Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Previewing the round one matchups: Eastern Conference

"Try that again and you're a dead man, Chara" said
Gomez, three hours later, alone in his apartment.
The playoffs are here, which means it's time to offer up painstakingly detailed predictions for each first round series that will be proven disastrously wrong midway through the opening period of game one.

Here's an in-depth look at the Eastern Conference matchups. We'll take a look at the Western Conference later this week.

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#5 Lightning vs. #4 Penguins

The matchup: This is a dream matchup for hockey fans who love the NHL draft but only have time to watch the first few picks every year.

The view from Pittsburgh: Head coach Dan Bylsma has worked hard to keep players focused despite an unprecedented battle with injuries, which is great right up until he inevitably gets injured.

The view from Tampa Bay: Martin St. Louis finished with 99 points, making the century mark just the latest thing that he can't quite reach.

Player to watch: Sidney Crosby sitting in the press box doing nothing, according to whoever's directing the TV broadcasts.

Prediction: Fans will be dazzled by the stunning displays of skill on the ice, right up until league officials explain to Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman that it's time to stop screwing around and let the two teams start the game.

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#6 Canadiens vs. #3 Bruins

The matchup: Montreal coach Jacques Martin might have trouble with the Bruins, since he historically struggles in the playoffs when faced with good teams built by the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The view from Montreal: The Canadiens would love to get some payback against Zdeno Chara if they weren't being held back by arbitrary rules, like the instigator penalty and also the basic laws of physics.

The view from Boston: Tim Thomas set a league record for save percentage this season, although that number drops significantly if you factor in the ability to save his own dignity in fights against Carey Price.

Player to watch: Dr. Mark Recchi, who has kindly agreed to signal from the bench to let us know whether players being scraped off the ice onto a stretcher are actually injured or not.

Prediction: The Canadiens lose the series, but finally get their revenge on Chara at the end of game four when they all squeeze his hand really hard during the post-game handshakes.

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#7 Sabres vs. #2 Flyers

The matchup: It's the franchise that's always trying to win without a superstar goalie vs. the franchise that's always trying to win with nothing but a superstar goalie.

The view from Philadelphia: The Flyers finished the season on an extended cold streak, almost as if they somehow got this weird idea that being a high playoff seed isn't all that important.

The view from Buffalo: In the post-lockout era, the Sabres have an excellent record in playoff series that involve Daniel Briere.

Player to watch: Former Blackhawk Kris Versteeg continues to annoy his Flyer teammates who ask him for advice on winning the Cup by answering "Well, the most important thing is to face a bunch of overrated losers in the finals".

Prediction: Buffalo's sports history + the likely return of Chris Pronger = something terrible is going to happen to somebody.

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#8 Rangers vs. #1 Capitals

The matchup: Experts warn that the coaching matchup between John Tortorella and Bruce Boudreau could lead to a severe worldwide shortage of f-bombs.

The view from New York: The Rangers were on the verge of missing the playoffs before clinching a spot when Carolina was eliminated on a dramatic last-minute goal from NBC's senior vice president of sports programming.

The view from Washington: Alexander Ovechkin managed a career low 32 goals on the season, although in fairness he did spend every game laying in a hammock at centre ice while napping with a sign around his neck reading "Wake me for the playoffs".

Player to watch: There will be a ton of pressure on Washington's talented but unproven young goaltender, whoever that happens to be on a given night.

Prediction: Just like last year, the top-seeded Capitals should be set to dominate just as long as they don't run into an elite European goaltender who can single-handedly…. oh. Oh man.




25 comments:

  1. You should be writing every playoff analysis for every sport

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  2. Gold Jerry, gold!

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  3. If there's only one thing you're really, really good at, it's writing stuff.

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  4. "Prediction: Just like last year, the top-seeded Capitals should be set to dominate just as long as they don't run into an elite European goaltender who can single-handedly…. oh. Oh man.

    Classic.

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  5. Listen, it's not like the Caps haven't beaten the Rangers before in the playoffs. I'm sure their Cup run will go according to plan, because it's not as though they have to face the Penguins in the second...

    ... ah, right. Carry on, then.

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  6. "It's the franchise that's always trying to win without a superstar goalie vs. the franchise that's always trying to win with nothing but a superstar goalie."

    Succinct and spot-on.

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  7. "The Canadiens would love to get some payback against Zdeno Chara if they weren't being held back by arbitrary rules, like the instigator penalty and also the basic laws of physics."

    just a perfect joke.

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  8. crying at the Caps' prediction...genius

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  9. Wow. You've really outdone yourself this time. Amazing write up.

    The Pens/Lightning and Habs/Bruins are amazing. Just amazing. Looking forward to the Western Conference previews!

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  10. Yeah, right. Like the Habs have anyone whose hands are big enough to reach all the way around Chara's to squeeze Chara's hard enough to hurt!!

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  11. That was an awesome Bruins vs Habs prediction, funny as hell...

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  12. 5 Stars! I loved the Versteeg vs. the Flyers joke. And who else wouldn't mind watching a one-on-one battle between Lemieux and Yzerman on the ice? :-)

    My prediction is that Chris Pronger conveniently "misplaces" the game puck after the Flyers lose a game to the Sabres.

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  13. Mark (DirtyDangle)April 12, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Thanks for helping me pass the time at work.
    Great stuff as always

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  14. I loved this, thank you for the laugh.

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  15. Darla: Uh, I don't think anyone was planning to give Chara a reacharound.

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  16. Brilliant. Cannot wait for Friday's rundown (also, because it'll be Friday).

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  17. "Prediction: Fans will be dazzled by the stunning displays of skill on the ice, right up until league officials explain to Mario Lemieux and Steve Yzerman that it's time to stop screwing around and let the two teams start the game."

    win!

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  18. "The matchup: Montreal coach Jacques Martin might have trouble with the Bruins, since he historically struggles in the playoffs when faced with good teams built by the Toronto Maple Leafs."

    if the bruins win the stanley cup does brian burke get his name engraved on it?

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  19. There is too much awesome in this post to quote it all. But besides the digs on the Caps (which, despite being a diehard Caps fan, I love), I have to say the comment about "Buffalo's sports history + the likely return of Chris Pronger = something terrible is going to happen to somebody" just made me laugh.

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  20. I notice members of the Canadian press aren't even bothering to make series-by-series predictions and have already awarded the Cup to Vancouver.

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  21. Oh man. Sean you've outdone yourself.

    The Versteeg shot was amazing. The prediction for the Rangers made liquid squirt out of my nose and the Matchup for the Sabers vs Philly made pee squirt out of my... oh... sorry... Too much info.

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  22. The Marty St. Louis line is a killer also love the dig at my Caps, nice write up DGB.

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  23. DGB, I thought you should here a hilarious situation that arose after Martin St. Louis caught Zbenyk Mickalek's stick in the face while sitting on the ice. The officials didn't call it because Michalek wasn't carrying his stick high. Kerry Frazier was on the 2nd intermission of one of the broadcasts saying that it should of been a 5 minute major. I was thinking how ironic it is that Kerry Frazier, of all people, would criticize an official for missing a 5 minute major high-stick.

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  24. Not one of your best! And as for the Bruins-Habs prediction... I assume you meant Habs in 4, right? ;)

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  25. bwahahaha.. awesome..

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