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2nd round

Cup Crazy: NHL Division Finals Predictions

Ladies and gentlemen, we are that much closer to finding out who wins the Stanley Cup, or to Brad Marchand the “starley cup.” Its the second round of the NHL playoffs which used to be the conference semi finals, but since the NHL went all college hoops we’re looking at Divisional finals. Still don’t like the ring of it, but I have the 100% factual picks of perfect accuracy for the winners.

I’m coming around on this new format to build “rivalries”, mainly because the more Habs-Bruins and Battles of California we have the better. Hoo boy. WOOOO!

By: Adam Pyde

You should go lock your bets in right after you’re done reading.

Atlantic Division Championship

#1 Boston Bruins vs #3 Montreal Canadiens

The Bruins are easily the best team in the entire Eastern conference. They’ve shown this for a few years now with one Cup win and another finals appearance. They play and impose a pretty Western Conference style of play on the Eastern Conference and it pays off. They should mop the floor with the Canadiens.

But, if there is one team who can beat the Bruins, it is Montreal. There is something about this match-up which causes Boston to usually drop its entire game plan and run around like a bunch of thugs. They play over aggressive and try to fight every Hab player after every hit, and usually find themselves in penalty trouble.

Why does this happen? I have no idea. There is no rational reason. But its one of those things in sports. This is the oldest and most storied rivalry in hockey. It has stood the test of time while others have died. And that gets into the heads of both teams. They both play so differently against each other. Can they hold composure in the playoffs?

I give the advantage to the Bruins at forward as I’ll take their centre ice over almost every team in the NHL. I find myself liking the Habs defence more, but that is only if they don’t play Douglas Murray – who might be the worst defenceman in the NHL to get regular-ish minutes. If Montreal plays him for “toughness” well, goodbye.

You’re not going to beat the Bruins at their own game. Other teams have tried, and failed. The teams that have beat the Bruins play the game their way.

In net the series is a total toss up. Picking between Price and Rask is like choosing between Miranda Kerr and Adriana Lima. Picking between a smoked meat sandwich and delicious chowder.

Close your eyes, flip a coin, flail your arms about and when the coin lands freeze. Determine if your arms look more like a big “C” or a big “B”. That’s how I picked.

Bruins in 7

For the rest of the perfect predictions go read the full story at TalkingBaws.com

1999

How Things Have Changed: NHL Uniforms in 1999

Fifteen years ago was a long time ago. Think about it. Probably a lot of the stuff you thought was cool isn’t anymore (kick scooters), but hey some of it probably still is (Lego, Pokemon, Backstreet Boys). This applies to fashion too. Remember the 90‘s fashion? Especially late 90s when everything had to be shiny or gaudy? Well the NHL was no different.

It used to look ugly. Really ugly, but some of it has come back to look pretty good. Actually it looked good. Nope ugly. Dive in.

By: Adam Pyde - @Adam_Pyde

Anaheim-Mighty-Ducks-Purple-Jersey-1993-2006

We start in Anaheim, where they were very 90s.

Just look at those colours. Teal and eggplant. It looked tacky at the time, but honestly, the look as aged quite well which seems to be the case of most old uniforms. Maybe its my Mighty Ducks movies nostalgia.

“Rabble rabble rabble GET RID OF THAT OLD STUFF! ITS TIME TO MOVE ON! WE NEED A NEW LOOK! rabble rabble rabble”

Then you get new looks, and they usually suck but you buy it and defend it because of team allegiance. But 10 years later people are clamouring for the classic look. And this one was no different.

In fact Anaheim brought it back and the team hasn’t looked so good in the last 8 years. Gone was a 90% black uniform and in came something that really popped. In a league full of boring black and navy uniforms, this was a welcome change.

You’re welcome to bring these back full-time at any moment, Anaheim.

1014-ana-faceoff

Next we stop in Boston where, uh, they wore… this.

raybourque

Really Boston? Who approved this? Who approved putting one of the greatest defencemen of all time in this? Are you kidding me?

“The hot new trend is a third sweater these days! Let’s make one bright yellow and put Smokey the Bear on it! It’ll sell like hotcakes and look great!”

Awful. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the last terrible yellow uniform we’ve seen.

Still, woof. I get Anaheim. That was 1995.

But this? It looks like one of those hilarious minor league sweaters worn on fundraising nights for local charities.

“Come on out to the Garden to support our local boy scouts raise funds for wildfire awareness!”

