It's April which means the end of the regular season of the NHL is upon us once again. It has been an exciting year of hockey indeed with amazing games and the olympics that featured one of hockey's greatest gold medal game. It was amazing to see milestones broken like Brodeur's 600th career win, Selanne's 600th career goal and seeing Datsyuk with his 200th goal as well. Now comes the even more exciting part: The Stanley Cup Playoffs where heroes will rise and legends will be made. Currently the picture in the west is all figured out while in the east three teams are currently fighting to keep in contention. Philadelphia, Boston and New York (Rangers only a point behind Boston) So with the playoffs only two weeks away what are your expectations for your team this year? Who will go the distance in your mind and which team has the potential to raise Lord Stanley when it's all said and done?
OT: Quest for the Cup Begins Soon
Not this again...
But to answer your question, the Wings will win the cup, unless Gravellese transitions to the NHL before the season's over.
Red Wings in 6 over Washington. I don't like the possibility of facing PHX in the first round as I think they (along with Vancouver) are the toughest teams for the Wings. Let's hope SJ and CHI get pushed to 7 gamers in the first round.
But because of the distance between the cities. While watching the Wings Flyers game, Doc pointed out something important and that was the distance factor that comes into play. Long distance matchups are more tiring and strenuous on the body and the mind. Detroit's got a better chance in a 1st round matchup with teams like Chicago and Nashville. They are close cities plus our fans will be able to travel more to them unlike Vancouver or Phoenix that are so far away. Remember how tough the Colorado Wings series use to be for Detroit? Long Distance from Michigan and a higher altitude made it more difficult to play there.
Playoffs start Wendesday. I can't wait. I already programmed my DVR to record every game on Versus through Sunday even though we don't know who will be on yet. I have to put a placeholder on the DVR so that my wife can't set it to record "The Real Housewives of Orange County" or "What not to Wear" on those nights.
I can't make a prediction at all on the Red Wings this year. I could see them destroying Vancouver, Phoenix, or Chicago in five games and I could also see them getting destroyed. This year is devoid of clear favorites as much as any year in recent memory. I see seven teams with a realistic shot at winning the Cup (San Jose, Chicago, Vancouver, Detroy-it, Washington, Buffalo, Pittsburgh)
I have the channel and I just wanted to know if they are being given coverage of the playoffs too. I was very impressed with Versus coverage on it last year and in 2008. Although I hate that NBC has it again. I really wish that ABC would bring it back but oh well, Doc's entertaining to listen to and so is Edzo.
I'm pretty sure that the NHL network doesn't have any games.
Why would you want ABC to get the games back? Hockey on NBC is essentially Versus on a weekend afternoon. Emrick is great and so is Joe Beninati. They even get Dave Strader to do their C and D games, and I love Dave Strader. Their coverage is a lot less annoying then ESPN/ABC's coverage used to be.
I hate listening to Mil-bag and Pierre. Those two are annoying as fuck to listen to. I loved ABC because Thorne and Celement were by far the NHL's best and in my opinion still are. Thanks to the retarded lockout ABC dropped the NHL along with ESPN. I do like Beninati thought he's got great enthusiasm for the game when he's on the air.
I see what you're saying, but I'll take Maguire and Mil-bag over Barry Melrose every day of the week and twice on Sunday. Thornegasm and Clement were okay, but I like most of the crews on Versus and CBC better.
63 days til pool play! Go AMERICA! Fuck Algeria!
Chronologically speaking, fuck the red coats first. And in the words of a great, great man, "America, FUCK YEA!"
Out of the East, Washington has looked really good this year, hard to say as Pittsburgh has been very good also, never discount NJ. The West is wide open, I think just about any team other than Colorado could win the West. I would love to see Detroit go again, but it will be a tough road as the West seems very tough top to bottom this year.
yes, they have looked good.
As a hockey fan, however, I can tell you that I'm very worried about them. They are extremly streaky, which can either bode well or it can mean DOOM.
I just don't have a good feeling about it. I think they peaked way too early in the season and will struggle to make it to the finals.
but I must say it does not look great for them. Ottawa first round followed by Washington. Pit has been swept by both the Caps and Devils this year which doesn't bode well for their playoff hopes.
