NFL Playoffs - for the record

Just want to get my picks on the record before the fun starts tonight.

Round 1:

Canucks in 5 (this makes me sad)

Blues in 7

Coyotes in 7

Predators in 7

 

Rangers in 5

Bruins in 5

Devils in 6

Penguins in 7

 

Round 2:

Predators over Canucks in 7

Blues over the Coyotes in 6

 

Penguins over the Rangers in 5

Bruins over the Devils in 5

 

Round 3:

Predators over the Blues in 6

Penguins over the Bruins in 6

 

Cup final:

Penguins over the Predators in 6

Game 7 - Stanley Cup Final

Tonight is Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final, and I can't wait.  Game 7 of the Cup final is one of the biggest stages in all of sport, and, as cliche as it may be, is a time when household heros are born.  Not only will this conclude the season, Game 7 of the final does not happen often, which makes this spectacle even more special.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Stanley Cup is not the hardest trophy in the world to win.  That distinction goes to the World Cup, but I do believe that the Stanley Cup is the hardest in North America by a wide margin.  This will be the 107th game for both Boston and Vancouver.  That is 107 games of hard, physical play.  Tonight, the season will come to an end, and one team will get their 16th win of the playoffs, and win the Stanley Cup, 8 1/2 months after the season began.  It is a grind like no other.  In something of a rarity, of the 40 active players that will likely play game 7, only 2 have won the stanley cup in the past.  That means that for both of these teams, it is their first, and possibly only chance, to win the Stanley Cup.  I hope the players recognize just how special and rare this chance is, and we get a fantastic game out of it tonight.

The first 6 games of this series hasn't been as good as you would initially think.  Yes, each team has won 3 games to get us here, but it hasn't actually been that good.  The games in Vancouver have all been 1 goal games, with one being decided in overtime, and another with 19 seconds left.  Either team could have easily won those games if not for stellar goaltending in both nets.  In Boston, there simply has been no series.  Boston outscored Vancouver 17-3 in 3 games, and Vancouver looked like a team that had no business being in the playoffs, never mind the Cup final.  In each game, the team who has scored first has won, and there has only been one lead change during a game, in Game 2 when Boston took a 2-1 lead after Vancouver scored first.  Tim Thomas has easily been the best player in this series.  At home, he has posted a .982 save percentage, which is almost impossible.  Even in Vancouver, in 3 losses he has a .945 save percentage, a level most goalies can only dream of.  If Boston loses this series, it will be solely because Boston was unable to score in Vancouver.  Krecji, Seguin, Chara, Bergeron, and Seidenberg are all players who are capable of playing at another level. If even one or two of them can elevate their game tonight, Boston will win.

That being said, Vancouver has earned home ice in Game 7, and with that, anything is possible.  A Stanley Cup Final Game 7 has not happened in Canada since 1987 when the Oilers beat the Flyers at the then Northlands Coliseum.  That makes this game even more speical and rare, if that's even possible.  Vancouver does have their work cut out for them though  The Sedin twins have been non existent, Kesler is playing hurt, and the defence, while being very good in shutting down Boston's offence while at home, has contributed very little offensively.  If the Sedin twins can actually show up, Vancouver has a very good chance of winning.

I know that many of you reading this will be watching the game later.  16.2 million people watched at least part of Game 6 on CBC on Monday, averaging 6.6 million. Who knows how many more were watching on NBC like I was.  I will be watching at home, enjoying the biggest spectacle this great sport has to offer.  It is Hockey Night in Canada.

I said on twitter before the series that I thought Boston would win in 7.  I'm going to stick to that.  Boston, 2-1, in overtime.  The only thing we don't know, is who the hero will be.

Stanley cup playoffs–Round 2

First off, my picks from the first round:

Chicago in 7 – Actual Result: Vancouver in 7

San Jose in 6 – Actual result: San Jose in 6

Phoenix in 6 – Actual result : Detroit in 4

Anaheim in 7 – Actual Result: Nashville in 6

Washington in 5 – Actual Result: Washington in 5

Philadelphia in 5 - Actual Result: Philadelphia in 7

Boston in 6 – Actual Result: Boston in 7

Tampa Bay in 5 – Actual Result: Tampa Bay in 7

Overall I picked 5 of the 8 series winners correctly, and even got the number of games right twice.  The only series I completely missed was Detroit and Phoenix, I really thought Phoenix would play better, and that Detroit’s injuries would catch up to them. I am not surprised in Nashville winning, in fact, I’m more surprised on how poorly Anaheim played, though their goaltending may have cost them the series.  Vancouver And Chicago was everything we thought it would be, and then some.  I’m very sad at the result, but the series was fun to watch.

In round two we have Washington/Tampa Bay, Philadelphia/Boston, Vancouver/Nashville, and San Jose/Detroit.  I am very much looking forward to Philly/Boston and San Jose/Detroit.  They should be amazing series, and I’m super excited for them. But, the predictions:

Washington in 6 – Tampa is good, but does have holes, and Washington is playing the best hockey I’ve seen the team play since Ovechkin arrived

Boston in 6 – Goaltending decides this series, and on paper, that is no contest here

Nashville in 7 – Nashville is probably the best team no one knows anything about.  All they’ve done is win a lot of gams in a very difficult division. Watch out for them.

Detroit in 6 – Detroit is probably going to be the healthiest and most rested they’ve been all season. Look out for this team.