2016 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview
There are probably a lot of reasons I like the show Vinyl. Set in the 70’s, based around the music industry, lead character has a coke problem, but above all else I have to go with seeing Olivia Wilde get naked often. 11 years ago I dreamed of seeing newest O.C. character Alex and Marissa Cooper get it on, which wasn’t far off happening since they were a bisexual couple and there for doesn’t make me a total pervert. Well I feel like we are moving towards this being a reality. If only Mischa Barton could now get a recurring role on Vinyl. Hell, let’s get Rachel Bilson a role while we’re at it. California here we come indeed!
What this has to do with the playoffs is absolutely nothing. But that’s what today’s piece is about, hence the title. I could go on and on about no Canadian teams, amped up for these playoffs, every series is going to be incredible, same shit you always here. Let’s just get after this.
P1 Anaheim vs WC1 Nashville
DO NOT SLEEP ON THE PREDS. This is a team that would have challenged for 1st in the Central had they not been so awful in 3 on 3. Well you won’t see 3 on 3 in the playoffs, and this team is a threat. I would not have won that final game if I were Bruce Boudreau’s squad. Also, Boudreau’s teams are challenged in the playoffs. Last year it felt like they broke through. But now you look back on it, and they beat 2 teams in Winnipeg and Calgary who were just happy to be there. When they faced a contender, even with how gassed the Blackhawks blueline was they couldn’t put them away and lost yet another game 7 at home. I won’t lie, I’m pulling for the Ducks here. But I just think the Preds have a big advantage between the pipes and matchup really well with the Ducks, enough to take the series.
Preds in 7
P2 Los Angeles vs P3 San Jose
Is there any question here?! Who in the hell is picking the Sharks? This years Sharks reminds me of last year’s Canucks. New coach, same team, started good but haven’t ever looked overly impressive at any point and are only here because the rest of the division is weak. As much as I mock the Eastern Conference (and for good reason, watch the games), there is no denying the Pacific is weak from teams 3-7 right now. So basically the Sharks are spot fillers. I don’t see them giving the Kings any kind of interesting series. Hopefully they do, but I can’t see it.
Kings in 5
C1 Dallas vs WC2 Minnesota
Maybe I’m nuts. Ok, I know I’m nuts. Anyway unlike most, I had a lot of trouble picking this series, as I really don’t like either team that much. I don’t trust Dubnyk, but I trust him more than either Lehtonen or Niemi. I’ve wrote about this before, but Tyler Seguin plays far too much of a perimeter game to have success in the playoffs. Jason Spezza also has this issue. In the playoffs you have to get your nose dirty and until these 2 prove they will I’ll never trust them to lead teams anywhere. John Torchetti can use Mikko Koivu against Seguin, or Suter and Spurgeon. I’m interested to see if Torchetti continues going with Suter/Spurgeon and Scandella/Brodin, because I like that. Lindy Ruff can’t get either line away from a shutdown D-man. But while that’s nice, the Wild likely won’t have Zach Parise this series. So the bottom line is it’s the Minny defence vs the Stars offence. I’m going to call the upset.
Wild in 7
C2 St. Louis vs C3 Chicago
What’s changed since 2014? The Blues have virtually the same team. The definition of insanity, you’ve heard it a million times. This team is simply no different. And had it not been for a lucky Alec Martinez goal, the Blackhawks might be going for their 4th straight Cup. I don’t love the Hawks blueline and felt Stan Bowman really dropped the ball in not acquiring a D-man like a Dan Hamhuis, and here we are with no Duncan Keith for the first game of the series. Then again…it’s only 1 game and Keith comes into the playoffs pretty well rested. The Hawks have a big advantage between the pipes. Team that can score will trust their goaltender, team that can’t score won’t trust their goaltending. But the Hawks also have the better high end guys. Toews over Stastny or Backes, Keith over Pietrangelo or Shattenkirk, Seabrook over Bouwmeester, Kane over Tarasenko, Hossa over Steen, and then of course the Hawks know they can win and the Blues don’t. The Blues have a much more well rounded team, but I don’t care. They finished the season strong, but I don’t care. The Hawks finished the season weak, but I don’t care. The Blackhawks win in the playoffs and the Blues don’t, I care. Since the Blues always lose in 6…
Hawks in 6
A1 Florida vs WC1 NY Islanders
I have loved the way this Panthers team was being built long before it all came together this season. The big difference in this series is Luongo vs Greiss. I like the way the Islanders play, but Luongo quietly put together a fantastic season and with a career backup at the other end of the ice it’s just a complete mismatch. A LITTLE more experience for the Islanders having gone through the 7 game series with the Caps last spring, but it won’t be enough. I feel like the Panthers kids are built for playoff hockey. Add to this, while he is back skating with the team, as I type this Travis Hamonic’s status is still questionable.
