Sunday, April 27, 2008

Meet and Greet with Barbs

This past Saturday Kings goaltender Jason LaBarbera was signing autographs at a local Staples Store. Ckim, her friend, and I made the trip to the Staples store that was located next to Silver Reign, a gentleman's club.

We thought about stopping in for the lunch buffet.

I decided not to bring my last 2003 Commemorative Puck and instead brought a 2005-2006 Upper Deck LaBarbera hockey card. I didn't buy many cards that season so it's a bit of a miracle that I actually had his card. Here's a pic of my signed card and a pic of the two of us.

I really like his autograph.

I forgot that he's 6'4"...and I'm not.

He's only the third hockey player I've "met" so I wasn't sure what to expect. Two weeks ago I went to the Frolov signing event and was a bit disappointed by his body language. He just looked so bored and uninterested in being there. I missed the second meet and greet with Derek Armstrong. Ckim was there and said he was much friendlier than Fro and instead of sitting in his throne the entire time (like Fro did) Army actually stood up for every photograph. Barbs was very nice during the entire time, stood up for every photograph, was very patient. I hope every hockey player I meet will be as nice and as caring for the fans as Barbs.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Second Round Predictions!

I was 4 for 8 in my first round predictions. Not too shabby, although I bet my dead kitty could have done better.

Here are my Second Round Predictions!
I think 4 of the 5 remaining series will be very close and a complete crap shoot as to which team will win. The only series I think will be handily won is the Pittsburgh/NY series. I don't expect Pitt to sweep again but I think they'll look like the better team throughout the entire series even if they don't win every game.

Eastern Conference
(1) Montreal v. (6) Philadelphia
Philly in 7

(2) Pittsburgh v. (5) New York
Pittsburgh in 6

Western Conference
(1) Detroit v. (6) Colorado
Detroit in 7

(3) San Jose v. (5) Dallas
Dallas in 6

I originally picked Montreal to win the Cup, but I've changed my mind after watching Philly play. I think we could be looking at a Dallas/Philly Cup Finals. That would be quite awesome.

Avery + Fashion Internship = *Brain Fart*

This news has been quickly flying around the blogosphere but I just had to comment on Avery's future un-paid internship with Vogue magazine.

According to Patrick O'Connell, director of communications for Vogue, Avery's first day on the job will be determined by the Rangers' Cup run, and his duties will include a variety of tasks typical for an entertainment/fashion grunt.

That means the stocky, 28-year-old athlete -- who is in the midst of the NHL playoffs --- will be "answering phones, working photo shoots, getting samples, contacting people, working the gamut," according to O'Connell.

Yeah, he'll be getting samples....samples of ASS.

If any of you read the NY Times Magazine interview with Avery you know that he has an eclectic taste. Personally, I like on-ice Avery as opposed to off-ice Avery, especially since hockey-less Avery sounds like he's interested in men. Don't believe me? Let's have a quick look at this Q&A:

Place where he spends the most time: I just stand by the island in my kitchen. I can’t sit still. So that’s my one grounded spot, where I can see what’s going on and my remotes work.

Hmmm, I can just see him now. Standing in his spotless kitchen, complete with a Viking oven that isn't even plugged in, gazing around his bachelor pad all the while sipping on his cappuccino.

Favorite recent purchase: I’m stoked about my Philippe Starck lamp. It is shaped like a machine gun. It lets you know there’s a man living in the house.
I think he means, it reminds him that he's a man.
Least-favorite household chore: Answering the phone.
I don't think Avery knows the actual definition of 'chore'. Although, if we're going by Avery's definition, then my least favorite household chore is putting down the toilet seat (when will my fiance learn how to do that....)

With all kidding aside, I'm not surprised Avery will be working in the fashion industry. I'm actually impressed that he's willing to start at the bottom and gain some experience instead of signing on with some established designer or editor to help him start at a higher level position. Who knows what area of fashion Avery will eventually make his name in but I must give him credit for having a game plan for his post hockey life.

(Getty Images)
Oh Avery, you still have my heart!

Free Al for the Playoffs!

If you're like me and you love seeing Al Sobotka swinging an octopus over his head at the Joe, then for what it's worth, sign the online petition to overturn the newly minted NHL ban on the act.

(Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images)

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Beeper King and the Cup

"It's the Stanley Cup, honey.
It's hockey's ultimate prize.
And me and it are teaming up to fight illiteracy."

