Well, here we are. It's conference finals time yet again and we're only a hop, skip and an overtime winner away from a trip to the Finals. It feels so good and yet so wrong since this means we're so close to the end of hockey season. Of course, for a few of us, hockey season has already ended. But no matter, watching teams you dislike and/or couldn't care less about is still better than no hockey. And we all know how horrible no hockey is.
Anyway, the following is your obligatory preview of the conference finals and, to be honest, take it with a laugh and a grain of salt. 'A laugh' for when I say things like "Mike Modano's abs will kill you if you stare directly into them" and 'a grain of salt' because I went 1-for-4 in predicting the semifinal round. Hey, it's just truth in advertising baby.So here we go. It's the final four. Two will go home while two move on and eat each other's young. Or not.
- If you live outside of Pennsylvania, skip to the next section.
- There are really only two websites you need to know about for this matchup: the700level.com (Philly) and thepensblog (duh).
- Can Danny Briere get some love? He's got 14 points in 12 games so far.
- Can't wait to see what Feeny has in store for us this round. Remember Feeny, if you're reading this, "Messier Sucks."
- Emo Wall is still mad and may try and take our Sid's knee. Careful.
Look. You got me. I didn't think the Flyers were any good. I didn't think they would make it out of the first round much less get to this point. Kudos to them cause they did and are going to be a challenge for the Pens. Philly won the season series 5-3 and the teams didn't go to overtime once (they like to get home on time, you see). I have no idea what to expect out of this one except that it should be a bloodbath. No, no and no I am NOT trashing on the Flyers here. These two teams are rivals both have their goons and I expect this to get out of hand at some point. It's a heated rivalry that should only get more heated given that they are both only a step from the Finals.
Seriously, the Penguins are a scary bunch. Their series against the Rangers was closer than it appeared, but they are still 8-1 in the postseason. I'm also sick and tired of picking up against Philly. They've beat me twice in a row. The Pens are hot right now and I think they have the sheer talent. They also still have Marc Andre Fleury in goal. Yikes. This is a real tough pick. I'm going to take the Pens in seven, but now that I picked against them the Flyers will probably win.
Oh and did I mention that both these teams play in the Atlanta division? Best division in the East, hands down (represent!).
- Since 1997 the Wings have advanced to the Conference Finals four times. They won the series three times.
- Johan Franzen is absolutely out of his mind right now -- 27 goals in 72 regular season games and he has 11 in the playoffs so far in only 10 games. Wow.
- Pretty sure no one picked Dallas to get this far and yet they stunned the world in the last two rounds.
- Brad Richards has only two playoff goals so far, but to be fair, he's got 11 points.
- The over/under on how many times blogs and the booth announcers make it a point to point out Chelios' age is set at 750 (not including this sentence).
In a nutshell:
We're looking at a very similar series here to the one we've got in the East. We've got a solid team, although I think the Wings are on a whole other level above the Pens, against one that mostly people wrote off a while ago. I don't know about you, but after their horrific March, I wrote off the Stars. I know that's pretty much all I've been writing about them for some time now and you're probably sick and tired of it. But yes, it's a similar matchup. The Stars shutdown the Sharks for most of their series and a lot of it is thanks to Marty "I'm finally going to play as well as everyone knows I can" Turco. Turco's got a .929 save percentage and 1.73 GAA in the playoffs so far. Sick.
I almost have to pick against the Stars here. They eliminated JR. That's a cardinal sin around these parts. But alas, I have to try to be impartial. I'm taking the Wings here because they have really impressed me, especially in their destruction of Colorado (although I do understand that Colorado was hurt and playing a with a crappy 'tender). But, well, it's also the same old song and dance as the East. I've picked against the Stars and have been riding them yet they continue to go against everything I say. I'm taking Detroit in seven, but this should be a heck of a series.