Panthers in 5
A2 Tampa Bay vs A3 Detroit
This pick changes if Tyler Johnson can’t go, but as of right now we have no clue whether or not Johnson can go in game 1, or even the series. He is back practicing though. I’m not meaning to piss on what the Wings have done but could this franchise get any more lucky?! The Bruins have their goaltender go down the day of the biggest game of the year, the Wings still shit the bed in the last 2 games of the season, and yet Boston still loses so the Wings get in…and they get a Lightning team that is without their star (and as grossly overrated I believe he is, he’s still great), might be without their 2nd line centre, and the Wings are perhaps the favourites in this series. Unreal. But this isn’t a good Red Wings team. Who is the starting goaltender? The blueline is weak. Dylan Larkin after a great start looks as though he hit that rookie wall hard post All-Star break. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are on their last legs. I don’t think it’ll be an upset if the Wings win this series, but even without Stamkos I believe the Lightning will have enough to get past them…as long as Johnson can go. If he can’t, Wings in 6. I’ll say he can though, so in that case…
Lightning in 7
M1 Washington vs WC2 Philadelphia
I see a lot of people talking about how this is going to be a great series. Have these people noticed that the Caps have had nothing to play for in about 2 months or so? They’ve been going through the motions. And what do the Flyers have that make you think they’ll beat the Caps? Experience? Size? Speed? Goaltending? Coaching? Where do the Flyers have 1 advantage? Hey, maybe they’ll make me out to be a jack ass. Won’t be the first time. But I have to say what I see both on the ice and on paper. It’s a tremendous accomplishment that THIS Flyers team made the playoffs, I expect them to bow out quickly. They’re last year’s Jets. They’ve played over their heads all season, I don’t see this series being as close as others.
Capitals in 5
M2 Pittsburgh vs M3 NY Rangers
The Pens come in as the hottest team in the league. Crosby is playing as good as he ever has, he is at his peak right now. Kessel is playing a lot better, Letang is playing as good as he ever has, Malkin is still one of the best centres in the game (we’ll see if he plays), and I still believe the Rangers will win this series. The biggest reason is Lundqvist. We don’t even know as I type this if Fleury will be able to play in this series, but even if he can and as much as I defended Fleury while everyone was pissing on him a few years back…he’s not Lundqvist. Add to that, the Rangers have a much better blueline, the Rangers match up well with the Pens down the middle with Eric Staal, Brassard and Stepan. And what is often forgotten is the coaching matchup. Mike Sullivan has done a good job turning the Pens around, but Mike Sullivan was also owned by Claude Julien in 2004 playoffs. Alain Vigneault is a top coach in the league. 2 Stanley Cup final appearances in 5 seasons. I think it’ll be a close series, but this Rangers team is built for the playoffs and I’ve said it for 3 years now that the Pens simply aren’t.
Rangers in 6
Western Conference Final
Chicago vs Los Angeles
So obviously I have the Hawks knocking off the Wild and the Kings getting past the Preds, setting up the rubber match between the Hawks and Kings. And meeting this late in the playoffs, as much of a Blackhawks guy I am, I just can’t see them going 2 pretty tough rounds with that thin blueline and THEN getting past the Kings in the 3rd round.
Eastern Conference Final
Washington vs Florida
I do NOT feel comfortable picking the Caps to knock off the Rangers. But they have to eventually get over that hump don’t they?! As for the Panthers, I just think the road is too easy for them whether it’s Tampa or Detroit. So the Panthers get all the way to the East final, but barring an outstanding performance from Luongo, the Caps will go through them easily.
Stanley Cup Final
Washington vs Los Angeles
It pisses me off that TSN had this as their pick, pissed me off even more that Craig Button had this as his pick. But it is how I see this whole thing shaking down. This would be an awesome final matchup if it went down this way and finally I believe we would see a final that isn’t a Western Conference ass kicking. But the Kings are simply built to win in the playoffs. They have the experience, the size, the goaltending, the high end talent, and the coaching.
Kings in 6 win the Stanley Cup
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