I love 30 Rock and Dean Winters.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Frolov, GWF, and Ghetto BBQ

Alexander Frolov was signing autographs at a Staples store in Santa Monica last Saturday. Poor guy looked bored as hell. But, I don't feel that bad for him since he makes more money in one year than I may make in a lifetime. If someone was going to pay me several millions of dollars in one year, I would have no problem signing autographs in an office supplies store. Derek Armstrong and Jason LaBarbera will be making appearances at two other Staples stores in LA. Check out the Kings website for more info. In case you're wondering what it was like, there was already a line of people outside the store half an hour before he was scheduled to arrive, as soon as he got there the line moved pretty quickly, and the female-to-male ratio was probably 10:1.

Ckim, her friend/coworker, and I made the surprisingly-not-so-painful drive up to Santa Monica and each of us got something signed by the Russian Hottie. The only pucks I had at the time were LA Kings 2003 Commemorative Pucks. I guess I got them at a game in 2003. Now I only have one left and the question I keep asking myself is, "Would it be inappropriate to ask a Kings player who wasn't on the 2003 team to sign it?" Here's a pic of my signed puck and the simple "A 24" autograph:

Later in the day, after we dropped off Ckim's friend, we realized we were driving along Manchester Blvd, which meant we had to be close to the Great Western Forum! Neither of us had been there since high school and since we weren't in any rush to get home we decided to find the Forum. With a little bit of help from the Thomas Guide Map and a dash of my brilliant memory and sense of direction, we found it without getting lost.

Once we got to the intersection of Manchester Blvd and Praire Ave, we were stunned by the grandeur, columns, brightness, and simplicity. The Great Western Forum looked bigger than I had remembered and it looked like it had just received a fresh coat of paint because the white columns and blue building facade were so bright! As we turned south onto Prairie we slowly drove by hoping that the parking lot was open so we would have an easy place to park and take pictures. Alas, it wasn't meant to be; the lots were closed off and neither of us felt comfortable enough to stop in Inglewood just to take a picture of the Forum. Instead, you're treated to a photo I found on Wikipedia.

We said adieu to the Forum, home of so many wonderful Kings memories from our childhoods and set off to find the freeway. I knew we had to make a right turn at some point to get back on the 405 but thank goodness we turned onto Century Blvd, because otherwise we would have never been able to drive by the best looking BBQ joint in Inglewood.

Yes, you read that correctly: Bad 2 Da Bone BBQ. I almost didn't take this picture (while we were at a red light) because I was seriously worried that someone on the street or in another car was going to think I was taking a picture of him or her and shoot me. Buuuuuuttt, I did it anyway. And besides, I was worried Ckim was going to make me play Chinese Fire Drill if I didn't get a picture of it.

Playoff Games (Saturday-Tuesday)

Warning: This is a long ass post. I originally was going to post this on Sunday and only review the Sat & Sun games but I got lazy and now it's Wednesday and two additional days worth of games have been televised and I can't just ignore them. So bear with me and my rambling thoughts...

Playoff hockey is always so much fun and this weekend of games was no exception. I have to give a big shoutout and thanks to P for letting me watch all the hockey games I could possibly watch this weekend. Two seasons ago, he experienced his first playoff hockey season and was not a happy camper when I took control of the remote and refused to not watch hockey even though the Kings weren't in the race for the Cup. He couldn't understand why I wanted to watch every televised game and my only comeback was "I'm sorry, are you complaining about your girlfriend watching sports?" Fast forward two years and he has fully embraced my hockey obsession and playoff hockey routine. In fact, every now and then I catch him watching the game and getting into the play. I think it helps that some former Kings from the team two years ago are currently playing for various playoff teams, such as, Eric Belanger and Pavol Demitra (his personal favorite). Here are my thoughts on the games I watched Saturday-Tuesday with little distraction from the best roomie ever.


Detroit v. Nashville (Game 2)
I DVRd this game because I was out for most of the day. Late in the afternoon I stopped by to see my parents and my dad immediately started talking about how amazing Detroit looked. I quickly (and probably rudely) interrupted him and told him not to tell me the score. Although by the way he was describing Detroit's passing game I had a sneaking suspicion Detroit came out on top. However, when I finally watched the game later that night I was pleasantly surprised to see that Detroit did not blow out the Predators as I had anticipated based on my Dad's comments about the game. I celebrated when McCarty scored and tried to explain to P about his comeback, although I think my gibberish fell on deaf ears.

