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DING! “Rrrrrround One!”

April 7th, 2008 · 3 Comments · The Hockey Hippie

I’m stickin with the Eastern winners being the Habs, Pittsburgh, Washington and the Rangers.

And in the West: Detroit, San Jose, Minnesota, and hopefully the Dullass Steers knock out the Brutuzzi Phucks (the 3rd fewest goals scored in the league, and they’re proudly #1 in getting penalties — again).

Every one of the goalie match-ups this year is to die for! We’re in a golden era of master ‘tenders, no doubt about it.

Carey Price vs. Tim Thomas. The Habs will keep their 8-out-of-8 season streak going against Boston — not to mention that it’s actually 12 straight going back thru last season, or their 23-and-7 series record overall. This is future Hall-of-Famer Carey Price’s magic run spring — a la Cam Ward in ’06 and Kenny the Giraffe in ’71. And all the games are on CBC.

Marc-Andre Fleury vs. Martin Gerber. A Pittsburgh-Ottawa opening-round rematch from last season, with the opposite result this time. (ie; Pens in 4 or 5) Fleury should be great, but most importantly this is Crosby’s year to prove it. And now he’s got a smokin’ Malkin and a happy Hossa ridin’ shotgun. Plus someone named Gary Roberts is back in the line-up; just in time for his time of year. And in the Blessings From Above Dept.: Jim Hughson will be calling the Pittsburgh series on CBC! He’s the best there is. And again every game’s on CBC (’cause a Canadian team’s involved).

Chistobal Huet vs. Martin Biron. Washington — Philly. SOOOO glad Pittsburgh are NOT playing The Philly Goon Squad — and for the good of the sport and the health of all athletes, I hope the Throwaway Newspaper Supplements are eliminated in 4 by the super-on, high flying, hard hitting Capitals. Christobal Huet is in the zone, and they’re 11-and-2 since he joined, with a 1.63 GAA and .936 sv%. Marty Biron is in slo-mo at 2.59 and .918.  Thank Gawd — all games are on TSN! and a couple doubled up on NBC as well. For a separate story on Ovechkin’s records, see: http://brianhassett.com/2008/04/09/ovechkins-1s-this-season/

King Henri Lundqvist vs. Marty Brodeur. The New Jersey Satans managed only one shoot-out win in 8 games against the Rangers this year, so the Blueshirts have got Dr. Evil’s number, and I expect that the ugly-uniformed franchise will quickly slurp back into the swamp from which they came in short order. All games (except #2) are on TSN.

Dominik Hasek vs. Dan Ellis. Red Wings v Predators. As lovely a story as the forever-underdog Nashville Vegetarians is, they won’t be pulling any upset over the best team in hockey. Over 82 games the Red Wings are once again the President’s Trophy winners, and have let in the fewest goals, scored the 3rd most, have the 4th top point-getter in the league, and a coaching and management culture second only to Montreal. Plus, they have the best goalie tandem in a long time — their 2 netminders finished #1 and #4 in GAA in the league — and when was the last time one team had both the best and the 4th best in the league?! Only the weekend afternoon games 2 and 6 will be broadcast in Canada, on NBC. Game 3 is on TSN, and that’s it (so far).

Evegni Nabokov vs. Mikka Kiprusoff. San Jose vs. Calgary. What a showdown! The Sharks are firing on all cylinders and positions — see: Thornton, Campbell and Nabokov. They’re 20-and-2 in their last 22, and this is their year for The Finals. But meanwhile, here’s Calgary, with the best player playing in Canada in Jerome Iginla, and the country’s only Western team representing, with a killer Kiper goalie and an experienced playoff coach. The problem is, they’ll overplay their “toughness” — they have the most fighting majors in the majors, which is appealing to some and repulsive to others, and have taken the 2nd most penalties overall (whereas San Jose is the 2nd least penalized team). They could easily end up losing this with a man in the box to one of the best PPs in the league (who also happen to be numero uno on the PK!) No matter what, this should be a doozy of a series, but will go to the Sharks even if it has to go to 7. All games on CBC.

Niklas Backstrom vs. Jose Theodore. Minnesota – Colorado is the other exciting series in the West — evenly matched, both smartly coached, highly skilled, non-goon hockey. Even though I’m a jersey-owning Wild fan, how can you not love Team Sakic? With Ryan Smith, Peter Forsberg, Paul Stastny, Adam Foote and a revitalized Jose Theodore. For hockey’s sake, it would be great if this went 7 games — and it’s too bad one of the two has to be eliminated. At least 5 games on TSN: 1, 2, 4, 5, & 7.

