Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Game Seven"

"Game Seven." There is something magical but terrifying about those words placed side by side, something final but not without hope. It is the epitome of why the players play, why the fans watch and why lifting a 35-pound shiny trophy at the end of the year is so damn therapeutic.

The words of the eloquent Mike Lange cannot capture the notion any better, "I'll meet you in the schoolyard baby for all the marbles." This is the essence of "Game Seven."

Each series creates its own entanglement of emotions, villains and heroes."Game Seven" is the pinnacle, the end game, the final death-match. Tonight none of the previous six games with Montreal matter, nor does the 2009-2010 regular season or the previous playoff round, it's one game for everything. It's "Game Seven."

The writers, haters, bloggers and rivals have their articles ready for the Penguins, witty comments in hand, waiting to pounce; desperately hoping for a defeat at the hands of the eighth-seeded Habs. They have been frothing at the mouth awaiting this moment for almost a year now, but they have to wait just a little bit longer, cause they can't hit "send", "publish", or "comment" until after a defeat in "Game Seven."

Tonight is an opportunity ultimately, another chance for Crosby to answer the bell he has made a habit of responding to like clockwork throughout his young career. Last year's Conn Smythe winner, Evgeni Malkin, can quiet--once again, those tireless experts, who at any lapse in his world class game take the occasion to call him a "lazy European." A great game from Kris Letang renders his costly turnovers and defensive blunders throughout the series as merely an afterthought. Of course there is the Flower, the winningest goaltender in the playoffs over the last three years, who once again can shut the detractors up with a big game in another big spot, one more "Game Seven."

For Crosby, Malkin, Fleury and the rest of the crew, you can allow, at maximum, the critics 12 opportunities to venomously rip you apart as long as you provide 16 opportunities for those same critics to eat their words. In order to do this you have to win "Game Seven."

Then there are the fans. Most this afternoon will try to extract positive memories of "Game Sevens" past, Pietrangelo and Hrdina in '91, Kasparitis sliding face first across the ice in '01 and who can forget Straka on his back in '99. Just last year there was Fleury robbing Ovie and Talbot with a pair to win the holiest of holies. These moments mean nothing at 7:05 tonight except to steady a shaky fan's hand and calm their thoughts for a moment, in anticipation of "Game Seven."

Additionally there are those fans who will drown themselves in their own sorrows of previous "Game Seven" failures, will point to Tom Fitzgerald (PIT Assistant to the GM and noted Game 7 villain) and Glenn Healy (broadcaster and Islanders net minder in the 1993) being in the Mellon tonight as bad luck or a sign of horrible things to come. These fans will look to David Volek in '93, the Rats of '96 and the Wregget stonewall of '89 to ready themselves for the heartbreak, to prepare for the terrifying moment that is "Game Seven."

Tonight marks another pivotal playoff moment for the players and fans alike. This evening, at the Mellon Arena the right to move onto the next round and fight another day for Lord Stanley is earned. A few things can be counted on; nervous moments will be plentiful, new heroes will emerge, what-ifs will fly and many a six-pack will be crushed. The eyes of the hockey world will be upon Pittsburgh and one thing is for sure, someone will snatch all the "marbles." That's why we play "Game Seven."

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Friday, May 7, 2010

Rats, Rats, Rats

Oh the Rats. Each one hitting the ice was another slap to your proverbial ego. Nothing was quite as demoralizing to watch as Tom Barasso seeking cover along with the linesmen in the goal net, as a black monsoon of plastic rats hit the ice in 1996. As this series with the Canadiens moves along flashes of that 1996 Panthers-Penguins ECF keep haunting my dreams.

Mike Cammalleri makes his best Tom Fitzgerald impression, a sixty foot series winning slapshot goal past Marc-Andre Fleury would seal the comparison. Brian Gionta fills his niche as Stu Barnes, the smallish annoying forward who just keeps working, as you ask yourself how is that guy doing this to us?

The best illustration between the two series ultimately remains the frustrating style of the play and timely scoring of the Habs. With every cry, "How did that not go in?" followed by two hands thrown wildly into the air, the analogy to Florida circa 1996 becomes more and more lucid.