Nashville got lucky with the weird bounce that led to an easy goal, but Detroit also received some good iron juju. Except for the flurry in Detroit's end that included two goals and multiple chances, Detroit owned Nashville. You have to give Babcock some credit for calling a timeout to settle his troops and get them back in the game. (Hmmm, I wonder why Crow didn't call a timeout during a Kings/Preds game back in January when the Predators scored two or three quick goals in the first period.) Ellis and Hasek were both strong in net but the Predators won't be able to steal games if both teams continue to play as they have in the first two games; Detroit is too smart and skilled and Nashville just doesn't have enough depth at top to score more than Detroit.

Montreal v. Boston (Game 2)
I am so enamored with Montreal fans; they get so involved with the game and bring the Bell Centre to life. Seeing Alexei Kovalev get stone-walled by Tim-may! Thomas reminded me of Alexander Frolov getting denied by Jonas Hiller on the breakaway in regulation and then in the shootout in the seventh game between the Kings and Ducks during the regular season. I couldn't believe my eyes when the Habs almost won the game with just a sec (or maybe even less) left on the clock, but were denied by the post. What a finish that would have been.

I was nervous that even recording Hockey Central after the game was still not going to provide enough time for me to see the Overtime Game Winning Goal. Luckily, with about 2 minutes to spare, just as I declared to myself that Thomas had Kovalev's number, Kovalev snuck a shot past Thomas to finally win the game. Since I had only seen one Boston game (against the Kings in October) this season, I had no idea what to expect from this team. I was surprised to find them fiercely fighting for a victory. Considering this is the 1st seed versus the 8th seed, I was shocked to see Montreal have so much difficulty trying to pull away for a lead to end the game well before regulation ended.

Anaheim v. Dallas (Game 2)
Once again I did not watch the game. Once again I religiously checked the boxscore to keep track of how well Dallas was punishing Anaheim. I was deathly worried about Dallas' fate when Anaheim tied the game, but the Dallas hotties paved the way for another sweet victory. Dallas has scored 6 power play goals in two games, which amounts to a PP% of 46.2. Hot damn, that's ridiculous.

If you want to relive this wonderful game, check out the Untypical Girls liveblog of Game 2, a post game report by Patty (in Dallas) at Penalty Killing, and Finny ripping her boys a new one.

The remaining game notes after the jump...


Washington v. Philly (Game 2)
Where the hell did Washington's fire go? This game was a disappointment from Washington's standpoint because they did not look good. I said it after the first game and I still agree with myself that Washington's power play needs major improvement. There was more movement on the man advantages but I couldn't understand why no Capital was in front of the net causing havoc for Biron and at least one Philly d-man. How was Washington ranked 10th on the PP during the regular season? My only guess is that every other team in their division was ranked in the bottom half of the league in PK%. Regardless, Washington is making Philly look like PK experts since the only power play goal they've managed to get by Biron came when an unfortunate Philly d-man was inflicted with a puck to the testicles.

Check out the post game report by Shmee at 'Capital Addiction'

New Jersey v. New York (Game 3)
So much has already been said about Avery so I won't go into that whole mess. My favorite part of the game was when there was a scrum and the audio picked up Michael Rupp screaming at Paul Mara: "You're a fuckin' pussy! You're a fuckin' pussy! You're a fuckin' bitch! You're a fuckin' bitch!" I missed it the first time around but after ckim texted me asking who was screaming "You're a fuckin' bitch", I went back and found it and about died at how funny it was. Hilarious!

Is it just me or has Brodeur not looked so....Brodeur?

If you want to relive the game check out the game diary by the -ookies at Interchangeable Parts.

San Jose v. Calgary (Game 2)
You gotta give Calgary credit for never giving up despite what looked like a death sentence for them early in the first period. I've come a long way over the years from intensely hating Calgary in the late '80s to early '90s to rooting for them in the playoffs. The miraculous turnaround can be credited to Craig Conroy, who played for the Kings for 1.5 seasons and who I think is so wonderful.
Go Calgary! Suck it San Jose!


Detroit v. Nashville (Game 3)
Apparently 9 seconds is enough to change a hockey game. Seeing Arnott score the game winner and then talking about it after the game put a little smile on my face. I don't think I've ever heard him speak before but he was very endearing in the post game interview...and so smokin' hot! There's a reason he's on my Squee Team (more on that to come later).

I don't know much about Liljas, but I have not been impressed with his play during the playoffs. I don't think he should be allowed to dress for the playoffs because the only thing he seems good at is turning over the puck.

Steph at No Pun Intended has some good notes about this game.