Luckily for your eyes, the Buffalo Sabres actually were wearing a pretty decent uniform in 1999.

buff

Not bad. And I would probably like it more if half of the Minor Hockey Associations across British Columbia didn’t feel the need to switch to this design. It’s probably the second best uniform set in franchise history, trailing only behind the classic 1970′s look.

Plus, this sweater accompanied Buffalo’s only trip the Stanley Cup Finals where… oh right. This happened.

hull

Would you look at that. What a travesty. And of course I’m talking about the Dallas Stars ever ditching those classic green star uniforms.

dallas

Damn. That looks good. Oh so good. And so unique. The Stars used to be the only team in the entire league to wear green in their uniform. No idea why. Green is a great sweater colour.

And look at that design. They are called the Stars, and their uniforms were star designed. And it worked. Good job marketing and design teams!

Similar to the Buffalo Sabres, this was the only sweater that ever got the Stars into the Stanley Cup Finals, and they won. Then the franchise struck futility for years wearing boring black uniforms.

But times are good right now, and its no coincidence its because they’re mean in green again.

Curious of another NHL team that seemed to hate the idea of colour in their uniforms? Why the Los Angeles Kings are they!

To see how things have changed in places like Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix (ew) and Tampa Bay, head over to TalkingBaws for the full article.

west

Cup Crazy: First Round Western Conference Playoff Predictions

I love playoff hockey. This opening paragraph could end here, but it won’t because I love love love playoff hockey. Best teams versus the best teams. Teams going all out because all the chips are down. Players leaving it all on the ice. Shooting, hitting, saves, scoring, blood, sweat, tears, emotion.

Yeah, there is shenanigans like Dustin Brown diving and the Sharks being a bunch of babies. But that makes it all the more exciting and infuriating.

Also, with no Vancouver Canucks this year, it’ll be totally stress and disappointment free!

By: @Adam_Pyde

So to prepare for the best two months of NHL hockey, why not make predictions? I mean, no one gets these right. Ever. TSN used to have a monkey spin a wheel and it nailed more correct outcomes than the “experts.” And I’m not an expert, nor am I a monkey which leaves me in between somewhere so obviously I know more than people who get paid.

Anaheim Ducks vs Dallas Stars

stars

The first round opens with an old Pacific Division match-up. Anaheim reeks of paper tiger. Great forwards, a some-how competent defence, and good but not great goaltending. On the other hand, Dallas has a great first line, good defence and good goaltending.

Anaheim’s depth at forward is the real big different maker. Dallas doesn’t quite have the secondary scoring that Anaheim received this season with 10 players that scored at least 10 goals, with 2 more at 9. So basically the entire roster is able to score.

Dallas has a lot to like going forward, but they just don’t have the depth at forward to really compete if Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn don’t carry them. The defence also could use a stud like Stephane Robidas, who they traded to Anaheim this season.

Dallas big edge this series in net. I’ll take Kari Lehtonen over whichever one of three goalies Anaheim will play.

I don’t like Anaheim’s chances against an actual good team, but luckily for them Dallas isn’t quite a good team yet.

Pick: Ducks in 6 games

Head on over to TalkingBaws.com to see the full totally correct predictions!

So what do you think? Am I crazy? Super crazy? Super right? Let me know, because I’m right. I’m always right.

east

Cup Crazy: First Round Eastern Conference Playoff Predictions

I love playoff hockey. This opening paragraph could end here, but it won’t because I love love love playoff hockey. Best teams versus the best teams. Teams going all out because all the chips are down. Players leaving it all on the ice. Shooting, hitting, saves, scoring, blood, sweat, tears, emotion.

Yeah, there is shenanigans like the Habs diving and the Bruins being whining, crying jerks. But that makes it all the more exciting and infuriating.

Also, with no Vancouver Canucks this year, it’ll be totally stress and disappointment free!

By: @Adam_Pyde

So to prepare for the best two months of NHL hockey, why not make predictions? I mean, no one gets these right. Ever. TSN used to have a monkey spin a wheel and it nailed more correct outcomes than the “experts.” And I’m not an expert, nor am I a monkey which leaves me in between somewhere so obviously I know more than people who get paid.

Boston Bruins vs Detroit Red Wings

detroit

The Bruins are the top seed in the entire NHL. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings have made the playoffs for the 23rd consecutive season. The last time they missed the playoffs I was not yet 1 year old. And none of this has anything to do with anything because its the playoffs.

