Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Quest for the Cup; HoG's Semi-Finals Preview

It's no secret that most of the world (my HoG colleagues certainly no exception) would rather watch any sport but hockey. I must admit, Women's Tennis has a certain tendency to turn me into a Peeping Tom appeal to it. And that's fine. For those of you hangin' with me in the minority of athletic contest viewing, here's where the picking gets tricky. The Quarter Finals have started -- the Pens got schooled 6-3 by the Sens up in Ottawa, and, in the West, the Ducks have gained the edge on the Wild, while the Sharks took four overtime periods to notch a victory over Nashville. But we're focusing on the East. For now. Though most of the Pittsburgh crew didn't show up for the game, the two young stars notched some points. As I mentioned in my Quarter Finals Preview, the Pens have got to get better performances from their goaltender. I think they will, but not enough to advance. There's no way in hell this group of kids can expect to come back after losing game one -- in which they generated a mere 26 shots against a very average goaltender -- to a bigger, stronger Ottawa club that has the edge in home games. Look for very good things from this non-Kansas-City-franchise in the next couple of seasons.

The Buffalo Sabres face off against the New York Islanders this evening. If Lindy Ruff's club doesn't sweep this sad-sac club that needed help to clinch the eighth spot in the East, I'll shave my Old Number 7's head. Devils-Lightning appears to be a no-brainer. Marty Brodeur played out of his skull this year, and he should handle the Tampa Bay snipers. He will, but it will take the Devils seven games to do it. Atlanta vs. the Rangers might be the Eastern Conference sleeper. The Thrashers put together a stronger regular-season campaign, but the Rangers came alive at the end. They'll make a fight out of it, but Bob Hartley's crew will get the better of them.

In the West, things are a little fuzzier. As mentioned, the Ducks have a 1-0 lead in their series with the Wild. Minnesota might grab a victory or two --though two would be a stretch -- but the force of the Mighty will be too much for the northerners. In my estimation, San Jose got lucky last night. Or should I say this morning. The fact that it took them two OTs to defeat the Preds shows resiliency in a poorly supported Nashville squad. They'll bounce back and eliminate the shark tank residents. As I predicted in my WCQF preview, the Canucks will advance in this round, disposing of the neurotic Marty Turco and his Stars. Though Turco posted 72 saves and hung tight through most of four OTs, his non-success in the post-season will dull the Stars by series end. And the Sedin twins surprised me last night. Evidently they've stepped it up, but it won't be enough to deal with their next-round foes, regardless of who they are.

Last and absolutely least, are the gays from the motor city. Sure, they'll handle the Flames. Who wouldn't? Handling Calgary is like the Denver Broncos cheating-- it happens every year. It's in-flippin'-evitable. So, can we spare any television time of these clowns? Can we just give them a bye? Wait, I suppose they could fuck it up and lose. And that would rule. So we'll make them earn it. And that, patient reader(s), is your Semi-Finals Preview.

Stay tuned as bad teams get eliminated, and I continue to look really cool by making easy picks. We'll be in the thick of it before you know it, and, to quote Old Number 7, someone will soon hoist the greatest sports trophy ever.


Mevs said...

@ Old No. 7

Just thought I'd say I appreciate the kind words and you stopping by our blog. Here you guys have a fine works going. Keep it up.

Also, John Daniels old no. 7 has long been a friend of mine. Who'd know we had a common friend?

Unknown said...

What in god's name is this, man?

You call that pickin'. You gotta get out on that limb, ol' man.

I like the Rangers in the first round, and I'll take Minnesota too. The two teams were separated by like 6 points, and the Minn D will shut down Anaheim. You just wait 'til Gaborik tears 'em up tonight.

You're dead-on with my poor Pens ... just too young. That was a painful one to watch. I insist on keeping hope alive. We just gotta steal one in Ottawa.

Other than those two blatant errors (Anaheim and Atlanta) on your part, I think your picks look good. Not bad for a grad student.

Thank you gentlemen for a little coverage. By the way, it's fuckin' horseshit that goals are reviewed in Toronto. I want a damn international committee.


P.S. Oh yeah, the fix is on for the Sens this year. That's where you should put your money.

blairjjohnson said...

Listen, dicky...

I am an old man, and therefore, I know better than to go out on any limbs (unless I'm George McFlyin' and peepin' hot broads in lingerie). Rangers ain't happenin'. Neither is Minnesota. I'm not sure what kind of currency you guys use up there in Canada, but if I can get my hands on some, I'll gladly wager it against your picks.

Unknown said...

Let me guess ... you're takin' the Yanks to win the Series this year.

Vegas has got odds. I'll take your bet, McFly.


P.S. It's monopoly money and beaver pelts.

blairjjohnson said...

Nope. Not a chance. I'm taking the Twinkies. Figure out the odds, then figure out how many pelts and Park Place hotels you want to squander, and we'll conduct a virtual handshake.