Lord Stanley’s Cup is the single greatest trophy in sports and the quest for the Cup begins tomorrow night. March Madness is a great two weeks of stunning game winners and Cinderella stories but sorry NCAA, the NHL has the best postseason in sports. Every night could end up in a 3OT game winner by a defensemen who has scored 5 goals all year. East Coast team / West Coast team, the NHL needs to be your TV every night. NBA fans will say their playoffs are better, but does anyone think it wont be Spurs/Thunder and Heat/Pacers? The first two rounds are pretty much meaningless. The NHL is wide open and includes fights, playoff beards and series handshakes; what more do you want.
The other thing that the NHL has is the #Bucciovertimechallenge aka the best twitter game ever invented. Every game that goes into OT pick a player on both teams to score the game winning goals. EPSN’s John Buccigross plays along and if he is right he will give away one T-shirt and RT to a random tweeter that also guessed correctly, if he if wrong 2 Tee and2 RT’s will be given out. I haven’t won yet but this is my year!
Here are my predictions and some thoughts:
Yes I am a homer and have the Rangers winning the cup, I had a dream where the Blueshirts won and I chased the cup around the city. I would like to make this dream a reality. There is some reasoning behind this pick. One is Lundqvist, he hot going into the playoffs and matter most in the NHL. The King has been great since the Olympics and is ready for his crown. If the offense is there the Rangers could be in for some serious long beards. Tough first round match up in Philly. I expect a battle but Broadway Blueshirts should beat the Broadstreet Bullies.
The Bruins had another great regular season and will look to be repeat Eastern Conf. Champs. They are the most complete team but that doesn’t always guarantee victory. There is too much talent for them not to make a run but I think they will come up short again.
The Blackhawks will face the struggling Blues but they have a lot of injuries to deal with. If Toews and Kane are not fully healthy they may be looking at a first round exit for the defending champs. I think they are healthy but will meet their match with the Ducks in the Conf Finals.
Tons of goaltending in Anaheim to chose from, for the playoffs I would rid the hot hand even if it means going with a rookie. Perry and Getzlaf are deadly with the puck and will score often. The offense of the Ducks is the major factor hear, it is time for these guys to show up in the playoffs and make a long run. There matchups will be tough and even though they almost won the Presidents Trophy, I don’t see them as a favor and would shock many to make it the finals.
Players to Watch
Tyler Seguin – he has adjusted nicely to Dallas and has the talent to turn a series, Anaheim needs to watch him at all times. Shameless pat on the back, I picked the Dallas to make the playoffs and go to the Cup (check it out here) but changing that.
Marty St. Louis – Since coming over to the Rangers, the goal scorer hasn’t been scoring goals. Not what the Rangers expecting but he is throwing out the assists and skating well. If he gets hot so will NY.
Ryan Suter – The Wild are back in the playoffs and they will need their high paying D Man to lead the way. He will need to be on the top of his game for the Wild the have a chance against the surprise of the year, Colorado.
Lets put away the razors and get started!