In The Also-Rans Dept. — like Hawkman, I’m certainly hoping the classy and classic Blackhawks make it in next year. And also John Davidson’s team, the home of the blues, St. Louis. In the East, it’s great that Tampa just won the Stamkos Sweepstakes. The franchise were founded by Espo, and were the first offense-first team in a decade in the NHL when they won their Cup. Another superstar to play with Lecavelier & St. Louis is a real good thing.

Hopefully the wonderfully skilled, clean playing, and buoyantly enthusiastic Russians will eliminate some of the ethically-challenged teams and players in the first round.

I know it’s as blindly optimistic as hoping for politics to be played clean, but I live in hope that these playoffs are. May this be an injury-free playoffs for all players.

You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.

Puck on, hosers!

 

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For more hockey stories . . . check out the time I snuck onto the Penguins team bus during the playoffs.

Or the description of Blue Heaven at Madison Square Garden.

Or this amazing primer of Everything You Need to Know about hockey at the Olympics.

Or the complete printable Olympic team rosters with positions, stats, jersey numbers and everything for all the main teams.

Or there’s this nice printable one-sheet of the Penguins playoff roster.

Or a similar printable one-sheet for the Red Wings playoff roster.

Or a riff on how Canada’s flagship broadcast Hockey Night In Canada has suddenly become good again.

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by Brian Hassett           karmacoupon@gmail.com              BrianHassett.com

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3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 killerfish_73 // Apr 10, 2008 at 11:33 AM

    Bri, great stuff thanks for posting this. Truly an amazing bunch of hockey to look forward to.

    I’m with you on Habs over Bruins; love the ‘gin 6 matchup, Gainey’s placed a lot of faith in Carey Price and i think he’ll outplay Thomas. Plus I can’t help admire how Kovalev’s developed as a true leader on that squad.

    Pens – Sens: love this. I’m not a Fleury fan but i’m not sold on Ottawa goaltending situation either. And i think it’ll come down to the thing that’s bugged me about the Sens for years: heart. Croz, Malkin, Staal, Malone, my main man Gary Roberts, plus now Hossa and the rest have the passion to make it thru this round.

    Caps – Flyers – another matchup i’m loving — led by the best player in the galaxy, and with an outstanding supporting cast including Semen, Federov, Cooke, and Greene on the blue line just to name a few, i expect the caps to pound the Flyers like Marciano did Louis (sorry to switch sports on ya’s like that). In net, Washington definitely has the advantage in my eyes, and they got a coach that has them believing. I have an image of bloody black and orange carcasses staining the ice with the Great 8 standing over carnage like Vlad the Impaler or something.

    Rangers – Devils….so much for me to say here, for now ’nuff said that at its core this is about the end of the magic carpet Brodeur ride of the last 14 years and the solidifying of King Henrik’s reign. I’ll pass on the wings preds matchup and go with

    Flames – Sharks….whatta matchup! The running joke is the Sharks are the Senators of the West; now’s the time for them to show they are legitimate Cup contenders. and despite that 7th place finish, they can’t sleep on the Flames. this is exactly the kind of team darth keenan can win in the playoffs with. kipper in goal, phaneuf on D, whatta squad!

    ‘lanche – Wild, gotta love classic Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth, and now my Forsberg jersey is once again relevant!

  • 2 Brian // Apr 11, 2008 at 10:12 AM

    Everything going according to plan so far!

    20 yr old Carey Price nearly gets a shutout in his first ever NHL playoff game.

    Hasek lets in all of one goal (and deflected at that) in his playoff debut this year (and possibly his last).

    Anaheim and Brutuzzi take stupid penalties and Dallas capitalizes with a nice shutout win to open against the defending chumps.

    San Jose-Calgary all tied up, as it will be two more times before the 7th game.

    Rangers nicely trounce the NJ Swampthings, and Brodeur is looking positively half-man and half-goat.

    The red-hot Pens make the non-existent Sens look like a pick-up sparring partner.

    Poor old luckless Minnesota have their best defenseman go out with a frickin apendectomy! While the ghosts of springs-past show up in the body of Mighty Joe Sakic.

    And tonight we’ve got the most exciting and anticipated playoff debut in 20 years with Alexander Ovechkin set to begin his second career at 7PM.

    A playoff full of excellence, and it’s just 2 nights old.

  • 3 killerfish_73 // Apr 13, 2008 at 2:29 PM

    bro, watching pens sens game 2 this was shared with the fans…didn’t see who said it but from a penguins player re gary roberts, paraphrased: “gary’s got that look in his eye. i don’t know what it is, but it’s scary.” – love that guy.

    and how about ovy’s game winner the other night? this guy is just unreal. go habs! but really, i’m surprised game 2 went to OT.

    how huge is tonight’s game at MSG?

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