Tuesday, April 26, 2011

2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Lots of interesting stuff in the playoffs thus far...

Western Conference

Detroit def. Phoenix 4-0 - Goodness gracious, the Wings looked solid.

San Jose def. Los Angeles 4-2 - As a Sharks fan, I'm of course glad they won, but didn't see much to inspire confidence going into the later rounds. Very interesting piece Sharks-Kings piece on shooting at a goalie's pads from Puck Daddy at Yahoo Sports.

Nashville def. Anaheim 4-2 - Always happy to see Anaheim lose, but I have a hard time being sold on the Preds chances.

Chicago & Vancouver 3-3 - What a series... great players, panicked coaches (well, Vancouver coach), potential monster comeback from 3-0. It's been fantastic viewing.

Eastern Conference

Washington def. New York Rangers 4-1 - Heck of a team those Capitals are.

Boston leading Montreal 3-2 - I think the Canadiens cooked, but not overly impressed with the Bruins.

Pittsburgh & Tampa Bay 3-3 - Really good series... regardless of who wins, I think it would be tough sledding if a matchup with Washington awaits. Now, either Boston or Montreal... could be a different story.

Philadelphia & Buffalo 3-3 - Another good series, but not sure that it would be if the Flyers were able to get decent goaltending. To that point, amazed that Sergey Bobrovsky didn't even warrant a backup goalie spot for games 3-6 of the series.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

NHL Playoff Predictions

My thoughts on the teams I expect to be in the conference finals come playoff time... along with those that I could see making it:

Western Conference

Elite teams
Vancouver Canucks - serious Stanley Cup contender. Have all the pieces needed.
Detroit Red Wings - see Canucks, Vancouver. A very good team.

Next level
San Jose Sharks - playing well now, but at this point any deep playoff run would surprise me. As a Sharks fan, it would be great to be surprised.
Dallas Stars - I just have a hard time being convinced.
Anaheim Ducks - sort of like the Stars... I don't see them being elite right now without both Pronger and Neidermayer.
Colorado Avalanche - not sold on the goaltending.

Eastern Conference

Elite Team
Philadelphia Flyers - excellent hockey team.

Next level
Boston Bruins - I can't shake the memory of them losing a playoff series last year after being up three games to none.
Pittsburgh Penguins - good team with current healthy parts, but not a great one.
Washington Capitals - think there's a reason they just never break through.
Montreal Canadiens - not a great team, but seems to do the best they can with the skill they've got.
Tampa Bay - looking at next year, me thinks.

Right now, I'd say things point towards a Vancouver - Philadelphia Cup Finals... with the experience from last season pushing the Flyers just over the top.