Friday, May 19, 2006


The NHL playoffs have been exciting, I can't lie to you. Well, I can, but I won't now. The Buffalo/Ottawa series began with a score not unlike a CFL game, and ended up with the Sens getting ousted for the 47th consecutive postseason. The Ducks were mighty, and the Devils layed a huge egg in the 2nd round, getting wiped out by the Hurricane invasion. But with my team stored away in the attic for another summer, now I can relax and watch the Stanley Cup playoffs in relative peace.

Kris pointed this out to me: it's TSN's Maggie the NHL playoff predicting monkey!

Maggie - the furry, crab-eating macaque from the Bowmanville Zoo - has returned to the NHL on TSN.

Ha ha! Monkeys! Wait a sec--crab eating? What's wrong with bananas? I had a nightmare about a crab eating my caque once. So how does she/it choose the winners? Whatever team logo has the most feces thrown on it? Regardless, the Stanley Cup Simian didn't pick Anaheim to win in the first round, so how can she/it get credit for picking them to win the second round? Well, if that's the way we're going to calculate it, I was a stunning 6-2 in the FIRST ROUND and a near-perfect 3-1 in the SECOND ROUND (DAMN YOU TO HELL, DEVILS!), for a monkey-spanking 9-3 record. I'd like to thank everyone involved for making my blognostications stand up.

Anyway, after a bit of a lull, it all starts up again tonight. So here's what to look for in the Conference Finals:

#2 Carolina vs. #4 Buffalo

Regular season head-to-head: 2-1, CAR
Player to Watch: Chris Drury, BUF

Carolina looked impressive in snuffing out NJ, with an incredibly efficient PP, Eric Staal playing well, and Captain Ron--uhm, Rod Brind'Amour was an absolute rock, winning 75% of his faceoffs. But this Sabres team has it all: fast skaters, impact players on every line chipping in, a hot rookie goaltender in Miller--what's not to like? I was going to pick the Sabres to make the finals regardless (even over the Devils had it come to that), because I think they're scary good. This should be a good series, and a showcase for the "newfangled NHL" everyone's talking about (despite the quality, it will have the "old" ratings). Sabres in 6.

#6 Anaheim vs. #8 Edmonton

Regular season head-to-head: 3-0, EDM
Player to Watch: Chris Pronger, EDM

It's been quite a nice ride for the bottom feeding Oilers, and why shouldn't it continue? Duck goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has been phenomenal (0.87 GAA and 96.7 save percentage), and the Ducks D has been mighty--oops, I forgot they don't like it when you call them that. But the Oilers have been solid, with Pronger, Smith and Peca anchoring this squad, and Roloson looking sharp, and it's hard to bet against them. Plus, O Canada is the best national anthem ever. At this rate, I have to make sure I don't get electrocuted before it's over. Oilers in 7.

So yeah, I'm rooting for a BUF/EDM final matchup (ratings be damned!), because what else do those cities have going for them? Carolina? You've got golf courses and beaches. Anaheim? Disneyland, swimming pools, movie stars and more beaches. Buffalo and Edmonton? Hockey and hockey. That's about it. So they deserve it in my book.

Oh, here's yet another reason why NO NHL playoff games should be on at 2:00 in the afternoon: the Yankees play the Mets @ 1:20 PM for Game 2 of the overhyped subway series, and there are several other interleague series on in major TV markets (Chicago, L.A., SF/Oakland) at the same time. Add to that the 7 hours of Preakness pre-race coverage on ESPN, and virtually no one will watch the NHL. Then they're going to wonder why hockey gets low ratings. Hmmmm . . .

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