I didn't know that Penguins fans were allowed to post on this site. haha jk, I wouldn't worry too much about Pitt's chances, they seem to be the Cap's kryptonite in the playoffs.
The West looks a lot more interesting than the East this year. All four potential first round matchups in the West look really good, with the exception of maybe Nashville-Phoenix. The East, on the other hand, has some real turds coming this year in the first round (basically everything not involving Washington and Pittsburgh.)
and I'm cautiously optimistic. I think that as a team, we're capable of beating anyone in a 7 game series. Home Ice in the playoffs will help the Hawks, and really, I think our team defense is amazing (at least, it was till they all got hurt)
As per usual, the worry is a "playoff tested blah blah goalie" but I dont think that goaltending in the playoffs is a necessity. Yes, it is very helpful, and yes, goalies can win you games, series and cups, but when was the last time that happened? Frankly the Wings goaltending situation is just as iffy as the Hawks - a rookie and a "might be too old" Osgood.
Hopefully it's just a matter of time (this year?) for the young guns from Chicago to knock off the older guard from Detroit - shades of '90-'91 on the hard wood.
Anyway, I think that the west is wide open, and if washington gets any goaltending they'll be tough to beat.
let the neg-bang commence from the wings fans...
I would never neg-bang you for being a fan of a team. I hope my team beats yours if they meet, but I won't ding you for rooting for them. Maybe if you made some really snide remarks but not for just the support. Chicago has done great this season, but the playoffs can be unpredictable, I give San Jose and Chicago the best chances but I think with a couple of breaks any team in the west could go the distance.
"but I dont think that goaltending in the playoffs is a necessity. Yes, it is very helpful, and yes, goalies can win you games"
Respectfully sir, you are high.
The playoffs are lower scoring, there's 10x more no-calls than calls, therefore goaltending is MUCH more important. Lack of it killed your Hawks just last year.
I would agree that strong defense and not allowing opportunities in the first place is way more important (the Red Wings model of success), but stealing a game when you give up 40 shots (a la Giguere vs. Wings in '03 or Cujo and Oilers vs. top seeded Stars in 97) is critical to winning playoff. Hell, Osgood even stole game 1 vs. Pens last year.
If you don't have a goalie that can steal 1 or 2 along the way, you don't have a chance.
I think the Wings will be the most feared match-up for anyone in the West. The Wings are finally healthy, and as us Wings fans and most of the NHL have noticed, are playing really well currently. I would love to see a Wings-Hawks 1st round match-up but i think the Wings will finish higher than 7th or 8th. I will say the Wings will make it out of the West based on the fact we have players that have played less than 60 games this season due to all of the injuries, Franzen will be huge for us in the playoffs. The only way i see the Wings struggling is goalkeeping. I think Howard will be named the starter and will do fine, but who knows it is the playoffs.
As for the East i think it is between Washington and New Jersey. Washington's offense is amazing but their defense is a bit lacking. If they hit a scoring drought soon i would be worried about them. Another thing that must be considered for the Caps is their division. Washington plays in the Southeast and play three of the weakest teams in the conference (sorry Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Florida). The Caps are 18-3-2 vs the SE this season and all three teams are in the top 10 for goals allowed this season, thus the Caps high amount of goals for. This is similar to the Wings just a few years back. They played against the weakest division in the league, so we won the President's trophy every year but then would lose in the playoffs after playing against better teams.
As for the Devils, they may be the most complete team in the East. They have the best goals against in the league and as it is commonly said, "Defense wins championships." Their offense is average so they will not light up the light that much, but i think that will at least make it to the Eastern finals.
The only odd thing is that current match up is vs. Philly, who has owned NJ this season. That could be a first round upset that tips the East to the Caps.
I direct you to this post on the DC Sports Bog from this week, which pretty much dispels, using numbers and other real data, the notion that the Caps have had any real advantage this season by playing in the SE.
Without including any games against the SE, the Caps still have the highest goal/game average, and when just against the supposedly far superior Western Conference, the Caps are 4th.