Minnesota v. Colorado (Game 3)
I'm bored with this series. I'm bored just thinking about it. I'm sure you're bored just reading these sentences. The only other thing I have to say about this series is that Forsberg is good at being a little bitch.

Yesterday was not a good hockey day for me as a fan. A couple good things happened but a lot of bad things happened that made me a saaaad panda.

Washington v. Philadelphia (Game 3)
Guess how Washington scored their power play goal? When there were TWO guys in front of Biron as the play developed and ONE guy clearly screening Biron as the shot came through. And what did Wash do on the next 345 power plays? Not screen Biron. How many other power play goals did they score? Nil. Also, hey Wash, how many f'ing times are you going to turn the puck over?

Philly is absolutely owning Washington right now. Even though I picked Wash to win this series and make it to the Eastern Conference Finals, I would be completely fine with Philly advancing to the second round. I get all giddy every time Le Petit Briere scores and he celebrates with the biggest (and cutest) smile. All you Buffalo haters may hate me right now for admitting to liking Briere, but I can't help it, I like the guy!

Check out the post game review by CapsChick at 'A View from the Cheap Seats'.

Minnesota v. Colorado (Game 3)
What the hell got into Minny? Aren't they a disciplined team? I can't believe Minnesota, the trap professionals, allowed 5 goals.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Minny, quit fighting and start scoring more goals.

Anaheim v. Dallas (Game 3)
And Dallas lost. Boo.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Look at the size of him! Turco is pondering an appearance on the Biggest Loser.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

C'mon Minny!!

I posted this pic a while ago, but I have to do it again. Minnesota can't lose to a team that allows one of its players to walk around public with a dead animal on his face.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Extended Friday Five Focus: Playoff Edition

I haven't done a Friday Five Focus in over a month. To make up for all those missed five questions (or thoughts) I'm going to do a longer FFF for the playoff games I've watched thus far; I'll list five observations that stuck out the most to me.

Pittsburgh v. Ottawa (Game 1)
  1. Pittsburgh looked so much better than Ottawa. I predicted Pittsburgh to win this series but I expected Ottawa to at least look like they wanted to win. In the third period I was actually rooting for Ottawa to score so the game would appear to be somewhat competitive.

  2. Gerber looked shaky in the first period (how in the world did he not save Roberts's goal?) but looked great in the remaining two periods. I still can't get that glove save robbery out of my head!

  3. I always laugh when I see a game that's played in Pittsburgh and I see the visiting backup goalie sit by himself. Poor Emery...that's gotta suck!

  4. Marc-Andre Fleury should never play the puck behind the net. And if he does, he should never hold onto it for more than 2 seconds. I think he may be worse than Hasek at playing the puck.

  5. Forget all the hype about Crosby, this was the Malkin Show! I am completely awestruck of his skills. I knew he was good but he looked damn good in Game 1.

San Jose v. Calgary (Game 1)
  1. This game was televised on Versus through a CBC broadcast and watching this feed made me yearn for a pure Versus broadcast like never before. The play-by-play guy sucked; he was so incredibly boring to listen to. The red, white, and blue bar at the top of the screen that showed the team names, score, and time remaining bothered me so much. For one, the colors and format made it look archaic. Secondly, why not use team colors as the background color of each cell where the team names were placed rather than red and blue? Thirdly, if the color format is a tradition, then why not at least place the red and blue so they correspond somewhat closely to the team colors. Seeing a red block automatically made me think of Calgary, but no, it was placed with San Jose and the blue was for Calgary. Does that make sense to anyone? FSN's color and format are much more pleasing to the eye and even Versus does a much better job.

  2. The highlights of the Minny/Avs game was terrible! It was like watching a highlight reel from the '60s. Is this what Canadians are subjected to whenever they watch a CBC broadcast?

  3. Another rant about the broadcast: the sound was distorted so you could barely hear the fans. I love being able to listen to the sounds of the game and one component of this is the crowd. When you can't hear the crowd it makes it seem like the fans aren't into the game. I barely heard any other sounds outside of the play-by-play guy, which I already mentioned was not fun to listen to.

  4. Kipper played frantically in the first period and looked out of position on several occassions. I was worried that this was just a sneak peak of what was to come. Fortunately, Kipper got back on his game and his teammates helped limit San Jose's opportunities.

  5. The refs let so much shit go. There was definitely one play where it looked like Clowe (I think) and Phaneuf were taking shots at each other and both were going to go off for something, but only Clowe got the penalty. And other times players made blatantly obvious infractions and no penalty was called. I can't quite decide if I want the guys to be able to just play or if the games should be called to the same standards as the regular season games, but the 'law-abiding citzen' in me is saying that the penalties should be called if it's ruled an offense in the rulebook.

