the other players were too busy with the
game to join his rendition of "YMCA".
#1 Vancouver Canucks vs. #8 Los Angeles KingsThe matchup: The series will feature two forwards who are completely inseparable and spend virtually every waking moment of their lives together, and in addition to Mike Richards and Jeff Carter the Canucks probably have some good players too.
The view from Vancouver: The Canucks must find an answer for the Kings' best defensive player, goaltender Jonathan Quick, and their best offensive player, a frustrated Jonathan Quick taking slapshots from the point while yelling "Seriously, the rest of you don't even want to maybe give this a try?"
The view from Los Angeles: Kings players can't help but wonder if team meetings would be more effective if coach Darryl Sutter didn't continually interrupt to ask if anyone knows who the Flames are playing in the first round, then laugh hysterically for twenty minutes.
Player to watch: Cory Schneider, to see if he's taking his ball cap off, assuming you're Roberto Luongo and just gave up a goal.
Prediction: The Canucks win, celebrate their victory together as a team, then pause and ask each other whether anyone else just heard the faint sound of "Chelsea Dagger" coming from round two.
#2 St. Louis Blues vs. #7 San Jose SharksThe matchup: This matchup will feature a battle between arguably the two best goaltenders in the entire league, right up until the Blues practice ends and the Sharks come out on the ice.
The view from St. Louis: Coach Ken Hitchcock's system is often incorrectly described as "defense-first", since that implies that something other than defence might be second or third.
The view from San Jose: Hey, plucky underdogs upset heavily favored top seeds in the first few rounds all the time, mumble Sharks fans bitterly.
Player to watch: David Backes will be tasked with shutting down Joe Thornton, which he plans to do by following him around while occasionally pointing at a calendar that reads "April".
Prediction: After they wrap up the series and advance to the second round, you grudgingly admit that maybe it's time to learn the names of a few of the St. Louis Blues' non-goalies.
#3 Phoenix Coyotes vs. #6 Chicago BlackhawksThe matchup: The Coyotes worked hard all year to win their division and get a high seed where they could face an underdog team rather some recent Stanley Cup champion and oh for the love of… are you kidding me?
The view from Phoenix: The team is having trouble figuring out how to color in the center ice and goal lines in time for game one, since the city of Glendale is using up all the red ink.
The view from Chicago: Captain Jonathan Toews has yet to be able to pass the league-mandated concussion test, which isn't surprising considering the test consists entirely of the phrase "Demonstrate the capacity for human emotion".
Player to watch: Shane Doan, as usual, if you're a scout for the Canadian entry in the world championships.
Prediction: Phoenix Coyotes fans will never see another first round matchup like this one.
#4 Nashville Predators vs. #5 Detroit Red WingsThe matchup: The upstart Predators face the veteran Red Wings in a matchup that is so close on paper that we all agree to try to look surprised when Detroit wins.
The view from Nashville: The Predators surrendered a first round draft pick at the trade deadline to land an impact player, and the team is convinced the move will pay off just as soon as this Paul Gaustad guy stops joking around and tells them who they really got.
The view from Detroit: The Red Wings will make it a priority to end the series early, partly to conserve energy and avoid fatigue but mostly to prevent Shea Weber's playoff beard from achieving self-awareness.
Player to watch: Niklas Kronwall, since if he tries to deliver his patented leaping charge on Hal Gill it could be our first chance to ever see him deliver a shoulder-to-shoulder check.
Prediction: Predators defenceman Ryan Suter plays well but is accused of seeming overanxious after he goes through the post-series handshake line wearing a Red Wings jersey.