For the first time in years... For the first time ever, the Wachovia center will be without the thrill and rush that is Flyers playoff hockey. It truly is a sad spring in the Philadelphia area. If anything it makes me appreciate just how good we've been for the past 12+ years. The one thing that makes me excited for next fall is not the core of young guys, or the solidified #1 goaltender. The one thing that makes me excited for next year, is I know that Mr Snider hates losing, just as much as the rest of us do. My faith is in Snider.
Well without my flyboys to root for this year, i find myself rooting against teams, rather than rooting for a team. Personally i would love to see all the Atlantic Division teams to drop quickly in the first round. So in the East that leaves us with Buffalo, Tampa, Ottawa, and the Thrashers... Interesting. Well in a bout between Buffalo and Tampa, i'm not sure there is a lesser evil, but when in doubt, i always root for the under dog. (enjoy it St. Louis, it may never happen again). I would have to say i would root for the thrashers in the other contest, mainly becuase well there is no bad playoff blood with them yet.. As a matter of fact, you can crown them East champs in my book.
Out in the west, there are far less teams to hate... I've always had a soft spot for Anaheim and San Jose. So Those are my picks for the Finals, and i think i'll tip the contest to San Jose.... i mean come on Thorton needs a break. San Jose for Cup Champs. I could live with that. It really is ashame though that Minny has to play the ducks in the first round. I could root for Minnesota. But i think they may be a bit overmatched...
By the way, my east picks were based on distaste, not who i actually think will win. I actually think, Buffalo, Pens, TAmpa and RAngers will advance withBuffalo and the Pens in the East Final and Buffalo taking the east. (the best chance to knock off buffalo, imo would be tampa....) But the Sabres are good, and more than that they are overflowing with confidence, as well as this idea floating around that this may be their last hoorah with both their big two; drury and briere.
So that's the pick, Buffalo V San Jose in the big round.
Best of luck to all your fans who still have something to root for. Especially you thrashers fans, who haven't done this yet. It may not turn out the way your hope, but it will sure be an amazing 2 months.