Continued after the jump.

Detroit v. Nashville (Game 1)
  1. Zetterberg and Datsyuk are so awesome together. I still hate Tootoo.

  2. Ellis was a machine throughout the entire game and really gave the Preds a chance to win. He always looked pretty good against the Kings but...yeah, it's the Kings.

  3. I couldn't understand how the game was still tied after the second period. Nashville isn't going to go down easily and hopefully this game is a wake-up call for Detroit. Not that Detroit played poorly, but just that they'll have to bring their A-game every night against the Preds.

  4. Zetterberg's game winning slap shot was sick. Zetterberg is amazing...and dreamy. I still hate Tootoo.

  5. I couldn't believe Ellis didn't go back in the net when the faceoff was just outside of Nashville's blueline...I think everyone who saw that happened called the empty netter before the linesman dropped the puck. I don't think Nashville would have tied the game if Ellis had stayed in net, so it's kind of a moot point, but just an interesting move by Trotz that I wasn't expecting to see.

Check out the game review by Steph of No Pun Intended.

Anaheim v. Dallas (Game 1)
I actually didn't watch this game. But I kept the boxscore up to keep track of the punishment Dallas inflicted upon the Ducks.

4 Power Play Goals + Shutout + Dallas Win = Awesomeness

Washington v. Philadelphia (Game 1)
  1. I've been looking forward to this game since the Caps qualified for the playoffs. Neither team disappointed and I loved watching every single second of it. I was partially hoping for the game to go to overtime because I wanted to continue watching these teams battle like it was win or die.

  2. I did the "pumping two fists in the air" celebration when Brashear scored the first goal of the series. Seeing him score was awesome...he displayed patience and soft hands by finishing what looked like an easy scoring opportunity but could have been easily flubbed if he had panicked or rushed it.

  3. I was very unimpressed with Washington's power play. As soon as they set up in the zone the players were relatively static. They don't move around too much and in essence, are pretty predictable. They caught a break when the Philly player painfully blocked a shot and crumpled to the ice, allowing the Caps extra time to make the next pass, which led to a power play goal. However, if the Caps want to go deep in the playoffs I think they need to improve their power play.

  4. This game was so physical, yet clean. Every player made an attempt to finish his check and not back down. What was so refreshing about seeing this hard hitting game was that it never looked like either team was out their element by playing like this and neither team looked like they were in a frenzy just trying to line up guys for the sake of making hits. Props to both teams for making this game incredibly exciting.

  5. Ovechkin's game winning goal was so f'ing awesome!!! What a way for him to start his playoff career.

Minnesota v. Colorado (Game 2)
  1. I guess the broken man isn't so...broken...yet.

  2. I don't ever recall analysts kissing Sakic's ass in previous playoff years, but I have heard them call him "Captain Clutch" way too many times in the past several days. I'm sorry, but didn't you guys give that nickname to Chris Drury? And also, I question whether it's appropriate to still call Ryan Smyth "Captain Canada" even though he doesn't play for a Canadian team...anyone have any thoughts?

  3. These two teams tried to play a physical game but they didn't even come close to the physicality of the Wash/Philly game.

  4. I was so excited when Koivu scored Minnesota's second goal to take the lead with little time left in regulation. His shot looked somewhat nonthreatening and I was shocked it went in. Theodore must have felt like shit for letting in that shot. I think I laughed and pointed at him.

  5. I could not believe it when Colorado tied it, sending the game to OT. Seeing Colorado tie it made me doubt my prediction that the Wild would win this series, but thankfully the Wild took no time in winning the game in OT to tie the series. I guess Baby Hockey Jesus does listen to prayers!

I love the NHL Playoffs!! and my DVR!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Dallas 4, Daisy Duck 0

Dallas shat all over the Ducks, which makes me a very happy panda.

Dallas not only shut out the Ducks but scored every single goal on the Power Play.

It's about time a team made the Ducks pay for their f'ing goonery.

If you haven't already (and I doubt you have) check out my Ducks/Dallas playoff preview at SportsHubLA. I honestly tried to be as objective as possible....I mean c'mon, who outside of the OC (don't call it that) is actually rooting for the Ducks? And don't forget to read the comments...they're as close to hate comments as I've received. Yay!

