If you’re looking for factual, statistical analysis, you’ve come to the wrong place. This post is going to be based on nothing but what my murky crystal ball and tralalalafeelingbits tea leaves say.
Let’s start with the East (with my east coast bias and all)
#1 Washington vs. #8 Montreal
I’d love to see Montreal upset the Caps. Seeing Ovie go home with his tail between his legs would make me so happy. I cannot stand the way the media fawns over him like he’s the second coming. And I don’t like his style of play. Sure, he’s aggressive, but at times he’s often reckless ( just ask Brian Campbell). Sure, Montreal has noted Crunchy breaker Scott Gomez, but Gomez’s transgressions do not match up to Ovechkin’s. If we look at fanbases, sure Montreal fans can be annoying (that damn “Ole” song) and have a tendency to act like they’ve never been there before (rioting after the first round a couple years ago), but it sure beats whining and calling other fanbases classless because they haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid and see your star player as the league’s lord and savior.
On the positive side of things, Montreal kicks Washington‘s ass in the mascot department. Youppi just rocks. The Habs saved Youppi from being sent to a farm in rurual Quebec, for pete’s sake! It’s a mascot rebirth and a well deserved second life for an awesome character. If you need a giggle, go to the Habs site and make Youppi dance and cheer. Hilarious.
All of that said, unless Montreal pulls off a miracle (or Washington gets too cocky), I think the Caps will win in 6.
#2 New Jersey vs. #7 Philadelphia
Judging from what I know about the Devils from reading Interchangeable Parts, I should be running far far away from picking the Devils in this series. But hello, they’re playing the Flyers. The Flyers were the ones whose management was forced to sign Chris Pronger so that a grownup would be in the room. Their captain held a media blackout because he didn’t like what the media was saying about him. And for some reason this season, they appear to be cursed by the ghost of Pelle Lindburgh, as Flyers goalies were dropping like flies in the latter portion of the season. (Admit it, you all thought the Flyers would have to put an orange construction pylon in the crease at some point.) And while Brodeur has his moments, Brodeur trumps Boucher.And if the Devils offense pulls their collective heads out of their collective arses, they could be dangerous.
In the battle of the mascots, New Jersey wins by default, since Philly doesn’t have a formal mascot. And NJ Devil still trumps Philly’s unofficial mascot of asshole fans.
Prediction: Devils in 7, but Pronger makes a stupid, useless and injurious gesture at some point.
#3 Buffalo vs. #6 Boston
This matchup seems to be the one that the professionals think has the biggest chance of garnering an upset. Goaltending in this series is a push, as Miller/Lalime cancel out Rask/Thomas, unless Thomas becomes sieve-like, then the advantage swings towards the Sabres. The Bruins were last in the league in scoring, but were deadly when it came to penalty killing (you all heard about the three shorties on one power play on Saturday). The Sabres defense is killer, when it’s not having it’s moments (Yes, Rivet and Sekera/Butler, I’m looking at you three). The Sabres have some slight injury problems, as Stafford, Hecht and Connolly all are members of the walking wounded. But the kids called up from Portland have done so much more than be a band aid over the bullet hole of their absence.
In the battle of the mascots, it’s a close battle between Sabretooth and Blades. While Blades has a kickass series of commercials, Sabretooth is on Twitter. How he manages to tweet with those large furry paws, I still do not know. I have trouble navigating Twitter on my iPod touch and I have normal sized fingers. While Sabretooth has his own house, Blades has his own biography on the Bruins website. But you know what pushed Sabretooth over the edge here? The fact that Sabretooth rumbled with the Geico gecko. I presume the tiger won. Heh.
Prediction: Sabres in 6. (Because when a sabretooth battles a bear, the ‘tooth wins every time.)
#4 Pittsburgh vs. #5 Ottawa
Is there any doubt that I’d love to see Pittsburgh win this one? Crosby and Malkin trump Alfredsson and Spezza. And Ottawa has Chris Neil, who never met a dirty hit, play or turtle that he didn’t like. Pittsburgh also gets hockey and doesn’t hokey it up too much, ahem Ottawa.
Prediction; Pens in 5.
And now onto the Western Conference…
#1 San Jose vs. #8 Colorado
A notorious playoff choker versus an eighth seed? Push.
That said, I think San Jose is going to overwhelm the Avs. Something tells me this is the year they throw off the mantle of playoff choker.
Prediction: Sharks in 6.
#2 Chicago vs. #7 Nashville
I’d love to see the Predators go far in the playoffs in order to see JP Dumont’s playoff beard develop into it’s full lumberjack beard. In my opinion, I feel like this series might be the one with the biggest upset potential if Nashville can find a way to manage Chicago’s offensive firepower. However, I have a soft spot for Chicago thanks to some lovely ladies on Twitter, and the Hawks addicting goal song got me to go out and buy a Fratellis CD. Also, Tommy Hawk is a much more “original” mascot than Nashville’s Sabretooth wannabe, Gnash.
Prediction: Chicago in 6
#3 Vancouver vs. #6 Los Angeles
I have a soft spot for the Canucks. It must be from watching them on HNiC and having the Sedins and Luongo on my fantasy team, not to mention that the Canucks and the Sabres are 1970 league entry twins. Henrik Sedin and his fellow Swedish Canucks have a great scoring touch and if Luongo can stop making like a cheap hooker and keep his legs closed, the Canucks can go far. And the Canucks also have Ryan Kesler, the player whom I most wish Miller would have smuggled home from Vancouver in his suitcase. His gritty determined style is exactly what is needed in the playoffs.
Prediction: Canucks in 6.
#4 Phoenix vs. #5 Detroit
Phoenix has got to be the people’s favorite going into these playoffs. The franchise has been through a ton this year with the ownership issues and the constant rumors of being moved here, there and everywhere. If Phoenix manages to knock off Detroit, someone will have to be standing behind Bettman with the paddles at the ready, considering a team that isn’t in a traditional hockey market knocked off the self-proclaimed “Hockeytown.” And really, it’s about time someone knocked off Detroit. I’m tired of them making it to the Cup Finals. As Herb Brooks would say, “screw ‘em.”
Prediction: Coyotes in 7.
I wish WGRZ had put the Sabres superstition video from today’s 6pm newscast on the web. The video contained Rip Simonick explaining how previous players had their own little rituals (personal ashtrays, riding to the rink with your right winger on the passenger side of the car, etc) and the current Sabres denying that they have “superstitions,” just “habits.” Hearing about the former Sabres superstitions was neat, and I would have loved to have heard more from Simonick. However, did Channel 2 expect to have the Sabres fully explain their superstitions/habits/rituals? The Sabres know enough to not reveal information that would make them appear completely effing insane to the average person watching the 6pm news (you know, the ones that might not know that sometimes hockey players can be completely crazy about things like that).