Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In-Game Rangers Blogging

Stay out of the fucking penalty box Rangers!!!!

It's the end of the 2nd period and the Rangers are down 3-0, after being tied through most of the 2nd. But they keep taking penalties! I think they've looked pretty good 5 on 5, but they've been on the penalty kill so much, they can't get any flow, and it's screwed up their line changes. Also, defenseman Rozsival is injured and gone for at least the rest of the game. The Sabres are a great team, and the Rangers have taken 5 penalties while the Sabres have only taken one. Hopefully, the Blueshirts can have a stellar 3rd period and come back in this game. If not, lets see some message-sending from Hollweg, Orr and Avery for game 2 on Friday.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

NHL Playoff Picks- Round 2!

Well, the first round of the playoffs is over, and my Rangers were the only team to sweep. Went 7 for 8 in my picks in the 1st round, I really thought the Penguins would win, but in retrospect, I might have been expecting too much from a young team. On to my picks for the 2nd round beginning tomorrow, once again linking to Scott Burnside's breakdowns.

Eastern Conference
Buffalo Sabres (1) vs. New York Rangers (6)
This should be a really fun series. The Sabres are fast and skilled with good goaltending, the Rangers are a little slower but more skilled and have great goaltending. The Rangers need to avoid getting in trouble early, and if they can steal one of the first two games in Buffalo, they'll be in good shape. If the Rangers stars can score early, King Hendrick can carry them to victory. Rangers in 7.

New Jersey Devils (2) vs. Ottawa Senators (4)
The Sens really impressed me with the way they played the Pens in round 1. The first game they absolutely owned the Penguins everywhere on the ice, and they didn't let up for the rest of the series. The Devils had a little trouble with the talented scorers on Tampa Bay, but opportunistic goals and great goaltending gave them the win in the series. I'm tempted to pick the Senators, I think they have good depth and their stars stepped up in the last series. But, to be honest, I just can't pick against Brodeur. Devils in 7.

Western Conference
Detroit Red Wings (1) vs. San Jose Sharks (5)
I think this will be a fun series also (ok, I think all playoff hockey is fun). The Wings matched the Flames physical play last series, and have the skill to make things happen. I don't think the Sharks are quite skilled enough to match the skill of the Wings, and the Wings showed last series that they won't be knocked off their game by physical play. Goaltending on both ends is really, really good. I'll take the Red Wings in 7.

Anaheim Ducks (2) vs. Vancouver Canucks (3)
The Canucks are going to be tired going into this one, having just completed a 7 game series yesterday. The Ducks have the monster defensive tandem of Niedermayer and Pronger, plus some very good skill forwards. The Canucks have The Sedein twins, Naslund and Luongo in goal. I just think the Ducks are too deep and too good for the Canucks to beat. Ducks in 6.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

1st Round NHL Playoff Picks- Western Conference

Here are my picks for the West in the first round, again linking to Scott Burnside's analysis.

Detroit (1) vs. Calgary (8)
The Red Wings are in much better shape than they were last year going into the playoffs, and they have been at the top of the West all season. Meanwhile, the Flames barely made the playoffs. I'm looking for Pavel Datsyuk to play a monster playoffs to silence the critics on his past playoff performances. I think the Flames will probably win Game 3 at home, but that's it. Red Wings in 5.

Anahiem (2) vs. Minnesota (7)

I admit I haven't watched any Wild games this season, but I have watched the Ducks and they are dangerous. The Wild will have to stay out of the sin bin to have a chance. Neidermayer and Pronger on the point on the power play are just deadly. Ducks in 6.

Vancouver (3) vs. Dallas (6)
This should be a fun series. Both teams have stellar goalies, but the Stars Turco has struggled in the playoffs (not entirely his fault in my opinion- I've seen his team leave him out to hang in the past). On the other hand the great Luongo is in his first NHL playoffs. I'm taking the Canucks in 7.

Nashville (4) vs. San Jose (5)
This series should also be fun to watch. The Predators were fighting with the Red Wings all season for 1st in the West, and they have playoff monster Peter Forsberg. The Sharks have some very skilled players notably Big Joe Thorton and Jonathan Cheechoo. Both teams have two solid goalies that can be changed in if things aren't going well. I'm taking San Jose in 7.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Best Time of Year has Arrived!

This is my favorite time of year, the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Great high-energy games every day just as the weather starts getting nice makes everything around me look that much better. Right to my first round predictions and I'll be linking to Scott Burnside's predictions for ESPN (East today, West tomorrow)-

Eastern Conference

Buffalo Sabres (1) vs NY Islanders (8)
The Sabres have been hot all season, managing to win games during a stretch when they had a lot of players lost to injury. Meanwhile, the Islanders squeaked into the playoffs needing help from other teams on the last days of the season to get in. Add to that the superior speed of Buffalo and the fact that the Islanders starting star goalie is injured and I think the Isles are in trouble. Sabres in 5.

New Jersey Devils(2) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning(7)

The Bolts are a fast team that has some great goal scorers while the Devils are a defensively disciplined team who don't score much, but can make life miserable for offensive minded teams. The big difference maker here is NJ goalie Martin Brodeur. He's had an incredible year, and it's not unheard of for a hot goalie to steal a series by themselves (witness the Ducks Giegre single-handedly sweeping the talented Red Wings a few years ago). Devils in 6.

Atlanta Thrashers (3) vs NY Rangers (6)
The Rangers have played great hockey since the All-Star break, and they added some peices that are really helping this team be able to play 4 lines, getting production from 3 of them. Goalie Hendrik Lundvquist has been a stud in net. Meanwhile, the Thrashers have some good skill players, but are not as good as they seem. They should be the 5th seed based on points, but they won their weak division so get the 3 spot. The way the Rangers are playing, they win in 6 (and I am very biased as a huge Rangers fan).

Ottawa Senators (4) vs Pittsburgh Penguins (5)

This should be a really fun series. Both teams finished the season with 105 points. The Sens have the experience and the Pens have the youth. Both teams have solid goal tending. I didn't see many Sens games myself, so I'm not real familiar with their play personally, but I did watch lots of Pens games, and I have to go with them. Sid "the Kid", Malkin and Staal are 3 exciting young players who can make their own scoring chances and quickly take advantage of mistakes by the other team. Penguins in 7.