Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Playoff Picture Is Set

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae.

The NHL season wrapped up tonight, with the Eastern Conference seedings being determined on the last day of the season. Heading into tonight, a few teams could determine their own fate - not surprisingly all of them failed, and all of them will likely end up kicking themselves as tonight is probably going to cost them.

Start with the team who wound up losing the most tonight - the New York Rangers, who had a chance to win their division tonight with a win at home to the SenaTards and give themselves home ice advantage in a first round playoff matchup. The Rangers got spanked 5-1 tonight by the Tards; here is what it cost the Rangers:
  • A matchup against the Flyers who are big and slow, wounded, and have quite possibly the worst starting goaltending of all playoff bound teams (well, maybe Tampa Bay). The Flyers are ripe for the picking - Buffalo is going to love this matchup.
Instead, the Rangers now fall to sixth place and have a first round matchup against the New Jersey Devils who go into the playoffs winners of 11 straight. I still think the Rangers win this series - but it's going to take 6 or 7, and its going to cost them.

Oh yeah, the Rangers killed one of my pro-line tickets tonight, a really good one - so I'll be happy to see them bounced out of the playoffs.

The Carolina Hurricanes blew the first overall seed in the Eastern Conference by losing to the aforementioned Andrew Peters'-led Buffalo Sabres; the only team who could not improve or worsen the playoff seeding based on tonight's result. Carolina laid a great big egg tonight and let the SenaTards pass them for top spot in the conference. Here is what tonight's poor effort cost the Hurricanes:
  • A first round meeting with the Tampa Bay Lightning - a team who limped into the playoffs, a team who has all sorts of question marks surrounding their goalies, and a team whose stars are not having the kind of season expected of them. Martin St. Louis is looking more like a flash in the pan, Frederik Modin hasn't been a force, Brad Richards is playing like a guy who knows he isn't going to be back. Carolina would have beaten Tampa in five games and had a nice rest before Round 2. Instead...

  • The get the Montreal Canadiens - a team that matches up quite well with Carolina in terms of speed. Martin Gerber has looked very ordinary down the stretch, and at times downright average. Montreal's goaltending isn't that much better, with neither Huet or Aebischer inspiring a lot of confidence - but they are good enough to take Carolina to the wall. I don't know why...but I see this one going seven games (like the old Montreal/Hartford series)...and I see Montreal pulling one out. It pains me to say that - but the way these two teams finished up - I'll take Montreal.
So Carolina goes from a certain first round win - and plenty of talk about being a Stanley Cup contender - to another team that had a great year and did nothing with it (a la the Ottawa SenaTards of years past). Carolina is going to regret tonight's game...even if they beat Montreal - they will be spent and gassed.

Tonight's winners? The SenaTards...tomorrow will be filled with talk about sweeping the Lightning and how Hasek will be back for round 2. Keep dreaming SenaTards, the prima donna isn't coming back this year. I don't even want to talk about them.

More hockey later this week - two playoff pools tomorrow and I'm loading up on San Jose and Buffalo - hmmm maybe Andrew Peters as my surprise number one pick.


Barcelona is first in line to accept the hardware from Hazel. Ronaldinho led the Catalans to a 1-0 victory today against A.C. Milan at the San Siro; Guily scored the goal off of a Ronaldinho free kick. Unfortunately Deco missed the game due to a suspension - but he'll be back in two weeks to finish A.C. off.

Home Runs were the order of the night in the majors - with a number of players hitting two HRs tonight.

In a game that Hazel had to love - the Blue Jays got two HRs and 3 RBI from 3b Troy Glaus as they spanked the Yankees by a score of 10-5. RF Alex Rios chipped in with a HR and 4 RBI - and more importantly...keeping Hinske on the bench. Can't you hear Hazel saying "Buh Bye"? Does she still say it?

Speaking of Hazel (don't we always?) Manny Ramirez had a couple of hits and three RBI tonight in helping Boston get over Tampa Bay 7-4. Kevin Youkilis had the big hit in the 8th...but Red Sox Nation had to be happy seeing Manny driving a few in tonight. Manny step up to the stage for your Hazie award.

Speaking of Hazel and the Red Sox - young Hanley Ramirez has been one of the lone bright spots for the Marlins this year, along with Dontrelle Willis of course (who my friend Renee says is going to be in Boston soon). Ramirez hit his first two of the season tonight leading the sad-sack Marlins to a 12-6 victory over the Reds. Red Sox Nation has to be wondering "what if" - while getting Beckett was more than worth it...it still has to sting a little. I'm sure Renee will be slapping me around on the yahoo site if she reads this - she thinks Beckett is a stud. A stud pitcher...at least I think that is what she means - who knows with Renee. Check that...never mind, I know now.

Astros 3B Morgan Ensberg (also a member of Hazel Mae's Heroes Roto team) has 2 HRs and 3 RBI as I post this tonight (Astros leading 12-10 in top of 8th).

Atlanta Braves OF Andruw Jones seems to have picked up where he left off last year - hitting two more HRs leading the Braves to a 7-1 pasting of the red-hot New York Mets. Jones now has six on the season - the guy never did anything for me in Roto baseball...

Speaking of the Braves and Mets - Braves pitcher Kyle Davies shut down the Mets on 3 hits and 1 BB in pitching a complete game tonight. Maybe I should pick up this guy...

One more notable performance from the mound - in what is sure to bring a smile to the collective face of Red Sox Nation, Jason Johnson of the Indians gave up 1 run over seven innings to the hard hitting Orioles.

In the category of "not-so-notable" Randy Johnson had it handed to him by the Blue Jays tonight - that has to make Hazel smile.

Alright then...that's about it for tonight - I should have spent tonight pouring over NHL stats for my pools tomorrow. Oh well, maybe tonight's entry brings me some Hazel Karma at the draft table tomorrow huh?

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - for Ronaldinho and that boys from Barcelona

Spanish Bombs - The Clash

Peesth Out!


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