And one more Yay! for the Dallas win.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Another 'Hockey Night in Blogdom'

Slap Shot Blog of the NY Times has another edition of 'Hockey Night in Blogdom'. This edition focuses on the 14 teams (2 bloggers are missing) that missed the playoffs. The 4 questions each blogger answered are:
  1. Now that it’s all over, what’s the strongest impression, good or bad, you have about your team?
  2. Which team should we root for to win the Cup, and why?
  3. Which team must be prevented from winning the Cup, at all costs?
  4. Shootouts in the playoffs, yea or nay?

Check out my answers (I'm dead last...where the Kings belong) in the "Farewell to the Also-Rans" and don't forget to read the answers from PCV favorite, the always funny Kate of The Willful Caboose.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

2008 Playoffs - Time for Predictions!

I get really excited about the playoffs every year. When the Kings aren't competing for Stanley I usually pick one team as "my team". It's usally the Red Wings because I always like their lineup. Sure their wagon is HUGE but it doesn't always mean they're going to win the Cup. I love Niklas Lidstrom. He's probably my favorite player in the playoffs. And how can you not like Hank Zetterberg? The Wings even have McCarty back in the lineup! And, of course, let's not forget about Kirk Maltby and Brad Stuart.

Normally I don't care too much about the East, unless there's one team that I adore and want to see succeed. Last year it was the Buffalo Sabres and I was a bit disappointed with their lackluster effort through the playoffs. They had a great team but for some reason, with the exception of a couple games, it seemed like the team won on luck alone. This year I don't have an Eastern team that I'm rooting for. I think Washington is on an unbelievable streak and it would be a sight to see if they advance to the Finals. Hands down that team is the underdog.

My predictions are after the jump. But don't forget to make your predictions (in the comments or in your blog) so we can compare!

Eastern Conference

(1) Montreal Canadiens v. (8) Boston Bruins
I don't know much about the Canadiens except that they have a rookie in net. The team went 8-1-1 in the last 10 games and it always seems like the hot teams do well in the playoffs. I know even less about the Boston Bruins and I'm still trying to figure out how the team made the playoffs. I'm sticking with the hot team.
Montreal in 5.

(2) Pittsburgh Penguins v. (7) Ottawa Senators
Rematch from last year except now Pittsburgh is the home team. Last year I always enjoyed reading the post game notes by Five for Smiting; he's relentless in his mockery of Gary Roberts and Sidney Crosby. I want Ottawa to win this series but I doubt it will happen. The team has imploded and Malkin has the entire state of Pennsylvania on his shoulders and he's still racking up the points. Maybe the bunny will work...but I'm not holding my breath.
Pittsburgh in 6.

(3) Washington Capitals v. (6) Philadelphia Flyers
Like I said earlier, the Capitals look unstoppable. Now that Ovie broke Luc's record, I am in full support of him scoring as many goals as humanly possible. If the Caps make it to the Finals, he could very easily win the MVP award. And honestly, I want the Caps to make it that far because that means I get to watch Ovie play more in the next couple months than I have in the past three years. In the first half of the season it looked like Philly was going to easily slide into the playoffs. Now, I'm not sure they can hold off the streaking Caps. I am in complete shock that Jaroslav Modry went from a +2 on the Kings to a -13 on the is that even possible? Ovie all the way.
Caps in 6.

(4) New Jersey Devils v. (5) New York Rangers
I'm sorry -ookies, Kerry and Lucky 13, but I don't care about this series. And I'm sure Devils fans are less than thrilled to be playing the Rangers and vice versa. Actually, I do care about Sean Avery. So...I guess I'm rooting for the Rangers. But I think Marty will carry the Devils to the second round.
Devils in a painful 7.

Western Conference
(1) Detroit Red Wings v. (8) Nashville Predators
Unless the entire Red Wings roster gets injured and/or everyone becomes super cocky, Detroit's winning this series. For the record, I do not like Hasek.
Detroit in 5.

(2) San Jose Sharks v. (7) Calgary Flames
It's the JR curse.
Flames in 6.

(3) Minnesota Wild v. (6) Colorado Avalanche
This is going to be a good series if Forsberg plays in every game. I wish I could watch every game in this series. I have no idea who will win this one. I guess I'll just have to go with my girl Kirsten.
Wild in 7.

(4) Anaheim Ducks v. (5) Dallas Stars
I cannot believe Zubov is out. However, I still have faith that Dallas can knock out Anaheim.
Dallas in 7.

Mirtle has a poll where you can vote for the 4 teams you think will advance in each Conf. Check out what a bunch of readers think will happen.

