Thursday, April 26, 2007

NHL Breakdown & More

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

We were supposed to break down the second round of the NHL Playoffs last night, but we had a better offer - watching the playoffs on a big screen plasma, with a fridge stocked with ice cold Guinness...gotta love family. We picked Buffalo and Anaheim to win their series, and we'll complete it with a look at the other two series that start tonight.

Buffalo over New York Rangers - The Rangers went into the series thinking they could take advantage of a Buffalo team that didn't look very good against the Islanders. Sean Avery started the trash talk, and coach Tom Renney got involved in it - a definite sign of fear is when you start talking trash. The Sabres are one of the few teams in the NHL that can turn it on at will - the Rangers are going to find out that Buffalo is quite a bit tougher to play against than the Atlanta Thrashers. The Sabres can run and gun with anyone in the league - they have three lines that can score; and if you want to play a tight checking grinding trap game like the Rangers will employ - they can beat you at that too. I can't see the Rangers winning in Buffalo, and I can definitely see the NHL's best road team winning at least one in Madison Square Garden. It all adds up to the Sabres winning in five games.

Anaheim over Vancouver - The Vancouver Canucks have Roberto Luongo, and that is about it. The Ducks have solid, if unspectacular goaltending, two stud defencemen in Pronger and Niedermeyer, and two solid scoring lines - not to mention they are big and fast enough to punish you physically and wear you down. The Canucks beat the Dallas Stars because of Dave Tippett's defensive style of hockey - the only way to beat the Canucks is to generate a lot of scoring chances on Luongo and hope you score a few times...the Ducks can definitely do that. Anaheim has too much for the Canucks - too much speed, too much size, too much scoring; factor in that their GM Brian Burke has an axe to grind with his old team and you have the Ducks in 5.

New Jersey over Ottawa - First off, I'll apologize to my girl "B" who is a fan of the SenaTards. I am only sorry that there isn't a way for both teams to lose - I hate them both that much right now. This will be a series between two evenly matched teams - the difference from years gone by is that New Jersey can match the SenaTards with two scoring lines - thanks to the emergence of Travis Zajak and Zach Parise. These aren't the Devils of old that could only win by a 2-1 count - they have enough talent and creativity on their power play to be the difference in the series. Factor in the fact that John Madden has had a history of shutting down Tards number one center Jason Spezza (who seems to quit when the going gets tough), and the fact that having Martin "I need a rest vs the Islanders" Brodeur gives them a huge edge over Ray've got the Devils winning this one in seven...maybe six. Let the Tards excuses begin now!

San Jose over Detroit - The Red Wings are coming off a long, physical series with the Flames, they are going to feel it against a bigger, tougher, faster skating team in the San Jose Sharks. The Red Wings had a relatively easy time containing the Flames number one line - the problem now is, how they are going to contain San Jose's top two lines. San Jose is going to generate a lot more chances than the Flames did, and they are going to score more too. Detroit comes into the series missing a couple of players, which is only going to hurt them. San Jose wins this one in six games.

A couple of stories from the world of hockey that have me scratching my head and wondering just how stupid some hockey people can be.

The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation announced that they had hired former Flyers coach Mike Keenan as a senior hockey advisor. I'm really wondering what these people are thinking - Mike Keenan's legacy in the NHL is that he every team he was employed by worsened under his direction. Ask the Flyers, the Blackhawks, the Canucks and Panthers - in the case of Vancouver they took years to recover from the Keenan experience and the Panthers have to face the next ten years knowing that they (Keenan) traded away Roberto Luongo for Todd Bertuzzi.

The Columbus Blue Jackets have let it be known that they are considering hiring Flyers GM/Senior VP/Asswipe Bob Clarke to be their GM after firing Doug MacLean. MacLean was fired because of poor results, poor personnel decisions and poor drafting - they obviously overlooked the fact that Bob Clarke was the guy who badly misread the evolution of the NHL; how bad was his misread? He signed Mike Rathje and Derian Hatcher to long term deals after the lockout. While the Flyers point to the young crop of talent in the system - experts are pointing to the fact they have cap room to sign a couple of big name free much for Bob's keen eye for young talent huh?

In game that Hazel obviously had her eye on last night - the Red Sox put the embarassment of losing two at Fenway to the Chickenhawk's sad sack "injury-riddled" Blue Jays, and beat up on the Orioles last night. Curt Schilling led the way for the Sox pitching seven solid innings to get the win. Josh Beckett takes the mound for Boston today - so it isn't going to get any easier for the O's. I have a couple of questions for Red Sox Nation:
  • Is it time to start worrying about Julio Lugo as a lead-off hitter?
  • Did you ever think you'd be calling for Coco Crisp over Wily Mo Pena?
Red Sox West didn't fair so well. Lefty Randy Wolf gave up a first inning three run shot to Barry "pumpkin head Bonds en route to a 6-4 loss. Funny thing about last night, Randy Wolf told reporters that Bonds' HR didn't sound like one it left the bat - but went on to say that Bonds is so powerful, maybe he doesn't need to hit it perfect for it to be a home run. I wonder if that was a bit of a shot at Bonds.

As mentioned, Boston Red Sox P Curt Schilling steadied a shaky Red Sox ship with seven solid innings against the O's last night. The Blogger's numbers on the night were 7 IP, 5 H (one mistake to Tejada), 2 BB and 3 Ks. I wonder when the Sox open up talks regarding an extension - I wonder if Schilling will eat his words and participate in negotiations during the season.

Buffalo Sabres LW Thomas Vanek had two goals in last night's 5-2 win over the Rangers. Vanek broke a scoreless game open with two goals late in the second period - Ryan Miller made a few unbelievable saves last night too. I kept looking for Sean Avery to impose himself on the Sabres last night - he finished the game with two holding penalties. Ya, Sean really knocked the Sabres around like he said he was going to.

Anaheim Ducks C Andy McDonald had a hat-trick and added an assist in the Ducks 5-1 win over a tired looking and over-matched Vancouver Canucks team.

I told you we would get well yesterday - three wins. The total for the week is still a little ugly, but we're back on the right track, so it will look a lot better by Sunday.

San Jose over Detroit - the Sharks were sitting back watching the Red Wings and Flames beat the tar out of each other while; good news for a team that needed a break to rest some injured players. We like San Jose to take advantage of a banged up Red Wings team. Lay $100 on the Sharks + $135.

Boston over Baltimore - we think Beckett has gotten his act together; a 5-0 start would go a long way to proving that. We'll grudgingly take the big Texan over Canadian born Adam Loewen tonight. Lay $100 on the Red Sox - $150.

Philadelphia over Washington - Cole Hamels takes the mound today, that's really bad news for the Nationals who can't get it done against some of the league's weaker pitchers...never mind Hamels. Lay $150 on the Phillies - $210.

Hazel's old pal Richard Griffin checks in to answer questions from whining Blue Jays fans

That's about it for today gang - have a great one peeps!


Don't hold back when you have so much to say, offer and do. You can make things happen if you push for what you want. A change in location, job or even the way you do things will all pay off. 5 stars

Hazel, I hope things are groovy in your world.

Song of the Day on Hazelspeeps - wake up song

Cupid's Chokehold - Gym Class Heroes

Peesth Out...Buh Bye!


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