Well playoff time has arrived. Do I care? Not really. Will I watch? Sporadically. I'm only interested seriously in one series....Ottawa vs Pittsburgh. I really don't care who the Sens are playing; they are the only other team in the league that I like or half-heartedly follow. I literally hate every single other team.
Before I get to my predictions, the draft lottery was held today. With the Oilers blowing the 5th spot by beating the Calgary Flames in game 82, they did not have a shot at the number one overall pick. They sat 6th and will pick 6th. They did not move up. Who gets the overall pick? Chicago. What place were they in? 5th. Hmmm weren't the Oilers in that spot before their debacle in Calgary?? Ahuh. The 5th spot had an 8% chance to get the overall pick and they managed to do so. That could and should have been the Oilers. I normally do not cheer against my boys ever, but when you've won only twice in like 20 games, what is one more loss. Good job boys! (update: thanks to Lord Bob for pointing out that a loss (in regulation) would have ended up with Edmonton in 4th, and still losing out on the lottery. Now if they could have lost in overtime, that would have been nice. lol).
I'll get into a moratorium on the Oilers' season in my next post but here is a quick link to check out Kevin Lowe's assertion that changes, many changes, will take place. I'll discuss this in my next post.
Okay playoff prediction time. Let's start with the Eastern Conference. Notoriously a weaker conference and yes it is again as a whole. But the best team in my mind comes out of the East and wins it all.
Ottawa Senators vs Sid 'the whiny' Kid's Pittsburgh Penquins
After a horrendous start to the year when they went 7-11-1 in their first 19 games, they picked things up and were the team for the rest of the year, although doing it quietly and under the radar which might help them. Ottawa had one of the league's only two 50 goal scorers this year in Dany Heatley and he is clicking big time with his linemates, Spezza and Alfredsson. Yes, this team is one of the favorites to win it all. Wait, we've all been saying this for a decade. The word choke comes to mind when you mention the Senators (anyone remember those horrible series with the Leaves? Yes choking). But this is a different team who faced major adversity earlier this season with the bad start to the season. That adversity will help the boys. Little whiny Sid will have to wait another year (Fleury is not going to win a series for you.....yet). Ottawa in 5.
Buffalo Sabres vs New York Islanders
Poor little Ryan Smyth and the Isles will be golfing very soon. Sorry kid, but the Isles are going to get steam-rolled with or without their 15-year man in goal. No need to go into more detail. This is your best bet in these playoffs. Buffalo in 4.
New Jersey Devils vs Tampa Bay Lightning
New Jersey has Brodeur and Tampa Bay has Holmqvist. Who? Exactly. Sure the Lightning has Lecavalier, St. Louis and Richards which could play a part. But seriously, who gives a damn about this series? Neither of these teams makes it past the second round anyway. The Devils win by putting us all in a coma. New Jersey in 7.
Atlanta Thrashers vs New York Rangers
Atlanta is the third seed. Why? They play in a shitty division so they get the home-ice advantage. But the Rangers are going to smack the southern hick of out them. Atlanta has some fire power in Kovalchuk and Hossa but the goalie situation probably does them in. Rangers in 5.
Now we go to the Western Conference, the always tougher conference. Just look at the teams and their point totals: 7 of 8 teams had over 100 points (as compared to 4 in the east). Detroit once again has an inflated point total like last year (they went 22-4-6 in their division) and we all know what happened last year (bounced by 8th place Edmonton, hmmm the memories). The West is more difficult to predict but let's take a chance.
Detroit Red Wings vs Calgary Flames
Sorry Lames' fans.....no repeat of last year. Even though Detroit's season looks dominate, their point total is an illusion. However, they luckily drew the Flames in the first round. The Wings will dominate and the losers, I mean Flames, will be gone before you can say Dion "Pussy" Phaneuf. I do enjoy what Grapes has to say about the Wings though, "There's a lot of sweeties on that team." Yeah Detroit is still the softest team in the playoffs but Calgary can't win on the road. Game over Lames! Detroit in 5.
Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (yeah I'm still calling you that) vs Minnesota Wild
Just like their counterparts in the east (Buffalo), Anaheim dominated the early part of the season. It was eerie watching both the Mighty Ducks and Sabres dominating so handily. However, they came back to earth and the Ducks will have their hands full with the Wild. First, Minnesota will trap you into a coma and then score on you when you're passed out on the ice. Yeah, the Wild are exciting (sarcasm folks). They are very unlike their name. They should be called the Minnesota Dull. Everyone will be picking the Ducks, but Minnesota with their stifling defense could play a huge part in this game and will upset the Ducks. Minnesota in 7.
Vancouver Canucks vs Dallas Stars
This might be an interesting series. Not that I'll really watch it nor do I like either team. However, every Oilers fan has a long standing hate-on for the Dallas Stars and I cannot deviate from that hate. Basically, I hate the Canucks less than the Stars. And they have the better goalie (Turco isn't good enough to carry Luongo's jock strap). Vancouver in 7.
Nashville Predators vs San Jose Sharks
Nashville picked up Peter Forsberg at the deadline and he's basically been a disappointment. He hasn't nor will he put the Preds over the top. Sorry Peter is not the player he used to be. San Jose has looked pretty good down the stretch but this team should be better. Will Joe Thornton, notorious for failing to show up in the playoffs, actually play a key role? That remains to be seen. Yes he was hot down the stretch, putting pressure on Whiny Sid for the scoring race, but we've seen this before (ahem, last year. SJ wins the first round but tanks in the second to who? Oh yes Edmonton baby. SJ had a chance to go up 3 game to 0 but lose in triple overtime and then lost three more straight). But SJ should get through to the next round if Joe remembers to put on his skates. If not, Nashville has a chance. San Jose in 6.
There y'all go. I also predict Ottawa wins the whole thing, but against who? Vancouver or San Jose? Maybe.
There you go. Sens win it all, but it doesn't matter since there are no Oilers in the playoffs. The good news: I get to save about $1200 on playoff tickets plus a miscellaneous amount on mercandise and alcohol. I'd be happy to shell out that kind of money and more to see the Oilers in the playoffs. Very sad days around here. I'll wait until next year and hope for a better team on the ice (paging Kevin Lowe) and a better performance by the team (hello every single Oiler).
Update: Maggie has made her predictions along with her TSN counter-parts. Also check out predictions from Coveredinoil and Battle of Alberta. Grapes is picking a Sens-Ducks final (I'm totally biased against the Ducks, I just can't pick them). ESPN's picks as well.