I'm here to share a little bit of my knowledge on the NHL Playoffs. Why don't I start with how the series are going just so you can check it out if you don't already know:
Detroit Red Wings vs. Ducks of Aneheim - Wings up, 3-2
Vancouver Canucks vs. Chicago Blackhawks - Hawks win, 4-2
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburg Penguins - Tied up, 3-3
Boston Bruins vs. Carolina Hurricanes - Canes up, 3-2
Ok, now my news. So a lot of people have seen that TD where I'm picking the Wings to win the Cup. Well, how could I pick someone else? Really, I'm a Detroit guy, maybe this will help our terrible economy. But if I had a non-biased opinion (which is kind of hard) I would still pick the Wings. It looks like they are going to get past the Ducks no trouble (by the way, the game's on 10 tonight if anyone is interested). The Red Wings are experts on putting the series away on the road. In their previous 11 chances to win the series on the road, they've won ten and the one they didn't win, they won that series on a different road game anyway. Pretty consistent, right?
Everyone labels Detroit as a soft team. They have all of these old guys whose age is high enough to label some of them retired Bingo and golf players . . . who would have thought that Chris Chelios would be playing until he's 47 and beyond since he has no intention of stopping after this season. Everyone also labels Anaheim as a tough team, especially because they have guys like Corey Perry and Chris Pronger. The tables were turned in the 5th game of that series though, the Red Wings out-hitting the Ducks 35-18 and that is what is going to make them go all the way to the Finals and win their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
Besides, what kind of name is the Ducks anyway?
Now onto the Blackhawks who were the first team to win their second round series - pretty easily, I might add. I watched a few games and the series wasn't as close as the two wins for the Canucks might suggest. Daniel Sedin - (or was it Henrik? Both of them actually) seemed like the only guys on the ice who wanted this series to continue. They scored 10 points apiece during the whole playoffs so far - not bad. What is bad is the Canucks didn't have one or two more of that type of guy. Even Roberto Luongo, arguably the game's best goalie, was shaky, giving up 21 goals in six games. It wasn't his fault he got outshot the majority of those games but 21 goals? You just cannot do that in a crucial playoff series.
I'm going to stop criticizing the Canucks and give the Blackhawks some credit, they certainly deserve it. Chicago, the lowest remaining seed in the West, which is really nothing since there are only two teams left, is the underdog going into the next series no matter who they play. For me, the potential is there but you need expirience to go until the end. They got Jonathon Toews, Patrick Kane and Kris Versteeq, just a few players among the pack who have never been in huge games or big pressure situations. Through the first two rounds it's fine not to have that expirience but not at these next stages. I can foresee kind of a Detroit Pistons (Bad Boys era) vs. Chicago Bulls (Michael Jordan era) where Detroit man handles Chicago for the first few years but lose control of the matchup after that. But I do think that Chicago will give whoever they face a run for their money.
Now onto the East. Maybe I should become a fan of an Eastern Team so I don't have to stay up for those late games out West the Red Wings play so heres hoping that the Hawks or Wings make the Finals. I thought for a second that the Boston Bruins were done against the Hurricanes but I've learned better to not count these Bruins out after watching them beat the Canes fairly easily to bring the series record up a little bit. I'm still pretty sure that the Canes will win it anyway though. Cam Ward is close to lights out in the playoffs so far except for a bad game here and there. Jussi Jokinen has come out of nowhere after a below-the-norm type of regular season and has scored 10 points so far in the two series combined with six of those coming against Boston so far and he is on the lookout for more.
For the Bruins, now that they figured out how to beat Cam Ward for one game and improved their defense quite a bit, it wouldn't be a bit of a surprise to see them ending up winning the series in seven. Some of their offensive weapons have disapeared in the playoffs and right now the Bruins need them more than ever. Those names include guys like Blake Wheeler (zero points in eight games), Zdeno Chara (four points in nine games), P.J. Axelsson (one point in nine games) and Patrice Bergeron (three points in nine games, all assists). These guys need to get it together or else the Bruins will lose tonight to end the series.
What a series this Pengs-Caps has become. To be honest with you. I wasn't thrilled when I heard Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin were going to be playing each other. Hockey is rarely about individual superstar matchups and it sure wasn't going to be here. I was proven wrong and it is a fantastic series so far. If Sergei Gonchar would have never gotten injured, there is a good chance to believe that the Penguins would already be in the Western Conference Finals. He is a key part of both their offense and defense and his lack of absense has shown. Having that said, I think the Capitals will take it in Game Seven. They have Alexander Ovechkin and just enough depth to get by. There are questions in my mind about Washington's goaltending though.