Well after going 7-1 last year, I struggled to a 5-3 first round this year. I should have known the sharks were going to play like "ill tempered sea bass" and not sharks again. Also I lost the Flyers and Devils series.
* Glad to see Calgary lose after every writer on the continent anointed them the cup champs after the trade deadline. There have only been a few deals that actually put a team over the top. Build throughout the season, not through desperation at the deadline.
* The amount of interference has increased during the playoffs and the refs are letting it go.
* Brashear should not be allowed back in the playoffs. That was a cheap shot. He is a tough guy and should not resort to the cheap shots.
* I hate the shootout. It is so not hockey that decides home ice, playoff seeding, and who is already playing lots of golf. I suggest using 3 on 2 rushes or anything else that puts the skill on display of all players, not just the breakaway guys.
On to round 2:
Boston vs Carolina
Boston might be rusty after disposing on Montreal so quickly and the Canes will be flying after scoring 2 in the last 90 seconds to eliminate the Devils. If there is ever a time for Boston to stumble it is right now. Thomas knows he is up for the Vezina, Chara the Norris, and the players are sitting around reading their own press. However, I still like the balance that Boston has with goaltending, defense, and multiple scorers. Carolina impressed me beating the Devils, but Boston is much deeper than Jersey and Carolina will be over matched. Boston in 6.
Washington vs Pittsburgh
Flip a coin. This will be a war. These two teams and leaders do not like each other. Pittsburgh has more proven NHL scorers up front, a more battle tested goalie. I think that the home ice is important to Washington. I expect a highlight reel series with these superstars all trying to out duel the others. Since I live in the DC area, I will take Washington in 6.
Detroit vs Anaheim
Wow. I am sure Detroit would have preferred anyone else besides this Anaheim team. They looked so carefree all year and then just seemed to flip the switch and become a top team again. This one will be great hockey. The key will be if Detroit can make Anaheim pay for penalties. Based on the seeding and home ice, I like Detroit in 7.
Vancouver vs Chicago
Everything points to Vancouver. They are rested, loaded with talent, and playing great. Chicago is better than most will give credit. The young guys of Chicago can rely on Khabibulin to be a rock and they can really skate. This is Mats last chance at a cup. Vancouver in 6.