Your NHL Eastern Conference Preview & Monday Open Thread

Beerguyrob

Beerguyrob

A Canadian man-child of indeterminate age, he stays young by selling alcohol at sporting events and yelling at the patrons he serves. Their rage nourishes his soul, and their tips pay for his numerous trips to various sporting events.
Beerguyrob

Psst – You know that Monday after Super Bowl, or Christmas Eve, when there’s almost no sports worth watching on the teevee? Well, we’ve entered that two-day realm tonight. There’s no hockey, and basketball only has one game worth caring about and that’s on Wednesday. There have been some firings today – Don Maloney OUT as GM of the Arizona Phoenix Arizona Coyotes – but it’s nothing compared to the thrill of Black Monday in the NFL. We might literally DIE!!11!1!

BUT, did you know there’s actual sports playoffs starting soon? Hockey’s starts this Wednesday, and basketball starts theirs on the weekend. The long slags of the regular season comes down to exciting battles to win 16 games and hoist a trophy.

Before Canada shuts down all foreign sports broadcasts until September due to our non-participation, I thought I would try and get some interest in following along by previewing the annual quest for Lord Stanley’s mug. After that, and once the Raptors get bounced, it’s just two months until the start of the CFL season.

In Gary Bettman’s infinite ‘wisdom’, the NHL playoffs start this Wednesday, a seemingly randomly-chosen date doomed to be overshadowed in the media by the Warriors quest for 73. Nonetheless, with only the NBA as a viable form of sports entertainment for the next couple of days – I like baseball but c’mon, it’s Week 2 of a 26-week, 162-game season – for the next two nights the Open Thread will consist of laying out simple previews for each Conference’s first-round series. I’ve asked various Commentists to provide, in the following days, individual previews in response to my barbs/guesses.

Eastern Conference – Round One (first 4 game dates in parenthesis)

Florida vs NY Islanders (Wed/Fri/Sun/Tues)

This has the potential to be the dullest series in the Eastern Conference. Up until last year, you could get a season’s ticket in Miami for as little as $500, and they were rumoured on the move to Quebec City. Now, the Panthers are led by a revived Roberto Luongo and the too-old-for-the-Penguins Jaromir Jagr. Somehow, through a combination of efficient hair grooming and probable eastern European “supplements”, that turned into MAGIC! and a first-place finish in their division. For the Isles, who were once also rumoured on the move to Quebec before being bought by a Russian and moving downtown, it’s been goaltender-by-committee in Brooklyn, but their Goals Against Average (GAA) has remained steady throughout the year, which helped keep them in playoff contention. Speculated future Maple Leaf John Tavares led the Isles in scoring, but not by a lot. Tight netminding and close games got both of these teams into the playoffs. Whether or not Lui has a(nother) case of the yips will be the determining factor here, because Jagr seems on a mission.

Prediction: Panthers in 6.

Tampa Bay vs Detroit (Thurs/Fri/Sun/Wed)

Oh wait, I’m sorry – this has the potential to be the dullest series in the Eastern Conference . Tampa, due to not having speculated future Maple Leaf Steven Stamkos available due to blood clots, have a pretty weak offence. The scoring drop-off is pretty dramatic below him, so they are going to have to rely on goaltending; luckily, Ben Bishop is a stud between the pipes. Detroit, however, backed into the playoffs, and their leading scorers are either old or retiring. Which goalie will let them down is the only mystery here. To think Mike Babcock left all this to go coach the Leafs; methinks he just wanted to golf two weeks earlier this year.

Prediction: Tampa in 5.

Washington vs Philadelphia (Thurs/Sat/Mon/Wed)

Now we’re cooking with gas. This will be some good old-time playoff hockey between two teams that don’t like each other. These teams played a barnburner a couple of weeks back, and made it look like they actually had some good hate built up that only a seven-game series could alleviate. These two teams have a playoff history that goes back to Dale Hunter cheap-shotting Pierre Turgeon in 1993. The Capitals ran away with the East this year, and the Ovechkin-Holtby tandem accounts for 90% of the reason why. Philly won both their play-in games, but shaky goaltending, low scoring and the death of owner/dictator Ed Snider will put a dent in their chances. Still, there’s going to be lots of hitting, and – Ovie aside – the Capitals don’t like to be touched. This might be Washington’s hardest challenge on their way to the Finals.

Prediction:  Washington in 6.

Pittsburgh vs NY Rangers (Wed/Sat/Tues/Thurs)

This is the other on-paper fun Eastern Conference series. Glorified Trent Dilfer Sidney Crosby leads a battered but resilient team into a potential slobberknocker with a goaltending-first team in Henrik Lundqvist & the Rangers. Pittsburgh’s scoring comes in bunches, and that can hurt them if they go cold at the wrong time. The Rangers have equal scoring: they’re going to get 3-4 goals a game; it all depends on whether they can keep out 3-4 goals a game. The reason Pittsburgh is hosting to start is because of how those 4-3 scores finished during the season. In the end, it will all come down to whether Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury lets in too many soft goals on the four third-lines the Rangers dress, and if the Penguins signed former overpaid Maple Leaf Phil Kessel’s conditioning coach through May.

Prediction: Pittsburgh in 6.

Tomorrow, the Western Conference preview. But for now, GET TO ARGUIN’!

 

Beerguyrob
Beerguyrob
A Canadian man-child of indeterminate age, he stays young by selling alcohol at sporting events and yelling at the patrons he serves. Their rage nourishes his soul, and their tips pay for his numerous trips to various sporting events.
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ballsofsteelandfuryWCSUnsurprisedBeerguyrobJerBear50 Recent comment authors
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Unsurprised
Unsurprised
WCS

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Good news: I’m going to L.A. in a couple of weeks.