, I contend, is better than the Eastern conference, as a whole. All 8 of the top teams in the West would be between 2nd an 5th in the East. 7 Western teams have or have a shot at 100 points, to 4 for the East. Other than Edmonton (worst record in the NHL), the not-playoff-bound teams in the West would be somewhere between 6 and 11 in the East. If you were to take the 16 best teams, regardless of conference, right now 10 Western teams and 6 Eastern teams would make the playoffs. Standings: http://espn.go.com/nhl/standings
Are the Caps really good? Yes, definitely.
Would they have won the President's trophy if they played in the West? Probably.
Are they the best team in the NHL this year? It's certainly possible.
Will they win the Cup? Again, entirely possible and they are not a team I would want the Wings to play in the SCF.
Is the West stronger than the East? It would be difficult to argue otherwise.
I think that New Joisey will get knocked out in the first or second round. Lemaire is a pre-lockout coach, which is why he hasn't done jack squat since the lockout. Speaking of doing jack squat lately, Martin Brodeur hasn't led the Devils on a deep playoff run since 2003. He is getting old and his aura of invincibility has taken a big hit since the end of the dead puck era.
But the Devils are 4-0 against Pittsburgh this season. I think that this is a huge boost of confidence for the Devils. As long as the Devils buy into the fact that they are a good team they should be a strong competitor to anyone. Of course this boost of confidence could have both positive and negative connotations.
to go deep. We'll see.
Why you ask? Because it is a classic example of the delusion that Blackhawks fans are suffering from. Plus, I know deep down you're quivering with fear at the thought of playing the Wings in the playoffs with the way both of these teams have been playing to date. Also, Marian Hossa is on your team, therefore you are doomed to lose in the playoffs.
Why you ask? Because it is a classic example of the delusion that Wings fans are suffering from. Plus, I know deep down you're quivering with fear at the thought of getting knocked out of the playoffs in round one with the way both teams have been playing to date. Also, your goalie has no playoff experience, therefore you are doomed to lose in the playoffs.
See how easy that was?
All i have to say is good luck having a decent third and fourth lines in the future. Chicago is good for now, but since Kane, Towes, Keith and Hossa are all signed long term to wealthy contracts the Hawks could see some trouble in signing decent third and fourth liners.
The Wings have been good for so long due to the scouting department finding late round gems in the draft (Pav and Hank). I know nothing of the Hawks scouting department so i cannot comment on their scouting and what they have coming up.
In addition, the Wings have players willing to take pay cuts to keep the current team together, Hossa was an example of this last season. We also have players willing to go on the IR to save the team, Maltby.
The Hawks could develop this same set of "luxuries" that the Wings have enjoyed for years now. I would love to see the Wings and Hawks compete every season for the Central crown plus the Original-6 match up is always exciting.
Stan is now the GM in Chicago and Scotty is "employed in some capacity" by the organization too. I think that he's officially a consultant, but, yeah, I'll take scotty bowman helping to run things.
... you are now going to have your heart ripped out when Marian Hossa no-shows in the playoffs.
I see the East as the biggest threat right now with teams like Washington, New Jersey and Pittsburgh but Pittsburgh is actually in my mind at least, seeming to become a lesse possibility of a cup due to Malkin being injured a good deal of the regular season and they have looked shaky as the season has come to a close. I would be terrified of playing the Caps in the first round and I don't give a fuck what you say about them compared to the west, this team is scary good at scoring. That powerplay goal by Ovechkin only 4 seconds into the man advantage on Pittsburgh was amazing to watch and with names like Backstrom, Semin and Ovie I'd be looking out for the Caps. New Jersey is another team to watch out for. Parise seems to score every game he plays and his + rating has been amazing as of late. Brodeur's older but still tough and he always buckles down come playoff time. He's one of the reasons the Devils won 3 Stanley Cups. Pittsburgh, alright Crosby's a good goal scorer BUT with Malkin being injured and not being in the lineup game to game will that affect them in the playoffs? Fleury has also been letting in some softies as of late and has also needed to be pulled. I'd look out for the Sabres too names like Pominville, Roy and Miller.