The prequel to this series even feels like 1996, a week before the Eastern Conference Finals Penguins fans were cheering as the Panthers choked the life out of the hated Flyers. Florida's defensive system and opportunistic nature seemed cathartic and engaging against the orange and black. The culmination of game six and the final death blow to the Flyers was almost as satisfying as watching the Penguins close out the Rangers in five games three days prior, if not more so. When Florida put home that fourth goal in game six on May 14th, 1996 you were ready to toss a plastic rat out on the ice yourself, in unison with the rest of the south beach crowd. Four days later those rats might as well have infected you with the plague.

Fast forward to 2010 and game 7 of the Capitals-Canadiens series, who wasn't jumping up and down waving their hands in the air as Dominic Moore put the second goal past Varlamov with 3:36 remaining? At that moment we were all Habs fans. The hated Capitals had been cut down much like those venomous Flyers 14 years prior. Little did we know the frustration we were walking into days later.

While the rats back in that series were the antithesis of the animosity boiling over, with each failed Penguin rush up ice and inevitably a Fitzgerald or Barnes counter, at least it gave an outlet to release your inner hatred on. The Canadiens don't even allow that, there is no rat, frustration builds, and you witness the life of the series choked away minute by minute.

Jaroslav Halak does his best John Vanbiesbrouck 14 years later, a gutty, undersized netminder who seems to be everywhere at once, despite his small stature. When a goalie has it going on like he does there is little you can do but hope to seek shelter from the rats.

Game four was the ultimate embodiment of how hard it is to win in the playoffs, and how frustrating a loss can be. A game you feel your team has total control of suddenly is ripped from you with a slow "oh crap" Maxim Lapierre wrap-around game-tying goal, and an own goal to relinquish the lead. Instead of rats showering the ice, it was 21,273 voices in unison rubbing in that this series is not over, not close and despite what you may have thought, never was going to be easy.

Like the memory of rats haunting my dreams 14 years later, I hope the image of Kris Letang staring at an open net in the first period or Sidney Crosby being stoned late in the third, on what looked for a second like an easy put away, aren't the lasting "what if" moments of this series. The Penguins had more than their fair share of chances to put a death grip on this series in games 2 and 4 but seemed to be inches short time and time again just like 1996. Efficient with their opportunities, the Canadiens have made the most of them while the Penguins have let too many quality chances and long stretches of dominating play go to waste.

In 1996 the battle cry after each demoralizing and disheartening loss was eventually the breaks will come and tilt the other way. The Penguins must tilt the ice themselves to insure a repeat of 1996 does not occur, if not, memories of "rats" will have company haunting my hockey dreams.

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Musings from a Sleep Deprieved, Less than Neutral Sports Addict

Hang a banner in Philly we had a night without fan incident.

So sick of the LeBron James elbow. I had a problem with the injury when it first reared it's ugly head in the clinching game of the first round series with the Bulls. If you have to resort to shooting important free throws with your off hand in the closing minutes, shouldn't you have checked yourself out when the other team is purposely fouling? How do Cav's head coach Mike Brown, and LBJ not discuss the injury at some length over the past week? Aren't there certain sets or assignments Cleveland wants to avoid with respect to the King's elbow, or certain situations James feels more comfortable playing in? I don't understand how the lines of communication are not open regarding the injury within the organization. Highly unprofessional for Brown to avoid the situation, with a championship on the line involving the best player in the NBA. I hope he is playing coy with the media, my gut tells me Brown is not.

Seems to me whatever situation Jimmy Clausen and Colt McCoy fell into on draft day would have been spun as a "perfect situation" by NFL reporters and experts.

Tuesday in Montreal the Penguins put on a clinic for "How to win in the playoffs." Those are the games championship caliber teams win in the postseason on multiple occasions. Pittsburgh stepped outside their comfort zone to capture a tough game on the road. That is why the young Penguins have rings, and a shot at the repeat.

Roy Halladay is mesmerizing to watch pitch, even when he is off his game (which doesn't happen much) he is still better than 95% of the pitchers out there. Catch him today against the Cardinals, the Pujols/Halladay matchup is even worth the price of admission the Mets and Yankees are charging.

My first issue with the "Los Suns" jerseys or any "Los" jersey (Spurs, Bulls, Heat) for that matter is (unless I am missing something) the uniform doesn't have the article "The" normally, making the concept seem a bit forced. Secondly, sports is an escape we as fans use to get away from politics and the rigors of life, World Cup excluded of course, thats filled with all kinds of political drama. Why did Suns owner, Robert Sarver have to use a playoff game as a medium to shove yet another political agenda down our throats.

