The chances that you reading at home are interested in the playoff predictions of me, zolltan, are, to put it optimistically, zero. Nevertheless it’s a fun exercise in pitting the head and the heart (to namecheck Seattle’s premier purveyors of folk mediocrity) against one another when the team you want to win and the team you think is more likely to win are different.
(1) Vancouver / (8) L.A. Did you guys know? The L.A. Kings are bad. I mean, Jonathan Quick is a beast, but it’s difficult to imagine him stealing more than two, and it’s easy to imagine the Kings not scoring any goals. The Nucks just have more dimensions to their game. Nucks in 6
(2) St. Louis / (7) San Jose This is no contest. Saint Joseph was Jesus’ father for crying out loud, whereas Saint Louis was just some medieval king of France. And a terrible king at that. He led two crusades, both of them dismal failures, persecuted the Jews and burnt their holy books, ramped up the Inquisition in France, spent exorbitant amounts of France’s treasury on acquiring precious (but actually quite dubious and surely dilapidated) religious relics thereby nearly bankrupting the country. How did he try to make the money back? If you guessed by taking money from Jews, you got it! Saint Joseph was a damn good carpenter and in being Jesus’ father makes him sorta kinda like God, which pretty much no one else can claim. So San Jose must win. If no one else, Ryane Clowe can make it happen. San Jose in 6
(3) Phoenix / (6) Chicago To me this series hinges on whether Jonathan Toews is back for Chicago. It looks like he might be. What with Chicago being an extremely streaky team, and the playoffs being essentially a clean slate for starting new streaks, they could of course just decide to suck for some reason, but despite that, and even though I was actually super impressed with the Coyotes whenever I saw them, I just can’t see them (as opposed to a typical Phoenix resident, who won’t see them) pulling the series out. Hawks in 7
(4) Nashville / (5) Detroit This is the ultimate in the aforementioned head v. heart conflict. Nashville has a team built for winning boring in the playoffs, Detroit has a team built for making fun of inferior teams with ridiculously beautiful plays. If you ask which goalie is likely to suddenly convert into a brick wall console-game style, I don’t think many would say Howard rather than Rinne, either. As much as I’ll be pulling for the Red Wings, Preds in 5.
(1) New York / (8) Ottawa I think New York can be easily beaten, and I was all ready to pick Washington over them, but sadly can’t do that for Canada’s Team. And not even the most magical Karlsson since the one that lives on the roof will save them. New York in 4
(2) Boston / (7) Washington This is another one where I will be cheering strongly: I’m not one of those people who dream of revenge and exorcising the Canucks’ demons or whatever – I just can’t stand the Bruins and wish them ignominous failure. Right now. I sure hope Washington wins. The thing is, I kinda think they will. Holtby is totally primed to go on one of those “rookie goalie gets on a tear that no one expects” things. They’ve got Backstrom back, Ovechkin and Syomin are showing signs of waking up, and not even the coaching styles of Dale Hunter stopped them from success, and now he’s getting better. Whereas the B’s may have that impressive +67 goal differential, but if you take out games against Toronto and Calgary, they’re like even… Caps in 6
(3) Florida / (6) New Jersey. If a series happens and no one sees it, does it still have an outcome? I feel like the Devils will just show up in the second round and be all like “Yo, we totally won this in 4, it’s cool” and we’ll believe them because it’ll just be easier to do that. Devils in 4
(4) Pittsburgh / (5) Philadelphia This has got to be the series most outside observers are looking forward to what with Malkin and Crosby and Giroux and Hartnell. And Bryz, of course. I think Bryz is my favourite player in the NHL. By which I mean not that I think he is the best or that I enjoy watching him play, or he makes good plays or that I want him to, or even that I like his interviews, but that everytime I watch a Flyers game, I just hope things go well for him personally in that game. So, it pains me to report I think this will go badly for him. Jaromir Jagr is probably my favourite player in a totally different sense, in that watching him dominate play is just pure pleasure. Granted, he doesn’t do it as much anymore, but still you occasionally see it happen and it’s a thing of beauty. Still, the Pens’ offense is just too strong. Of course, Philly could just beat the crap out of the Penguins line brawl after line brawl, but assuming any of them remain alive to play in all the games, Pens in 6.