Category Archives: Habs

eastplayoffs

NHL Playoff Preview: Eastern Conference Matchups

I love NHL 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. And the Eastern Conference is wide open this year.

Even better this year is that I do not think you can positively say that any team that loses in the first round would be the victim of an “upset”. Every team in every division is so close it almost is not fair to you gambling folk out there.

By: Adam Pyde – @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.

New York Rangers (1st in Metropolitan)
vs
Pittsburgh Penguins (Wildcard 2)

Any playoff series with Sidney Crosby in it will be the highest profile one in the NHL. Are the Rangers smoke and mirrors propped up by elite goaltending? Sorta. Are the Penguins any good? Sorta.

Why New York can win: They have speed to kill. They’re like the epitome of an Eastern Conference team; they don’t play heavy hockey to beat you up, they just play fast hockey to tire you out. Rick Nash is having his best season in years. Their top two centers in Derek’s Stepan and Brassard have fully emerged as top level players. The defence has it’s warts, but Ryan McDonagh, Kevin Klein and Marc Staal are solid. They’re also playing in front of one of the best goaltenders of a generation in Henrik Lundqvist.

Why Pittsburgh can win: When you have the two best centers in the series, and two of the very best on the planet, you’re never really out of it. They’ll get Christian Ehrhoff back to start the series. David Perron, Chris Kunitz, Patrick Hornqvist and Blake Comeau have all shown they can be effective scorers. Despite the slide at the end, the playoffs are a chance at a clean slate and on paper the Penguins are still as good as anyone in the conference.

Pick: Rangers in 5 games
Pittsburgh isn’t bad. Not at all. They’re just leveled by injuries on defence and basically anyone who isn’t their top pairing or on their top line gets absolutely buried by the other team when on the ice. That isn’t the case for the Rangers. They can actually roll more than 2 lines.

To see the full picks, including the Canadiens and Senators series, click here to head on over to Talking Baws

canadian-teams-stanley-cups

Your team won the Stanley Cup last, when?

canadian-teams-stanley-cups

Whether you are a Flames, Oilers, Canucks, Jets, Senators, Habs or dare we say Leafs fan, it has been a tough slug. Last time any Canadian team to win anything were the Canadiens, and that was in 1993, which is more than 20 years ago, if you care to do the math.

We used to blame the lack of success on the weak Canadian dollar, the size of the Canadian markets and so on. None of these conditions are present and still no Canadian NHL franchise has won the cup recently. Yes the Flames in 03-04 came close, so did the Oilers, Senators and the Canucks, but close does not count, does it?

So what is it that is preventing our dearly beloved NHL teams from lifting Lord Stanley’s mug in June? Hockey used to be Canada’s game. Others are catching up and surpassing not only in the NHL, but on the world stage as well.