We are only 35 days away from the tournament so special it can only be played every four years. There is no sporting drama better than the World Cup. The intensity is high, the passion runs red hot, the world stops and provides the stage where players truly become immortal.

Speaking of the world stopping how does Ty friggin' Wigginton have 9 Home Runs on May 6th? Next someone will tell me Andruw Jones has nine also; c'mon who honestly knew Jones was still active, and on the White Sox?

Another gem from the Bruins marketing department (Missed it in my links on Tuesday). Someone needs to give those guys a raise.

Love the trade talks already starting up about Seattle lefty Cliff Lee, he has two starts under his belt in the Emerald City and the season is 27 games young. If a deal does go down eventually, how ironic would it be if he went back to the Phillies, or if he was traded to one of their prime opponents in the NL, and helped take the Phils out? Personally, I am rooting for the latter.

Bengals are interested in aquiring Pac-Man Jones, guess Mike Brown is trying to reclaim the Band of Bad Boys title back from their AFC North Division rival Steelers. Honestly why are the Bengals even dipping their franchise's big toe in these waters, Jones was a serviceable NFL DB two years ago, but certainly not worth the huge risk. We aren't talking about Deion Sanders or Mel Blount for that matter.

Finally, my thoughts and prayers to the family of Yeardley Love and the UVA community, too many tragedies have struck the Commonwealth of Virginia over the past few years.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Super Fantastic, Number One-All Time Playoff Hockey Links

1.) Habs fans put forth a better effort than "Bowser" and the Caps Rap:

Props for rocking the Expos gear (great hats) and working Youppi into the mix.

2.) As Jack Edwards would say "How's this for irony".

and here is the corresponding article from CSNNE.

3.) One level headed Wings fan is more than I thought existed.

For the full Red Wings tin-foil hat party breakdown roll on over to Puck Daddy. As a Sharks fan noted in the comments section, "Oh boy, here we go. Bring on the short bus and unload all the excuses now, boys."

4.) Is hockey overcoming football in Pittsburgh with the recent bad behavior among the Steelers, particularly from the face of their franchise?

Never good to be referenced in an Eminem song, Big Ben. (I know it's not hockey, forgive me.)

5. I fully endorse this slogan, living currently in the city of brotherly love:

6.) If this is a temper tantrum what do you call this:

Someone told Tuuka that Wookies don't exist and the Millenium Falcon is a junker.

7.) I guess you deserve a photo shop expo when you share company with Mario Lemieux:

8. ) At least he didn't throw up on someone, isn't that the new standard in Philly (again not hockey but always nice to poke fun at William Penn's home town).

9.) Yea this trade will happen:

10.) Can anyone take an article seriously that spells Canadiens, "Canadians":

11.) Imagine if a full bottle of Crown Royal had been thrown on a 17-year old kid in Philly, I think ESPN may have exploded. (Thanks to Mark Trible for this one)

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Ovechkin's Game Needs to Change to Win the Ultimate Prize

We are not going to get into another Ovechkin vs. Crosby comparison, if you want that go here, here and here. All in all the debate doesn't matter, and even the most irrational Caps fan can attest to who is coming out on top in the only column that truly matters, the win column.

It seems that a lot of the fallout from the Montreal debacle has been be laid on Semin, Green, Fleischmann, the two headed goaltending monster, and a few other role players. All deserve their share; however the captain of the Washington Capitals is ducking a lot of the blame, except from a few sources. Ovechkin certainly doesn't deserve all the blame, he had an okay series stats wise (5G, 5A) but certainly a good brunt of it.

One goal and one secondary assist in the final three closeout games (two at home) doesn't cut it when you are allegedly the greatest player in the NHL.

But again, assessing blame isn't the point of this article. It's about what one of the greatest talents in the hockey world can do to refine his game, attitude and leadership qualities in order to avoid seven game series regularly, and one day possibly hoist the greatest of all trophies; instead of merely saying this (3:10 mark) at the NHL awards every year.

Lose the "me" image, yea you look real fresh in your highlighter skate laces and tinted visor, but you wanna win in the NHL come playoff time it's not about "you".

You aren't the rogue 20 year old Russian sniper that entered the league with an attitude.