I don’t know who would pick against the Bruins here. The team is just so complete. The best goaltender in the league with Tuuka Rask, the most dominant defenceman in the league with Zdeno Chara, and a set of forwards that features 12 time 30 goal scorer Jarome Iginla and Selke winner Patrice Bergeron. If there is anything to worry about with this team, it is that with Dennis Seidenberg out on defence things get awfully thin behind Chara. Guys like Krug, Bartkowski and Boychuk are all quality defenceman, but they aren’t going to give too much trouble to opposing forwards.

Detroit has a good team, but they’ve been so ravaged by injuries that its hard to get a good read on what this team really is. They have all the makings of a team that can make a run. Skilled, fast forwards to score like Pavel Datsyuk and Gustav Nyqvist, steady defence lead by Nik Kronwall, and terrific goaltending from Jimmy Howard. But again, they’re injured. Henrik Zetterberg is out, Johan Franzen is seemingly always a stride away from a hernia, Jonathon Ericsson is out, and so are a bucket full of other players.

Detroit will manage to take a couple games and put a scare into the Bruins, but unfortunately they don’t have enough. Any other opponent in the East though and they would’ve done some damage.

Pick: Bruins in 6 games

Head on over to TalkingBaws.com to see the full totally correct predictions!

So what do you think? Am I crazy? Super crazy? Super right? Let me know, because I’m right. I’m always right.

blargh

Lock In Your Bets: Is “Cup Crazy” The NHL’s Attempt at March Madness?

Coming out of the 2012-2013 NHL Lockout, the league implemented a variety of changes. Things like boring salary cap and revenue stuff, uniform regulations, and increased injury protocols. But the biggest change was that to the conference and division alignment, as well as the playoff system that would take effect in the 2013-14 season. That is, the move to a bracket system.

While there was never anything wrong with playoff hockey before, it was still pretty complicated with reseedings and whatnot. Ever try to run an office pool? Pretty well lasts 2 weeks of the first round and everyone is toast. But now things are different and lot like March Madness, but you get to start at the Sweet 16.

Teams stay in their division until the conference finals to build rivalries! Which is fair. The best rivalries in the league come from the playoffs: San Jose – Los Angeles, Chicago – Vancouver, Boston – Montreal, Philadelphia – Pittsburgh.

This change had primarily been overlooked. Mainly because it wasn’t yet totally relevant as it took over a year to really take effect.

Continue reading at TalkingBaws.com

nhl_trophies20135301

Bringing Home Hardware: NHL Awards Predictions

The NHL season is over. This is great news. For fans of good teams, its playoff time. For fans of bad teams, yay draft! Prospects! But more importantly, it is awards season! I love awards season and predictions and voting time!

Where else will you find dumb media guys openly admitting they’re dumb by casting dumb votes because the second pairing defenceman on your favourite team is easily a Norris contender and the rookie who played 35 games is a total Calder candidate.

So why not speculate on who’s a favourite and who I think will win?

(I should note, I’m saying who I think will win, not who I’d pick. Also, read this if you enjoy funny)

VEZINA – Awarded to the league’s top goaltender

Contenders: Semyon Varlamov, Ben Bishop, Tuuka Rask

Other names: Carey Price, Ryan Miller, Jimmy Howard

Mid-season pick: Josh Harding

Its been a weird year for goaltending in the NHL.  Your regular contenders spent most of the year hurt or playing poorly to honestly have their names in the conversation like Quick, Lundqvist, and Rinne. Poor Josh Harding was playing terrific before having his season derailed by medical complications.

Rask is pretty well king of the castle at this point. He’s a terrific goaltender and plays on a defensive juggernaut of a team and will be in the Vezina discussion until the Bruins stop being good.

Bishop wass key to the Lightning’s comfortable playoff position despite some key injuries to Stamkos and Hedman, as well as the departure of crybaby Martin St. Boohooius St.Louis.

Varlamov has been unbelievable for the Avalanche this season posting save percentage at the top of the league on a team that gives up a whole lot of shots. He’ll finish the season with the most total saves on the year and have basically set new personal highs in everything.

Price and Howard will both be up there. Price is terrific, but I just don’t know if he’ll get the votes. Howard would be higher up if not for his time missed with injury considering Detroit’s status as a skating infirmary.

Winner: Tuuka Rask

Tuukka Rask

 Click here to continue reading for all the other totally correct trophy picks.