As I understand, the rest of the world does not celebrate ice hockey as we Canadians do, so I figured a quick primer for the rest of the world would be required. This primer is specifically geared to the teams that made the playoffs and focuses on the Canadian based teams that qualified. Vancouver fans may not like this very much so avert our eyes and move on. Please ask your questions in the comments and I will do my best to enlighten you.
Lets see how I did and then predict the second round.
I called Rangers in 5. The series went seven and I came away impressed with the Senators. I think they are back and must be considered a budding force in the future.
Once again the Bruins were Drydened. Braden Holtby, a 22-year-old rookie goalie, picked up the Capitals, put them on his back and defeated the reigning cup champs in 7 games. A notable event, all 7 games were decided by 1 goal, the first time that has ever happened. The Bruins lost with class, the Caps won with class. Kudos t both teams for an entertaining series.
Florida wasn’t a mirage. They extended the devils to 7 games before losing to a better team. The devils move on.
It was the best series. A wild one with records set for goals scored and both teams showed a complete lack of defense. Not to mention the obvious dislike between the teams. I call Pittsburgh in 6, I was close. Philadelphia won in 6.
Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings
I am happy to report that, as I expected, the Kings easily won this series. The Canucks are a team in complete disarray. And for those Canuck fans clinging to the skilled team getting beat up by the inferior team, I have 3 things to refute that. How many “skilled” players are on the team. I count 2. LA won because they could roll 4 lines, the Canucks, on any night, had 1, maybe 2 decent lines. Their depth on the skill side does not exist. Second, in last years playoffs, they were the 2nd most penalized team in the league, following Anaheim, who only played 6 games. In the series against LA, Vancouver averaged 18.8 penalty minutes per game, whereas LA only had 10.6. One of two conclusions, they are as dirty as I say, or the refs hate them too. Expect Vancouver to be gutted in the off-season.
Gooaltending was the difference as the Blues cruised into the 2nd round, and they did so with number 2 goalie Brian Elliott. Number 1, Halak went down with an injury. He will be back in round 2.
Phoenix defeated the Hawks in a close series. The Coyotes are in the second round for the first time in their post-Winnipeg history.
Nashville moves on as expected. The Predators could go all the way this year.
Now for the second round predictions.
Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers
If Holtby continues his magic, the Capitals will win. If the Rangers solve him early, the it could be a sweep for New York. I think Holtby is for real, the Caps will win in a tough 6 game series.
Philadelphia Flyers vs New Jersey Devils
I pulled a number out of my hat and Philadelphia will win in 5.
Phoenix Coyotes vs Nashville Predators
Despite last nights loss, the Predators will prove to much for the Coyotes. It will go 6 games.
St Louis Blues vs Los Angeles Kings
Potentially a great series. I am picking the Kings only because I want to thank them for taking down the Canuckleheads.
The season is over, the seedings are done and now we begin the craziest 2 months in sports, the Stanley Cup playoffs. In order to become champion, a team must win 4 straight best of seven series, each one more intense than the previous. Players will be tired, bruised and battered, yet will carry on as if nothing was wrong to have a shot to carry the holy grail of sports. This coveted trophy was first handed out in 1893. yes 1893. The cup has been the exclusive domain of the NHL since 1926. This would make it the oldest trophy in North America. On to the predictions.
Ottawa is Canada’s only team this year (I refuse to acknowledge the Vancouver Canucks as a Canadian team) but they are in tough against the East’s 1st seed, the Rangers. I have to give the nod to the Rangers based on overall depth and goaltending. Rangers in 5.
Last years champs, the Bruins are in tough against a recently hot Washington team. Sorry T, but the Bruins overall depth and Tim Thomas will prove to much for the perennial under achievers. Maybe next year for Ovechikin and crew.
Florida is a mirage, Devils in 4.
Potentially the best series of the first round. It is to bad that one of these teams will be gone from the show early. Since Sidney Crosby returned, the Penguins have to be favoured to win it all. I call the Penguins in a tough 6 game victory.
Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings
Vancouver won the trophy for most points in the league for the second year in a row. Unfortunately, that doesn’t win the cup, but it does look pretty. I really believe that the Kings will win this, but I will predict that Vancouver will take it in 7 as they figure out that Cory Schneider is the answer in goal and move Burrows to the minors. Also, I can’t bash this bunch of losers if they aren’t in it anymore.
The Blues in 5. Goaltending will be the difference in this series and the Sharks move closer to dismantling a team that once had so much potential.
Another good series. The other Jets may just pull this off. The Hawks are hurting, but do have the firepower needed to win this one. Phoenix has depth and have played well all year. Tough to call, but Hawks in 7.
Another 4 vs 5 match-up that will send a very good team to the golf course before their time. Either team here could easily win the cup. The Red Wings have the experience and talent, the Predators got a taste of going deep into the playoffs last year and will want to go even deeper this year. Nashville will take this series in 6.
- Stanley Cup Odds 2012: Teams Most Likely to Raise Cup in June (bleacherreport.com)
- Stanley Cup Playoffs 2012: Power Ranking Every NHL Playoff Team (bleacherreport.com)
The Boston Bruins outstanding rookie,Tyler Seguin was next in line for his day with Stanley. Tyler made the leap from junior hockey straight to the NHL and, of course, a role in winning the Stanley Cup. He took the cup to Brampton, Ontario, where 2000 people gathered to help him celebrate. from there, he went to a friend’s home in Georgetown then to the Club Embassy in Toronto for the traditional pub crawl.
People began lining up in Peterborough at 7 in the morning to see Marc Savard and the Stanley Cup. While he didn’t play in the playoffs due to concussion issues, he is an integral part of the Bruins in the past and hopes to contribute in their defence of their title. After it’s time at Kawartha Golf & Country Club, it went to his home where 100 friends and relatives joined him for a gathering.
Next up was Chris Kelly, another lucky one. He was traded mid-season from the Ottawa Senators and instead of being out of the playoffs, he ended up on a contender and eventual winner of the Cup. The upside for Ottawa is they get to see the Cup up close, although not in the way we wanted to. Chris took the cup to a local hospital, was in a parade and ended the day with a family get together at his home, then supper at a local restaurant.
Shawn Thornton‘s day with the cup happened in Toronto. He hosted a supper at 360 The Restaurant in the CN Tower with the Stanley Cup. Afterwards, the cup went on a pub tour of Toronto and Oshawa before ending up back at the CN Tower for a day tour of the Edge Walk. The cup and Shawn were strapped in tightly for this.
From Shawn Thornton and Toronto/Oshawa, the cup was passed on to Daniel Paille. His day with the cup encompassed Welland, Niagara Falls and Niagara on the Lake in Ontario. More paraded, more pub crawls.
From Daniel, it was passed on to Rich (I am so happy to have been traded from Atlanta) Peverley. He spent his day in Guelph, Ontario.
- Shawn Thornton on Winning The Cup, His Golf Game, and Next Season (wzlx.radio.com)
- 7 Reasons Why Bruins Will Repeat as Stanley Cup Champions (bleacherreport.com)
There was no video of The Stanley Cup in Whitefish, Montana when I posted yesterday, but there is now. There is an intro that you may or may not want to watch, and the footage of it’s night in the Great Northern Bar in Whitefish with assistant coach Doug Houda starts at the 57 second mark.
Where has the Stanley Cup been for the last few days. The answer is Montana and California.. As the grand tour began, Jeremy Jacobs, the owner of the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins, fittingly, had the first go at it and took it to Yosemite National Park in California over the weekend. From there, it went to Whitefish, Montana on Tuesday with Assistant Coach, Doug Houda. More than 1000 people lined up in Whitefish to view the cup.
- Backstory: How Fresno found out the Stanley Cup was coming to Fresno (thedailydues.wordpress.com)
If you ever wondered just how special the Stanley Cup is, catch the video at this link. The video follows the cup around Massachusetts over the last couple of days. Wonder if there are any players from Calgary. It will make an appearance in Vancouver when Milan Lucic brings it home for his allotted time with the Cup.
- What secrets would Lord Stanley’s cup reveal if only it could talk (thehockeynews.com)