You are now captain of an NHL team, a very talented one, your attitude and everything you do leaves an imprint on your team.

Putting away the "me" attitude would be something that shows true leadership and can endear the Great 8 even more to his teammates, as well as have a trickle down effect in the locker room.

It's about the Washington Capitals not Alex Ovechkin, the "C" on your left shoulder is what makes you stand out.

Look to dump the puck to get to the cycle occasionally when coming down the wing. Every time you have a sliver of space and hit the blue line with two men back, doesn't mean you have to take a shot, it's predictable and selfish.

Yes you can score from anywhere, but just as any player in the NHL you will score more when you have higher percentage opportunities; cycling creates that. Centering your line is Niklas Backstrom, one of the hardest guys in the NHL to get off the puck, give him and your other wing a chance to get into the two man-cycle and give you some nice scoring chances in the high slot.

Cycling also wears down opponents early in a playoff series, and gives goaltenders fits. It's a better alternative to the one and done shot which is gobbled up or blocked, when flying down the wing.

Dumping the puck every once in a while will inevitably give you more space over time to use that amazing one-on-one play making ability, by shedding your one dimensionality.

Play defense more consistently. Do you float around the opponent's blue line as the Ovie detractors say-- no. Are you defensively responsible because you make one or two defensive plays a game, as the most stringent Ovie fanatic says-- no. You lie somewhere in the middle, your defense has it's deficiencies and can improve.

Defensive responsibility is a proven winner, is it fun--no, is it sexy--- no way, will it win in the playoffs-- it's proven. Just ask your countrymen Pavel Datsyuk, in fact learn from him, I know it won't be as good a time as a weekend with Andrei Markov but it will pay off in April, May and June.

If the Washington Capitals see their captain, make this commitment, everyone in that locker room has to follow suit.

Quit with the false bravado, this is something that can be applied to the entire Capitals organization and fanbase. It starts with an owner who can't keep his mouth shut and seems to have trickled down the organization to the players and the fans.

It does nothing for you as a hockey player to win the war of sound bites. It just fires up the opponent, and at this point what ground is there to stand on with your playoff track record.

Yes the fans love it, they also love it when you win. You are now the captain, you should be better than this. The cloud of shame hanging over the organization should be enough to quiet the noise coming from the Capitals locker room---for now.


Some will say I am just trying to take away Ovechkin's flair and personality, that may be partially true. His attitude should have changed when he took over the captaincy, but for some reason Ovie gets away without any criticism for not refining his game. There isn't a player in any sport who can't work on something-- it's a small sacrifice to lift the greatest trophy on Earth.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

My life as a DC Sports fan

I am a DC sports fan. There I said it, now bring on the jokes. I was born one and will die one but it has never been as hard as it is now to rep my teams. Born in 1988 I was physically alive for two Super Bowl wins but was too young to remember either. The first game I went to and remember was for my birthday in 1995 when we beat the “division rival” Arizona Cardinals and I was also there for the “Jerry Sucks” chant at the last game against Dallas in RFK.

I count the Orioles as a DC team because for just about all of my life they were the closest thing and I hate that people jumped off the O’s because the Expos came to town. I mean if Da Raidas moved to Fairfax would you NOVA skins fans jump on that bandwagon? I don’t think so, but that argument is for another time. My first real memory of the O’s other than worshiping the Iron Man was Jeffrey Maier robbing the home run from Tony Torasco’s glove in the 1996 ALCS. Afterwards my pissed off father lectured me for a good 10 minutes on why you should NEVER DO THAT AT A GAME, if only he was Maier’s father. Maybe then the O’s wouldn’t be where they are today?

I remember the Bullets changing to the Wizards, and Rod Strickland passing up wide open shots in an attempt to break the assist record. The NBA has always been hard for me to watch. I enjoy the college game exponentially more but never have the Wiz been as hard to watch as now.

