Time to add my two cents into the play-off fray. I love the play-offs, and the addition of play-off pools has only heightened my enthusiasm for this time of year. (I have 7 play-off pools)
I've spent the last few days being bombarded by "experts" picking play-off winners and analyzing every facet of every match up. Its a toss up whether a team is better off with all the experts picking it to win (thereby its probably the better team) or all the experts are picking it to lose. (thereby its the underdog, a very desired status lately it seems) I absorb all the experts picks like a sponge, how else am I ever going to win a play-off pool? But in the end they have no idea, and every formula that has been made to predict winners ends up falling short with some team or other.
So on to the only team I see enough of to really analyze a series. The Detriot-Calgary series. The Flames are my team, and have been since I watched them win the cup in '89 when I was 6. This year has been one of the more confusing seasons I have ever seen from the team. Sutter has brought in enough talent so this team can finally score some goals again. However the lock down defense that has been the Flames trademark the last 2 years has gone to the way-side. I'm not sure if this is a product of scoring more goals, playing a new system, or the Flame players just not putting out the required effort to be successful defensively. The end result is a consistantly un-consistant team. They won 6 games in a row to basically earn a play-off position by playing strong defensive hockey. Before that they won their fair share of games by running and gunning, out scoring the opposition. However the Flames lost the last 4 games of the season due to lack of effort in my opinion. The summary is this: This team can be physical , it can score goals and it can play solid defensively. It has even done all 3 at once in some games. If this team shows up, gives its all, I believe it can beat Detriot. However if the team doesn't come to the rink with intensity every night this series could be over quickly.