EDIT: 04/07/08

After reading Kirsten's predictions I decided I should try my hand at predicting all of the rounds. I initially wanted to propose a Playoff Prediction Game at HLOG similar to the NCAA Final Four brackets, but reseeding makes it more difficult to create a "bracket" and I just don't care that much to actually make it and send it to everyone. Rather, hopefully my (and Kirsten's) predictions will entice others to make predictions as well.

With the predictions I made above for the We/Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, here are my predictions for the remaining playoff rounds:

Eastern Conference Semifinals
(1) Montreal v. (4) New Jersey Devils
Rookie v. Vet. Kind of like Ward v. Brodeur. If this series occurred in the next round then Price would have the opportunity of outdueling Brodeur on his birthday just like Ward did two seasons ago.
Montreal in 5.

(2) Pittsburgh v. (3) Washington Capitals
Everyone in NHL broadcasting will cream themselves if this series comes to fruition. Crosby v. Ovechkin! Da-du-DAH! Poor you think if he's selfish enough that when it comes time for him to be a UFA he won't re-sign with the Pens just so he can go to a team and not be overshadowed by Cindy? Caps are running on endorphins alone. (I can't believe I just typed 'endorphins'...I'm such a dork)
Caps in 7.

Western Conference Semifinals
(1) Detroit v. (7) Calgary
I picked Calgary to win it all...but now they're up against Detroit. Rematch of last year's first round. I think Calgary could dethrone Detroit but it'll take a lot of discipline. Even though Detroit is my playoff team, I think Calgary could succeed with the upset. After looking at my initial prediction for the Western Finals, I think Detroit will win.
Calgary in 6. Detroit in 6.

(3) Minnesota Wild v. (5) Dallas Stars
(holy hell, I'm out of it today. First I typed "Minnesota North" and then I corrected myself and typed "Minnesota Stars" and then I realized I was on crack and finally wrote down the correct team name.)
I just don't know much about the Wild other than Demitra is on the team.
Dallas in 6. Minny in 6.

Ea/Western Conference Finals
(1) Montreal v. (3) Washington Capitals
I can't believe I have Montreal and Washington in the Eastern Conf Finals...Now I really want Washington to make it. But I think Montreal will prevail.
Montreal in 6.

(5) Dallas Stars v. (7) Calgary Flames
(1) Detroit Red Wings v. (3) Minnesota Wild
I just don't see the #5 and #7 making it to the Finals...what was I thinking 3 minutes ago? Anyhoo, this will be a good series. If Minny can make it this far, I think they can make it to the Finals.
Minnesota in 7.

Stanley Cup Finals
(1) Montreal Canadiens v. (3)Minnesota Wild
Two major hockey markets. One smallish American market. Minnesota will win Game 1. Chris Simon will be called with an illegal stick in Game 2. Montreal will win Games 2-5. History can kind of repeat itself, right?
Montreal in 5.

(x-posted to HLOG)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Analysis of My Season Predictions

I think it's ridiculous when analysts make predictions before a single game is played. I always hate it when they come back at the end of the season and say, "SEE, I WAS RIGHT! IN JULY I PREDICTED [insert team name] WOULD WIN!!"

Two seasons ago P asked me what my predictions were before the season began. I said I don't make predictions because (a) I don't know enough about each team before the season begins and (b) I think it's pointless. But I made predictions anyway and was way off. I even had the Kings going to the playoffs (haha!) but I made that prediction more because I really wanted them to advance and not because I actually thought they had the talent. I wish I still had the post but it was on my other blog and I deleted all those posts.

I made predictions before this season because I think it's fun. I also always enjoy seeing how poorly I did. No, I did not have the Kings qualifying this year. I finally got my head out of my ass and didn't let emotions get the best of me. Here's my 2007-2008 NHL predictions post. And if by chance I do really well, it's all because of luck.

Let's see how far off I was. I made predictions about which teams would qualify for the postseason in no particular order. A "(N)" is placed next teams that did not qualify.

Eastern Conference Predictions
Carolina (N)
Tampa Bay (N)
Toronto (N)
Buffalo (N)
NY Rangers
New Jersey

I was 4/8, which I think anyone could achieve. I think it also shows how little I know about the East. I had no idea the Southeast Division was going to be so weak and that only ONE team would advance to the postseason. I didn't think Washington had a shot in hell of making the playoffs but they've turned things around, which gives me hope for the Kings. I don't know what the deal is with Carolina. They have a decent roster, why can't they win? How did they lose 3 of their last 4 games to shit the bed and miss the playoffs? I don't know what I was thinking when I picked TB to advance. Watching them in last year's playoffs should have been a clear indicator that things were only going to get worse. I also don't know why I thought Toronto would make it...probably because I didn't think Boston was going to clinch a spot or that Montreal would bust out of the woodworks.