Capitals I don’t remember much of; much like most people from the DMV. If you said Peter Bondra or Olaf Kolizig’s name I could have told you they played for the Caps but other than that I was totally disinterested. My feeling on hockey is unless you played it or someone close to you watched it you never really got in to it as a kid. That was me, never had an interest in it and if the Caps were the same team they were 7 years ago I still wouldn’t. I jumped on the bandwagon in the truest sense of the phrase earlier this season. My heart was broken from the Redskins slide from honorable franchise to doormat thanks mostly to Tom Cruise’s best friend, Danny Boy. I was embarrassed from how close the Wizards had come in the 2004-2008 seasons just to be outed by the crab dribble and then the fall that resulted in Andray Blatche being the go to guy, which should be reason enough for relocation. Just when I thought the O’s were making all of the right moves they put on a 12th consecutive losing season. So what did I do? I needed a winner; a team that could help me rise out of my fan depression.

On Friday October 9th I officially announced my affiliation with DC’s hockey team. What else was I to do? Jump on another city’s team? No, I couldn’t do that. I might as well check this hockey thing out. Well they dragged me in and I would watch the games on Comcast whenever I could. I still don’t completely understand the X’s and O’s of the game, which shouldn’t be expected. I’m going on my 203rd day of being a Hockey fan. But, I also don’t try and act like I do, something other Cap’s fans should take notes on. So as the season went on I was getting sucked in, thinking this could be the year that one of my teams does it, becomes a champion. I watched the 14 game winning streak including the come from behind win against the Penguinos and thought no one can slow this team down. I actually grew a deep hatred for Sidney Crosby and felt at home rooting for the Caps. They began struggling a bit towards the end of the year, but they weren’t playing for anything, the President’s trophy (a.k.a. Worthless Trophy) was already wrapped up and they were heading to the Playoffs. I was naive and forgot the golden rule of sports that I too have been preaching for years now. Defense wins championships. The Caps proved they didn’t believe in this and decided they wanted to finesse their way through. That is not DC sports! That is how they do it in California or Florida. When I think of DC I think of Riggo dragging Don Mcneal down the field on a 4th and 1 for a 43 yard touchdown to seal a Super Bowl. Until the Caps figure this out they will never win it all. Even if they were to win that game 7 they weren’t going much further. You have to want it more than the opponent. So after last night’s game I just added another disappointing team to my repertoire of fan bases. Great.

Over my lifetime I’ve gone from fighting back tears of a loss to the Bucs in 2000 to fighting back tears after the double timeout game after Sean Taylor’s wrongful death to fighting back tears for losing to the Lions (even though I predicted it). If you are going to challenge my Hockey knowledge, save it, because you are probably right. I’m looking at this as a disgruntled DC Sports fan, something I’m definitely an expert on.

Records during my existence

Redskins: (160-177)

Capitals: (793-674-145)

Bullets: (699-1073)

Orioles: (1579-1752)

Honorable Mention: Mostly Skins

Gus Forgot - link

Fake Field goal….twice – “What in the wide world is that”

Arenas stars in classic shoot em up

Caps Rap – no explanation Necessary… I actually don’t advise clicking this link

Spurrier Era - link

Norv Era - link

Zorn Era – link

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Playoffs Push Onward

......well for 8 teams at least. What a first round, two game 7's, lost a presidents trophy winner, a couple of Cinderella stories, the trap (thankfully) and an Olympics MVP. What does the second round hold, hopefully a lot of Lindsay Soto (Niklas Lidstrom and Jimmy Howard agree) and a couple of great match ups.

Western Conference Semifinals

(5) Detroit Red Wings vs. (1) San Jose Sharks

Since the Capitals are the new Sharks, what does that make the Sharks--scared, because the bullies of the Western Conference are coming into town with their big guys on fire. Henrik Zetterberg had six goals and five assists and Pavel Datsyuk had 8 points including 2 goals in the Game 7 clincher in their first round series with Phoenix.

Doesn't help the Sharks case that their top line (Thornton, Heatley, Marleau) is no where to be found with a combined minus-7 and 10 points in their first round series with Colorado. That line has to produce to have any chance in this series, as San Jose cannot rely on huge shots-on-goal discrepancies game to game against Detroit, like they did versus the young Avalanche.

Detroit has too much depth, spotlight players (who show up), experience and confidence, Red Wings in 6.

Vancouver Canucks vs. (2) Chicago Blackhawks

The creme de la creme of the conference semifinal round, this series has it all, bad blood, grit, skill and revenge. The Canucks are still bitter about their loss to a young emerging 'Hawks team in this round last year. The key this year is goaltending, last year Luongo was admittedly inadequate between the pipes.

