Friday, May 19, 2006

NHL Conference Finals!!

The conference finals are here! As we learned in the last 2 rounds, anything can happen, and I don't know shit. The Sharks/Oilers series was great fun to watch, and we have 2 mirror-matches to decide who gets a shot at the Cup.

Ducks vs. Oilers- both teams are getting great goaltending, both play similar styles of hockey, both were underdogs to start the playoffs (6th & 8th seeds respectively). Will the time off get the Ducks off to a slow start, or will the rest have them fresher than the Oilers coming of a bruising series with the Sharks? This series should be a physical battle from start to finish, but I'm picking the Oilers in 7. Roloson makes the difference, Pronger and Smythe are playing great, and it looks like Peca is heating up

Sabres vs. Hurricanes- another pair of teams whose style mirror each other with fast, skilled skating and solid goaltending. I haven't watched many Hurricane's games (screw Southern hockey), but what I have seen has been impressive. However, watching the Sabres beat the Senators, I have to say I'm impressed. Sabres in 6.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Bush(league) Immigration Speech

I was listening to Bush's big immigration speech on the way home from work yesterday, and was struck by the total lack of leadership (not that I was that surprised). He obviously parts with his base on the immigration issue, yet didn't have the character to tell them where to stick their "deport 'em all" mentality, but he also doesn't embrace the Left's interests on immigration (worker's rights, path to citizenship, etc.). So instead, he gives a speech that high-lights his failures on this issue, inflamed his base and annoys his opponents as much as ever? This president never ceases to amaze me with the unmitigated incompetence that never seems to stop flowing.

Also, anyone else confused and concerned with the plan to put the National guard on the border to "help support" the INS? Why not provide more INS agents, more technical support and the support of local law enforcement rather than having the military operate domestically? By far, my favorite line in the speech was this one-

"It is important for Americans to know that we have enough Guard forces to win the war on terror, to respond to natural disasters, and to help secure our border."

Really? Because as far as I can tell, the "war on terror" is not exactly in it's "last throes" and the last natural disaster response was, to put it nicely, less than stellar. And now some of these soldiers are going to re-deployed doing back-up work for INS? Good, they should be in place just in time for hurricane season. Unfortunately, in the Southwest, not Southeast. Really, Bush is amazing in his delusions and contempt for the public's intelligence. Does he really still think he has any credibility with us?

Although, I have to admit to a small amount of admiration for a team that can so consistently piss off equally the left and the right simultaneously.

Friday, May 05, 2006

NHL Semifinals

As we found out last round, anything can happen in the NHL playoffs. The western conference teams that made the 2nd round are the 5-8 seeds, who all knocked off their "betters". The east went a little more as expected, but after a wild first round, I'm salivating for the Semis that begin tonight. My picks for round 2-


Anaheim vs Colorado- Both teams have solid goaltending, and Theodore from the Avs looked stronger as the series with Dallas went on. Both teams have some veteran stars on their teams. I think Colorado has the edge in a deeper bench, and they've had some time to rest after beating Dallas in 5. The Ducks just played a tough 7-game series and are playing game 1 after 1 day off. Avalanche in 6 games.

San Jose vs Edmonton- I really haven't watched much of the Sharks this year, and only caught 1 playoff game, but they have Big Joe Thorton and Patrick Marleau who are playing great, and like the Avs, they've had some time to rest. However, I'm picking Edmonton right now just based on Roloson's play. If he plays like he did against Detroit, San Jose is in trouble. Oilers in 7.


Ottawa vs Buffalo- I have no idea, both these teams play a fast-paced skill game, both have solid goaltending. Coin toss, but I take the Senators in 7.

New Jersey vs Carolina- Tough call as well. Marty Broudouer makes the difference, Devils in 6.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My blogging comeback and the NHL

Well, it's been a while since I wrote, and I'm going to try and start posting regularly again. In the meantime the greatest sporting event of the year is going on right now, the NHL playoffs. Pretty much all my spare time is spent watching games on the Center Ice Package or at my local bar, Rocksport. I just have a few things to say about the playoffs, and my picks (I know it's cheesy to make picks halfway into the first round, but too bad).

First I must say, I'm a huge Rangers fan and am bitterly disappointed in the way they ended their season- swept by the Devils, entering the playoffs on a 6-game losing streak, the league MVP getting injured in the first game, super-sloppy play in the playoffs. That being said, most sports analysts had picked the Rangers to finish around 30th out of 32, so overall I'm happy with their season.

Having not had a season last year, it has been a pleasure having it this year, and the playoffs are still even better than the regular season. I even bought the Center Ice package this year, and I highly recommend it, worth every penny. Because I had the package, I watched a lot of the "new rules" hockey, and overall like the changes in the game. The only bad rule is the goalie trapezoid area, I don't understand limiting a players skills. Minor complaint though. My only problem with the new rules is here in the playoffs. The refs have been instructed by the league to call the games as strictly (if not more) as the regular season. This is killing some of the intensity of previous years playoffs, when the refs tended to let a lot more go, the games were ferocious, and refs basically put their whistles away in close games. With the amount of penalties they are calling this playoffs, almost half the total goals scored have been on the power play. This kind of defeats the reason for most of the new rules, which was to speed up the game and make it more exciting and have better flow end to end. When teams are constantly playing their special teams lines, the game slows way down, and some of the best players are kept off the ice for long stretches. Kind of defeats the purpose of the new rules, don't ya think? Anyway, minor bitch, I'm just glad hockey is back.

My picks (and again, I know it's weak to pick more than halfway through the first round, but I'll be honest where I was wrong too)

Rangers vs. Devils- Besides being a fan, I had picked the Rangers over the Devils, I really didn't think NJ was very good. They sure have been hot the last few weeks though... (Devils 4-0 sweep)

hurricanes vs. Canadians- I picked the Canadians, mostly because I firmly believe there should be no hockey in the South, at least until Seattle has an NHL team (Carolina leads 3-2)

Sabers vs. Flyers- Picked Philly, I love Forseberg and Hatcher, good coach, solid goaltending. Too bad I didn't watch many Sabers games this season, I didn't realize how fast they are (Sabers lead 3-2)

Senators vs. Lightening- Picked Sens, so did everyone, Tampa was not a real threat (Senators win 4-1)


Red Wings vs. Oilers- I pick(ed?) the Red Wings, but they might be having flashbacks of a couple years ago right now, back when a Ducks goalie single-handedly beat the entire Red Wings team (JIGGY WITH IT). Roloson has looked amazing in this series, and has the Oilers in position to upset, but I'm sticking with the Wings (Oilers lead 3-2)

avalanche vs. Stars- I picked the Stars, even though I hate them and was rooting for the Avs. Fortunately, the Avs kicked Dallas's ass, Sakic is awesome (Avs win 4-1)

Flames vs. Ducks- I pick the Flames because I hate the Ducks (except Giegre [sp?]) and like Inginla and Simon on the Flames. Plus, you have to root for a Canadian team over an Anaheim team in hockey, right? (Flames lead 3-2)

Sharks vs. Predators- I picked the Sharks because they looked good when I watched them, and I hadn't seen a single Predators game. Also, see above, screw hockey in the South. (Sharks win 4-1)

New picks next week, more regular posting coming!