Western Conference Predictions
Vancouver (N)
St. Louis (N)
San Jose

I guess Andy Murray is still having difficulty coaching a team to the playoffs. I thought for sure they would be in but maybe it'll take another season or two. I'm absolutely shocked that despite cleaning house, the Nashville Predators were able to hold onto a playoff spot. However, unless Detroit gets super cocky I don't see the Predators making it past the first round. Vancouver will have to have a busy off-season if they want to stay competitive and qualify next season. I think I picked Vancouver to make the playoffs and not Minnesota because of goaltending. I wasn't (and still am not) familiar with either Backstrom or Harding but they've done a fantastic job this season.

I think next season's playoffs will have some new faces. Hopefully the Kings will finally extend their season and I think the Blackhawks could make it as well. Phoenix is also on the rise and despite an unlucky run of injuries, the Oilers weren't knocked out of the playoff hunt till late in the season.

Check back soon for my playoff predictions!

The End is FINALLY Here

In December I thought this day was never going to come. It's been a painful season filled with too much diappointment and I am so relieved that it is finally coming to an end.

Check back throughout the day as I blog about the Kings Season Finale against the Ducks.

YES! David Gaines with the National Anthem. We are definitely winning the game.

Oh shiiiiiiit. Dan cloutier is in net. Scratch that last thought...we're losing today. Yep, Marc Crawford hates LA.

Mick McGeough's last game is today. Maybe we'll have several fights and give him a game to remember.

First Period
The Kings goal came from Dustin Brown who held onto the puck till Kopitar and the Ducks defenseman screened Giguere. As Kopitar skated by Giguere his skate made contact with Jiggy's stick so of course he went nuts at the ref expecting an interference call. The period was going well for the Kings till the last minute when the Ducks got two goals in 8 seconds. There was a spectacular turnover at the blueline by Klemm which allowed Selanne to tear through the zone and ripped off a shot that whizzed by Cloutier.

The first intermission interview was with Scott Thornton who I guess is retiring after today. The training staff and teammates (mainly Derek Armstrong and Brian Willsie) made a shirt for him with the following on the back:

Games played

Points scored

Visits to the bar

"Thorty" as a teammate

Second Period
Dean Lombardi joined Bob and Jim during part of the second period and talked about the Kings, present and future. The Ducks notched one goal and the Kings tallied two to keep the score tied at the end of the period.

Third Period
The Ducks went ahead in the third period and the Kings failed send the game into OT.

Yeah, my game diary shows just how much excitement I showed while watching this game.

Now the Kings will wait till tonight to find if they finished last or 29th. Tampa Bay has to earn at least one point in order to place 29th because right now the Kings and TB are tied in points but the Kings have more wins. I'm not too concerned about where the Kings place since the 30th place team isn't guaranteed the #1 pick. I have no idea what Lombardi will do in the Draft. If we do pick Stamkos I'm wondering if he'll trade a young forward prospect in order to pick up a young but qualified defenseman.

I'm also curious to see if Crawford will be fired. I'm 50-50 on this topic. The team can't get any worse under his reign, right?

This should be an interesting off-season.

Friday, April 4, 2008

April 3rd: Kings 4, Sharks 2...haha!

I couldn't believe it when Bob Miller said the Sharks were on a 20-game points streak and that they hadn't lost in regulation since February 20th. WTF!? I loved it when Jimmy Fox immediately jokingly questioned why the Kings couldn't go on a similar run.

Anyhoo, the Kings had a great game even though they allowed a goal 36 seconds into the game. Ersberg redeemed himself and netted another win. He'll be an RFA this weekend so it'll be interesting to see if the Kings re-sign and/or if another team extends him an offer. It might be in the Kings' favor that he's only played in 14 games (13 starts) because other teams may question whether or not he's ready for a full NHL season. I'm not ready yet to call him the number one for next season but he's definitely helped give the Kings some stability and confidence (when they decide to play and muster more than 10 shots per game). We have so many goalies in the system, several of which have garnered a lot of attention, so I'm interested in seeing what those kids can do. Training camp should be exciting...too bad I have to wait so long.

I'm wondering if last night's loss is just the beginning of the Sharks downfall...I really hope it is.