It's so nice to see the Datsyukian Delight finally get some credit for his efforts, as he is a finalist for the Hart, Selke and Lady Byng trophies this year. Even though I'd love to see Dats win it, the Hart is going to go to Malkin and Ovechkin will be a close second. But, as you can see from my picture, the winner of the award doesn't concern me because Pavel clearly has his mind on other things.
The Quest for Lord Stanley's Cup (try saying that with any other sports championship trophy and you might get kneecapped) is one full round in. The last two teams to advance last night were the Carolina Hickcanes, in a shocking upset of the Devils in the final minutes of a game seven, and the Washington Capitals, who completed their comeback from a 3-1 series hole against the Rangers to win it in seven games. I was 6 of 8 in the first round, only erring in the New Jersey-Carolina and Chicago-Calgary series (it appears I was actually taking crazy pills when I picked the Flames). I'm satisfied with that...it's the exact same number of teams I picked right last year too. And now that all of the matchups for round two have been decided, I'm ready to pick my winners for this one:
(1) Boston Bruins vs. (6) Carolina Hurricanes
The Bruins looked really, really good against the Canadiens. They won four straight games, got solid but not outstanding goaltending from Tim Thomas and beat the Habs. The Hurricanes, meanwhile, lucked their way past the Devils with some untimely goals let up by Marty Brodeur even though their team is actually pretty bad. This series between the Bruins and Canes annoys me greatly because it basically gives the Bruins another free pass. The Habs are crap, the Canes are crap and then woo hoo, they're in the Conference Finals. Stupid, but oh well. Boston in five.
(2) Washington Capitals vs. (4) Pittsburgh Penguins
The Capitals looked more than vulnerable in the first few games of the Rangers series, but rookie goalie Somebody Varlamov has them playing with confidence and poise. The Penguins have been waiting around for their next opponent after dispatching the Flyers in six games, and have looked as sharp as they were last year. Marc-Andre Fleury looks insane and I think he carries this series. Ovechkin, Crosby, and Malkin make this series a huge one for the league, but as Melrose said this morning, it will be the goalies who steal the show. My money's on Fleury. Pittsburgh in six.
(2) Detroit Red Wings vs. (8) Anaheim Ducks
Awesome. The epic series that should have happened last year if the Ducks weren't so hungover is finally happening. It will be stressful, I will hate me some Poultry and I will yell more obscenities at the TV than ever before. Boy, do I hate these players. Pronger, Niedermayer, Selanne, Getzlaf, Perry, Parros, everyone else. There's not a single player I like on this team. It's going to be a blood bath, and I think Detroit will emerge. The Wings and more importantly, Osgood, looked real sharp in their first round sweep of the Blue Jackets. The Ducks are no regular eighth seed and have Jonas Hiller playing phenomenal hockey, but they take way too many penalties to get away with this series. Detroit's power play is ridiculous and the Wings won't stoop to Anaheim's level of play (as the Sharks did). Those keys, and Osgood, keep the Wings flying towards Cup #12. Detroit in six.
(3) Vancouver Canucks vs. (4) Chicago Blackhawks
Ugh. I don't even want to pick this series. The Canucks, who have never won a Cup and will never win a Cup as long as I live, aren't going anywhere even with Luongo. The Blackhawks, who haven't won a Cup since 1961, are just too young and looked too mediocre against the Flames to give me any confidence. So, I don't know. Canucks, Blackhawks, Canucks, Blackhawks; they're both the same. Either one will lose to Detroit in the Conference Finals. Soooo I'm going to pick Detroit's bitch just to make it more fun. Chicago in seven.
Done. Necesito hacer mi tarea por mi clase de español. Game 1 is Friday night. I'll be here with pregame and recap. Adios amigos.