Bad news: Everything else.

WCS

Good news:

You have the ability to meet up with fellow Commentists for drinks and/or hawkey/basketsports/based balls for a meet-and-greet. Us impoverished Right Coasters don’t have that chance.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Doubtful. I’ll be spending that time with my brother.

WCS

To paraphrase Dr. Emmitt Brown, “Bring ’em along.” The Left Coast Commentist Party is always happy to accommodate.

ballsofsteelandfury

Sweet! I’ll buy you a beer! Let us know when and maybe we can get some of the LA gang together!

laserguru

Knee update.
X-rays taken nothing was learned and nothing was proved.
The earliest I could get an appointment was this Saturday at 10 AM. Surgeons have funky hours on account of being in surgery all the time.
Another week of this but I’m doing the process.
If nothing else the fact that “maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and it will be over” has been tossed to the curb and now I just have to deal with a long ass grinding knee for another week.
I’ve had worse.

Is that all you’ve got you pansy?!?

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

It could be worse. You could wake up dead tomorrow.

JerBear50
JerBear50

Have you tried a meat injector filled with WD40?

WCS

On the other hand, the Percocet Fairy could reward your pain and suffering in a week. Get on that, Hippo.

Granted, I’m younger, and far lower on the totem pole. I got used to it a long time ago. It never stops being shitty.

Hang in there, comrade. If nothing else, you’ve got your imaginary Commentist friends.

WCS

Wakezilla

Sadly, this isn’t surprising. Not the same, but, I once had the cops call me saying they had a warrant out for my arrest, only for me to find out that the guy they were looking for had a different middle name than myself. That was a scary 30 seconds. I can’t imagine what being like that for 6 years would be like.

WCS

Jeez. I can’t imagine how terrifying that would be.

I have the blessing of having the combo of a rather uncommon first name in these times, and a very unique last name. Full disclosure, I fucked up quite a bit when I was younger, and I’m trying to fix that. It will take a long time to make up for that, and that’s okay. I get it, and I’m trying to make it right. That said, I’m glad I (most likely) can’t be misconstrued for someone else. That said, if someone wants to try to steal my identity, best of luck. It won’t be the fun you thought it’d be.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

The whole world is rigged against us.

Wakezilla
Wakezilla
Unsurprised
Unsurprised

I strongly dispute knowyourmeme characterizing u***x as a “humor” blog.

JerBear50
JerBear50
Wakezilla

Hey beerguy Rob,

The Dale Hunter/Pierre Turgeon incident happened between the Caps/Isles, not Caps/Flyers.

Also, Luongo getting the yips is bogus. Dude didn’t get any offensive help from game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals until he left (in terms of playoffs output).

East predictions (until I change my mind when I find out who’s hurt:

Washington in 7…..Ice Eagles could win this if the refs don’t call penalties.
Ice Steelers in 6. . .If the refs call penalties, Crosby is going to carve the Ice Giants up.
Ice Jets in 7. . . It just feels weird to see Florida in the playoffs.I think their young guns are a year away
Ice Lions in 7. . . Mrazek is streaky as shit and will be good enough to beat the Ice Bucs sans Stamkos.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons
Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Animal abuse:

Check out how the #DawgPound celebrated #NationalPetDay! ???'s https://t.co/rJr5ivaX7P pic.twitter.com/YJQOcEODU6— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) April 12, 2016

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

I’m sorry, but whenever I hear the name “Sansa Stark” this is all I can think about:

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Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Sansa Stark also has an action zone. A ginger one, in fact.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

OK, you’ll have to remove that image for EXTREME NIPPLEAGE.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

How the fuck did they name it Believeland and not The Factory?
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Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Honestly, though, I can’t stop laughing at how much it must fucking suck to be from Cleveland.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

I should also add that history and karma aren’t ever going to be on the side of a sports team named the goddamn Indians.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

Not since the 40s, anyway…better, simpler times.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

You know … Whiter

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

Ironically the Indians were the first AL team to break the color barrier when Larry Doby made his debut July 5, 1947, the year before they won their last World Series.

The 1948 World Champions:

http://media.liveauctiongroup.net/i/4722/6816390_1.jpg

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Dammit, Sill.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

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Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Come on. There can’t be anyone in Cleveland who actually believes their teams will ever stop being ass.

Wakezilla

I think WWE wrestler The Miz used all of Cleveland’s luck when he somehow landed Maryse.

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Yeah, so SOME people keep commenting on the ‘older comments’; VERY productive.

http://45.media.tumblr.com/4b29dd9cfc11abc1d8967d645e7a7735/tumblr_nmtig4trlu1us6npro1_400.gif

WCS

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YOU A WINNA, HAH HAH HAH! YOU A WINNA, HAH HAH HAH!

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

Third time’s the charm!

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JerBear50
JerBear50

Thank you for your dedication sir.

Wakezilla

Definitely worth it.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

The full video is even better.

theeWeeBabySeamus

Bulldog puppy sez “new page is MINE!!!!!”
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ballsofsteelandfury

WINNER! !

theeWeeBabySeamus
Gratliff
WCS

E-C-W! E-C-W! E-C-W!

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

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theeWeeBabySeamus

So like….what did I win?
Really? Oh fuck you guys.

Sill Bimmons
Sill Bimmons

Actually, the prize is pretty sweet.

I’ll DM you the deets.