Ah springtime! For most it's the season of finally being able to be outdoors, playing frisbee going for walks, biking, you know, all that boring stuff. Well for myself, springtime means spending hour after hour indoors watching playoff hockey. While the Oilers are not in it this year (nor are the Leafs who I get almost as much pleasure cheering against), I'm still catching the playoff fever.
Looking at the first round matchups I'd expect them to go something like thisBuffalo Sabers vs NY Islanders
- Buffalo in 5. Ryan Miller gets a game misconduct after he goes all Hextal on Ryan SmythNJ Devils vs TB Lightning
- Tampa Bay in 7. Firing your coach one week before the playoffs can't work twice can it?Atlanta Thrashers vs NY Rangers
- Atlanta in 6. The Thrashers have to be one of the most underated teams in the league, and the Rangers have a history of choking in the playoffs.Ottawa Sens vs Pitts Penguins
- Ottawa in 7. Why the two best teams in the second half of the season have to play each other in the first round is beyond me. That said, at this point in their careers Heatley, Spezza, Alfredsson, Redden, Volchencov (Sp?) together trump Crosby, Malkin, Recchi, Gonchar, Whitney and FleuryDetroit Redwings vs Calgary Flames
- Detroit in 5. Sure the Red Wings have choked in the first round recently, but the additions of Hasek and Calder (and Bertuzzi?), coupled with a healthy Zetterberg, and a motivated Datsyuk will be too much for the Flames to handle.Anaheim Ducks vs Minnesota Wild
- Anaheim in 6. This one comes down to who can win the battle between Pronger and Gaborik. Looking back to what Pronger did last year for the Oil I have to give the edge to him.Vancouver Canucks vs Dallas Stars
- Vancouver in 5. I'm sorry but Marty Turco has yet to prove himself as anything short of awful in the playoffs. The Stars will win one in overtime but simply because Matt Cooke takes a stupid diving penalty which results in the only goal in a 1-0 win.Nashville Preds vs SJ Sharks
- Whoever scores in overtime in game 7. This is probably the closest series this round. A hot Sharks team verses a rediculously deep Nashville team. San Jose one it last year, but the Preds adding Forsberg and Arnott, two proven playoff players, means that this series goes the distance.
To celebrate the playoffs 10 of us got together and made teams for a playoff pool. I was unfortunate to be in the worst position, drafting right in the middle of the pack. Buffalo was basically out of the picture, by the time I was picking which is too bad (go Isles!) and Steve beat me to Lecavalier and St. Louis. Anyways, if Nashville, Atlanta, Anaheim or Ottawa do well, I could do well. So here's my team;
1.Chris Pronger - Ana - Defence
2. Jason Spezza - Ott - Center
3. Scott Niedermeyer - Ana - Defence
4. Ilya Kovalchuck - Atl - LW
5. Chris Kunitz - Ana -LW
6. Mike Fisher - Ott - Center
7. Martin Erat - Nsh - LW
8. Kimmo Timmonen - Nsh - Defence
9. Alexie Zhitnik - Atl - Defence
10. Shea Webber - Nsh - Defence
So lots of defence. That kind of just happened by accident, but I'm not too worried about that. Pronger is who won it all for me last year. Plus I have his linemate in Niedermeyer, and linemates Webber and Timmonen, which will hopefully result in multiple points on goals. Kunitz will get some points off of Selanne, Spezza's one of the best centers in the game, Kovalchuk and Fisher get to beat up on the Rangers and the Pens questionable defence and Erat is coming off a career season, playing alongside Arnott. Again, I wish I had some Sabers but I'm still happy with my team.