There is alot of offensive firepower on both these teams with Mikael Samuelsson burying everything, 7 G in the first round, and the Sedin twins for Vancouver. Toews, the unsuspendable Marian Hossa and clutcher by the series Patrick Kane shoulder the offensive load for Chicago. What is remarkable is the wealth of offensive depth both teams possess and is displayed through their secondary scoring.

Vancouver gets better goaltending this go around and that is the difference, Canucks in 6.

Eastern Conference Semifinals

(8) Montreal Canadiens vs. (4) Pittsburgh Penguins

Halak is the name of the game if the the Habs have an encore upset performance in them. The man whose hand was "shaken" last series needs to be just as good if not better in net for Montreal to take down the defending champs.

Pittsburgh took three of four from the Canadiens during the regular season as Sidney Crosby scored four goals and had two assists. It will be a tall task to slow down the red hot Crosby and his world class running mate Evgeni Malkin, especially when giving up forty plus shots-on-goal nightly.

The Penguins are built to wear down goalies and smaller teams, and how much does Montreal have left in the tank after holding on for three desperate wins in a row against the Caps, Penguins in 5.

Philadelphia Flyers vs. (6) Boston Bruins

Have to respect the Flyers through this regular season and postseason, a club that has battled injuries and adversity finds itself in a winnable series and on the cusp of making it to the Eastern Conference Finals. Funny, you could insert Bruins for Flyers in the above sentence and it still would hold absolutely true. Marc Savard makes his return for the Bruins and Jeff Carter is out indefinitely for the the Flyers, that shot of offensive adrenaline for the boys from Boston proves to be the difference in the battle of NHL Hard Knock "Rocky" stories. The city whose fans idolize that FICTIONAL character lose, Bruins in 7.

1st Round Record 7-1 (Dag nabbit Caps) with one perfect series

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Previewing Lord Stanley’s Playoff (Part Two - Western Conference)

The big boys douse you with all kinds of stats and interesting nuggets of knowledge, I am here to just give my opinion. Here is my preview of the greatest playoff tournament in sports, except for of course Women’s College Basketball.

Western Conference

(1) San Jose vs. (8) Colorado

It's easy to make a joke about how the Sharks view the playoffs like Greg Norman views a Sunday afternoon at a Major PGA tournament. Yes the Sharks have choked in the playoffs on multiple occasions, but in those instances they ran into playoff experienced teams with a playoff ready goalie. While Colorado is talented, they are young, and not ready for this stage, San Jose (finally) is, Sharks in 5.

(2) Chicago vs. (7) Nashville

Nashville cabbies beware, the one and only Patrick Kane is in town. Unfortunately for the Preds so are the rest of his talented teammates. On paper this looks like a mismatch with Nashville's lack of offensive depth; however, if the deep Nashville blueline including Shea Weber, Dan Hamhuis, Denis Grebeshkov and Ryan Suter can do their job and Pekka Rinne keeps them in a few games this one could go the distance. Toews, Hossa, Sharp and company say no way, Blackhawks in 6.

(3) Vancouver vs. (6) Los Angeles

Both teams have issues with scoring depth, some defensive liabilities, have been enigmas throughout the season and enter the playoffs playing around .500 hockey in their last ten games. The difference is Vancouver needs to prove their worth in the playoffs after a few lackluster playoff exits, and they have the home ice. You want a reason to watch this series, his name is Drew Doughty, the 20 year-old Kings sweet skating defensemen is worth the price of admission. The Kings are talented and push the Canucks to the brink, but Vancouver pulls it out in 7.

(4) Phoenix vs. (5) Detroit

Congratulations Phoenix you set franchise records for wins (50) and points (107) this season, all amidst weekly speculation of the franchise relocating. Your prize: The most successful franchise over the last 15 years and two time defending Western Conference champion, Detroit Red Wings (just as they are getting healthy). Oh and on top of that Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard is 15-0-2 in his last 17 games. Congrats Coyotes on the great season, Red Wings in 5.

Five Predictions for the Western Conference

1. Despite winning Detroit fans will feel there was some slight against their team.

2. Jonathan Toews scores an overtime game winner against the Predators.

3. Holmstrom and Franzen team up for six goals in a short series with the Coyotes.

4. Dany Heatley has at least one Hat Trick against the Avs.

The LOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU chant in Vancouver every time the puck goes near Roberto Luongo will get real old, real fast.