Looking to the West my top 5 would be 1. Chicago, youthfull skaters and strong talent plus Niemi seems to have found his game. 2. San Jose, Sharks are tough and have numerous scorers that can make huge plays to get big leads. 3. Vancouver, Canucks right now with Luongo are playing awesome and I'd be a little hesitant in facing them in the first round. 4. Detroit, Red Wings have really brought their A game as the regular season has concluded and Howard has really done amazing in net right now as he is in the top 10 goalies list this year.
5. Phoenix, Coyotes have truely been the Cinderella team of the NHL this year. From possible movement to coaching crisis this team has really shocked me on how talented they really are and I would not want to go against them in the 1st round. Bottom line people the playoffs aren't won on paper, or a blog or chatroom, the cup is raised on the ice. We will just have to sit back and watch what happens.
but there's a lot of jumping to conclusions here....Wings are playing lights-out hockey right now, but it won't be easy to make a run. Plenty of solid teams in the West.
disagree. The Wings have definitely looked shaky and vulnerable in their last 5. Against Columbus twice and Edmonton. They won those three, like they should. But not easily and not well. Wings looked as good as they should against those teams at times and really bad at times. Hence 4 straight goals for Edmonton and Columbus' lead last night. Hopefully they'll get back to form soon, but they're far from lights-out right now. Some of the after-break magic is definitely running out. Detroit is also on a 4 game road trip now, until they come home for Game 3 of the first round.
Luckily, we have Mike Babcock and he'll fix things. Chicago for the finale should be a good tune-up and opportunity to see if we've been playing down to our opponent or if we might be in for a bit of a nailbiter in the playoffs.
Fortunately, the Wings won't be playing such cellar dwellers in the playoffs. I expect they'll be playing better. I am glad, though, that Chicago is the last game, rather than Columbus.
Really hurts not seeing St. Louis in it.... But they had their chances and they let them go. I don't know who I want to win this year.
I'm thrilled that Detroit will be in the playoffs this year. They have really battled adversity to get to this point.
But if they want to make a run at the cup they simply need to be better in their own end. I am concerned with the number of times I have seen Detroit gain control of the puck, have time to look over their options; and then make a bad pass that leads to a turnover. They need to make better decisions with the puck in their own end. If the pass is not there, they should flip it out of the zone.
If they can tighten up defensively (and Howard does not melt down in the playoffs) Detroit could emerge from the west. If not, it will be a very short ride for the Red Wings.
Stanley cup Champ
My hope: Detroit
My pick: Washington
1. The Washington Saga: This team is certainly potent on offense, but consider this. The Capitals have one of the worst, if not the worst, defensive corps among the cup contenders. This is somewhat of a personnel problem, but more of a play-style issue. In their own zone, the Capital's forwards float around the blue looking for odd man breaks. This leaves them highly susceptible to low-cycling. This mentality will not carry them in the playoffs where teams will tighten up in the neutral zone. The Capitals are the Penguins of the 90's. I don't see them getting past New Jersey, and a series with Pittsburgh or Buffalo could pose a challenge.
2. 0-10 Pittsburgh: That's their record against New Jersey and Washington. Does it matter? I think it is somewhat telling, though Gonchar and Malkin have been out for many of these contests. I think it matters more against New Jersey, as the Penguins haven't been able to solve the trap under their new coach. I think they could still give Washington a run for their money though, and it would certainly be an exciting series to watch. Ideal situation for Pittsburgh is the Flyers take out the Devils, and then Pittsburgh plays Washington in the second round. Still, I don't see them repeating. There's just too many question marks.
3. Detroit: It's nice that they're finally putting this together. Still, there's a lot of question marks on the back end even with Howard's stellar play. Like Michigan hockey, I don't think their final push will take them all the way. It's just not their year in my opinion. I'd love to be wrong though. So who wins out West? I think that Phoenix will go farther than people think. They're a solid system team who should excel in the playoffs. I think its a tossup for the conference finals between Phoenix, San Jose, and Chicago. Then again, you can't discount Nashville's defense and I wouldn't be surprised to see them sneak in (though I doubt they win it all).
Eastern Conference Champ: Pittsburgh
Western Conference Champ: San Jose
Stanley Cup Champ: San Jose
Honestly though, I could see neither of these teams making it past the first round. So much parity this year, should make things exciting!