe, and tell Kipper to watch his blocker side. I hope Tanguay blows out his knee so hard, his ACL flies forth from his body and blinds Robyn Regher. I slept with your mother and drew a portrait of Shawn Horcoff on her ass, with accurate eye details. And you lost the last game of the season to one of the worst teams in NHL history. (Spits). WINGS IN 4

(2) Anaheim vs. (7) Minnesota

The Ducks are flat-out ridiculous against the WC playoff teams, though it's worth noting that the only time they played Minnesota with Gaborik was the first game, when he got injured, and they still split the series. The Wild would be in third if it wasn't for the fact that Vancouver had an even more improbable run than they did, though Anaheim, of course, was unbeatable until Pronger got injured, and is still pretty close to that with him in and out of the lineup. If this was anyone else, I'd take the Ducks no questions, but I think Minny might be the team that could send them home early. WILD IN 7.

(3) Vancouver vs. (6) Dallas

I'd like Vancouver more if, as Chris! mentioned, they hadn't just been given Roberto Luongo for a couple retro clown uniforms, but man do I still hate Dallas. The Stars could actually probably be something of a dark horse, since they were without Modano for a significant stretch, and played the Ducks and Sharks eight times a piece, so they're probably a bit better than their record, but nothing is sweeter to me than watching the Stars go out in the first round, which they will since Luongo has presumably not gotten less awesome over the last weekend. 'NUCKS IN 5.

(4) Nashville vs. (5) San Jose

Nashville should have walked away with the division after picking up Forsberg, but in retrospect they actually probably shouldn't have fucked with a first-place lineup that largely. I thought the Sharks were going to be a lot better than what they ended up as, and I still think they can be a lot better than they have been. It'll be tough, but I think the Sharks take it, if only because their second-round upset last year (eat it, fuckers!) gives them more grit. SHARKS IN 6.

UPDATE: Maggie made her picks today, too. Sabres, Devils, Thrashers, Penguins, Wings, Wild, Canucks, Predators.


Sideshow Raheem said...

I remember at the time, it wasn't the collision itself that was the worst part... it didn't look that bad... and seeing Conklin in goal was more of a hilarious-yet-sad novelty at that point, akin to seeing Toby Petersen on the powerplay.

But after the game, that presser with MacT... THAT was the worst part... I'll never forget the phrase "Goalie's not good, won't be back for the series".

Wait, why am I reliving this again?

gary b said...

when i want to make myself go absolutely crazy, i think "if only SCF Game #1 had been Jussi's turn in the backup goalie rotation."


Scarlett said...

I'll never get over seeing Roli laying on the ice, wondering and praying for him to return. I still have nighmares.

Good predictions. That's pretty much similar to mine.

D. said...

"Goalie's not good, won't be back for the series". I nearly choked when I heard that.

Darien said...

Speaking of which, Conklin might just win a cup on Miller's back. How's that for a nightmare scenario?

sacamano said...

The fact that you ensured to draw Horc with accurate eye details made me laugh for a goodly long time. Kudos, my friend. Kudos.

Scarlett said...

If you're gonna draw Horc, you must do his eyes justice!

Zodiac said...

Let's go Buffalo!

LittleFury said...

Anybody but ATL, NSH, CAL, VAN, DAL, PIT, BUF, ANA, TB, NJ. Go everyone else!

Lord Bob said...

If Ty Conklin and Chris Pronger are against each other for the Stanley Cup - seriously, there's, like, a 30% chance of that happening, guys - I'm probably going to spend the entire Stanley Cup finals laying in bed alternating between sobs and angrily throwing furniture like some kind of fat Incredible Hulk.

Zodiac said...

How can you NOT root for the Sabres?

You guys are history's greatest monsters!

Andy Grabia said...

I'm really, really sad and angry. It didn't really hit me until now. This fucking sucks...

katie said...

I remember that moment so clearly.. sitting beside my flame-loving roommate, turning to him and saying " Holy Sh*t. was Conks or Jussi on the bench? if it was Conks we are done for. we will lose this game for sure. oh dear god it's conks. alex, i might puke. i feel sick" and then we lost. oh i feel the illness in my stomach again.
your picks are pretty close to mine. i too would like to see a penguins run, seeing those young guys win it would be a riot.

James Mirtle said...

I still can't figure out why Conklin's still in the NHL.


D. said...

If Conklin wins the cup I will eat my computer.

Anonymous said...

Your Detroit/Calgary preview was the funnies thing I've ever read in my life. I understand that type of passion.

I take back what I posted in the other thread about sniffing asses, silver medals and the what not. Edmonton fans are funny.

I'm just sad I won't get to read a Chris beard blog this year. Oh well....