Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why I like who I like - Western Conference Playoffs

I went through my playoff wishlist two days ago, but thought I would find entertaining (for who? for me, of course) to go through the various potential combatants...

Western Conference in no particular order (an all inclusive even though I'm not sure LA didn't drop down to the ECHL):

1. San Jose - A very interesting team. Definite star power with Thornton and Cheechoo up front and Campbell and Rivet (well, maybe not a star, but solid) on the blueline. As a team that I've got a particular local affinity for, they've been absolutely maddening in their lack of a killer instinct. To steal a phrase from our dear President Bush, I'd like someone to "look into their eyes and see their soul," but... will have to see "it" to believe it.

2. Anaheim - Scary good team. With Teemu back in the fold along with Captain Scott and the ever improving Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, this team is peaking at the right time as they look to defend their title.

3. Detroit - Great potential. Fantastic scoring up front with Zetterberg and Datsyuk, the requisite nastiness with Downey and Draper and solid goaltending provided by... someone. The key to their postseason success with be the healthy return of the blueline corps in Rafalski, Chelios and above all, Lindstrom.

4. Dallas - NKOTB (New Kids On the Block) with a bang. The addition of Richards to this lineup puts them in the same scary good category as Anaheim. Definitely one of those teams that it hard to tell exactly how they win all the time (well, I guess by giving up less goals than they score... whereas other teams have to score more than they give up), but with Richards in the mix... wow. Big question mark to this team is in goal as Turco needs to improve on last season's playoff performance.

5. Calgary - A team that just barely deserves their own writeup, but having a nasty good Captain like Iginla and game-stealer like Kiprusoff gives them potential.

6. Minnesota / Vancouver / Colorado - Some interesting pieces to each of these teams (see: Gaborik, Marian; Luongo, Roberto & Forsberg, Peter), but not quite enough there.

7. Nashville / Phoenix / Columbus / St Louis / Chicago - Gotta love 'em for trying hard. Here's to hoping the revival continues in Chicago and the Hawks are back in the playoffs soon.

8. Edmonton / LA - Teams looking to build for the future. LA by putting complementary pieces around Kopitar and Johnson and Edmonton by offering $50M contracts to their other teams fourth-liners.

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