Sunday, April 06, 2008

It's time to go back to hockey

Ever since the NHL lockout, I have found it difficult to follow NHL hockey ... and since I ended my tenure as an event staff member of the Hartford Wolf*Pack, I have found it hard to follow AHL hockey (of course the local media's lack of respect for the team doesn't help that).

With that said ... I think it is finally time to come back to the NHL. Sure most of the players that were in their prime when I followed the sport are gone ... and with the league's scheduling structure I have not heard much news about Western Conference teams in nearly 2 years ... and what is the deal with these new uniforms? The NHL playoffs are the most exciting to watch of all sports ... the NBA playoffs are boring. The MLB playoffs are at the tail end of a season that is too long. And the NFL playoffs ended with my team losing their only game of the season so I don't talk about it.

My only real contact with the NHL has been the NHL Tournament of Logos Blog ... which in its unique way has sparked my interest in the NHL again. First it was their "best logo" tournament ... then the vintage tournament which amazingly ended in a tie ... Most recently their "worst logo" tournament really made me laugh.

Now I figure it is time to stop worrying about what the best logo is, and start worrying about who the best team is in the NHL. So here go my picks for the first round of the NHL playoffs. After the first round, I will pick again with the new teams (assuming my picks will be as good as my NCAA tournament bracket).

Series A - #1 Montreal vs. #8 Boston
Although I would like to go to Boston out of regional alliance ... I always find it hard to bet against a #1 seed ... that and Boston has yet to really impress me. Montreal in 5.

Series B - #2 Pittsburgh vs. #7 Ottawa
I am a huge fan of Sid the Kid (Sidney Crosby) ... and I think the Pens are ready to get to the next level ... Pittsburgh in 6.

Series C - #3 Washington vs. #6 Philadelphia
The Capitals were fighting tooth and nail until the last game of the season to even make the playoffs ... Ovechkin and his team will have a letdown in the first down against the hard hitting Flyers. Flyers in 5.

Series D - #4 New Jersey vs. #5 New York Rangers
The Rangers have owned the Devils all season. The team's only loss to New Jersey came in the last game of the season, and it was in a shootout that was forced because New Jersey could not keep the lead. Rangers in 4.

Series E - #1 Detroit vs. #8 Nashville
Detroit in 4. Sorry Predators. I would say Detroit in 1 if I could. No chance

Series F - #2 San Jose vs. #7 Calgary
Western Conference picks are hard because I know a lot less about the teams. I am going to take a shot in the dark and say Calgary in 7.

Series G - #3 Minnesota vs. #6 Colorado
I think the return of Forsberg will really matter now that my old team is in the playoffs. His star will truly shine in his return here. Colorado in 6.

Series H - #4 Anaheim vs. #5 Dallas
Another "shot in the dark" pick ... The defending champion Ducks get a pass in the first round. Ducks in 6.

Let me know what you think!

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