May 202015
 

2015 Playoff Bracket

Eastern Conference

(M1) New York Rangers vs (A2) Tampa Bay Lightning

Throughout the playoffs I have been picking against the Rangers. First the Penguins fell and then the Capitals, both dispatched by the reigning President Trophy winners. Despite my somewhat suspect track record I am going to have to pick against them again. I am drinking the Lightning Kool-Aid.  Continue reading »

May 012015
 

2015 Playoff Bracket

Eastern Conference

(A1) Montreal Canadiens vs (A2) Tampa Bay Lightning

In the first round Carey Price demonstrated why he is the prohibitive favourite to win both the Vezina and the Hart Trophy. He stood tall and dispatched the red hot Senators in 6 games despite his offence only posting a measly 12 goals. In the 2nd round he faces the Lightning, a team that struggled to make it through the opening round. The Red Wings put up a valiant fight but eventually succumbed to the Lightning’s depth. Tampa was the most prolific offensive club during the regular season and continue to be dangerous in the playoffs despite getting little production from Stamkos. Carey is going to have to be at 100% if the Canadiens hope to move on to the conference championships. While Price is the best goalie on the planet right now, the Lightning owned him throughout the 2014-2015 season. I don’t expect a lopsided series, but I also don’t expect to see the Canadiens advance to round three.

Prediction: Lightning in 7 Continue reading »

Apr 132015
 

2015 Playoff Bracket

Eastern Conference

(A1) Montreal Canadiens vs (W1) Ottawa Senators

No team is hotter entering the playoffs than the Ottawa Senators. They have gone an astounding 21-3-4 over the past 28 games and have essentially been playing playoff hockey since February. Even with all of that momentum the Senators are going to have a tough time taking four games off of Price the Canadiens. The Canadiens will go as far as their all-world netminder will take them. The team in front of Price has a few glaring flaws, chief among them being a lack of consistent offensive production, but he should be able to do just enough for the Canadiens to sneak past the red hot Senators.

Prediction: Canadiens in 7 Continue reading »

Feb 282015
 
Patrick Kane moments after crashing awkwardly into the boards.

Patrick Kane moments after crashing awkwardly into the boards.

I woke up on Wednesday morning to a very different NHL. On Tuesday night, in a game between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Florida Panthers, NHL points leader Patrick Kane was on the receiving end of a crosscheck to the back. It caused him to lose his edge, crash awkwardly into the boards and break his collarbone. For the next three months Kane will be watching his team compete for the Stanley Cup instead of competing for it himself. Continue reading »

May 142014
 

After back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances in 2008 and 2009 many predicted a decade of dominance for the Pittsburgh Penguins. How wrong we all were. With last night’s loss to the New York Rangers, the Penguins have now prematurely exited the playoffs five years in a row. With each subsequent loss the pressure mounted. Only Crosby had been immune to scrutiny. But no longer.

Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers celebrate a game 7 win over the Penguins.

Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers celebrate a game 7 win over the Penguins.

Following a dismal playoffs which saw him post only a single goal and nine points in 13 games, Sidney Crosby now must answer some tough questions. His disappearing act in the second round is one of the most surprising aspects of these playoffs and can be considered the reason the Penguins are not advancing. I do not want to take anything away from a superb performance by the Rangers, but if Crosby plays like he normally does the Penguins advance and the Rangers go home. Simple as that.

Continue reading »

Apr 302013
 

So, once in a while, Steve and I will shoot the breeze and talk some puck. We decided to record for your listening pleasure. In the podcast, we go through every single series in the playoffs, make our predictions and, of course, make fun of Leafs Nation.

Apologies for the low sound levels and the lack of massaging to the sound. We wanted to get this up before the playoffs start so you have something to keep you busy while you wait.

It’s a long podcast, but click on the link and check out the time stamps listed below to skip to the series you want to listen to.

Cheers!

Armchair Hockey podcast no. 1

Apr 292013
 

The most exciting part of the year is here. The season was abridged, but the playoffs won’t be. Two full months of playoff hockey. Glorious.

So many story lines, so many things to go over. Can the Isles make the Pens sweat a little? How healthy will the Blues or Kings be after their series? Can the Red Wings pull off an upset over the second-ranked Ducks? Is this the Canucks’ last chance? Can a re-vitalized Ovechkin get the Caps over the hump?

Without further ado, here’s the quick and dirty for all eight playoff match-ups in the the 2013 NHL Playoffs.

1 Chicago Blackhawks vs. 8 Minnesota Wild

The Blackhawks were probably hoping for Columbus because no team wants to deal with Zach Parise in the playoffs. Parise had eight goals to lead the Devils last year and it was pretty clear Parise was the Devils’ MVP.

Despite the addition of Parise, who scored 18 goals this year, Minnesota has been starving on offense all season. Dany Heatley’s out for the season after getting shoulder surgery, Jason Pominville is questionable for game one, meaning their best goal scorer right now is Devin Setoguchi. Ohhh, scary.

Continue reading »

Jun 132012
 

I thought we’d see a much more confident and assertive Devils squad than the one that showed up in a 6-1 drubbing in Game 6. You could make up all sorts of excuses about the refs, but the one call they needed to get right, the dangerous Steve Bernier hit on Rob Scuderi, they did get right.

When the Kings pumped a third powerplay goal past Martin Brodeur, the game was over. It’s one thing to pump one, maybe two, pucks past playoff MVP Jonathan Quick, let alone three. When Jeff Carter glided in from the blueline and floated a rolling puck over Brodeur’s right shoulder and put the Kings up 4-0, you might as well have started engraving those names on the Cup. But good on the Kings, well deserved, especially Mike Richards and Darryl Sutter.

One of the worst things about the NHL is that teams like to mimic each other. Once a team wins a Cup, the other 29 teams will want to “borrow” that winning formula. When the Red Wings won Cups, it was because they had hardened, experienced veterans who knew what it took to win. In the years of Brodeur and Roy, and the Conn Smythe-winning performances of lesser stars like J-S Giguere and Cam Ward, everyone felt elite goaltending was the magic ingredient. That notion was destroyed pretty quickly when Cup finalists Philadelphia and Chicago trotted out Antti Niemi and Michael Leighton. When the Bruins won the Cup, everyone wanted to get tougher. (Which is also yet another reason why dealing Hodgson for a project like Zack Kassian, whose skill set obviously doesn’t and hasn’t meshed well with the skill-heavy Canucks, was a terrible decision.)

Continue reading »

Jun 112012
 

Is there any reason not to believe that this series won’t go seven games now? Yes, the predictable media narrative is that the Kings have lost the momentum, the Devils have found a crack in the armour and all of a sudden, Jonathan Quick looks oh-so-beatable right now.

Continue reading »

Jun 062012
 

I’ve said it many, many times over. The Canucks’ best chance at winning the Cup came last year. I can say the exact same thing about the Devils this year.

There is no one, clear way to build a championship roster. We know for certain that having homegrown talent goes a long way, as does good goaltending and a steady cast of veterans from lines one through four and pairings one through three. We’ve seen how drastically different the Bruins, Pens and Red Wings play hockey.

Continue reading »