Latest posts by Beerguyrob (see all)
- Your “Bills Coming Due” Monday Evening Open Thread – June 18, 2018
- Your “Cause That’s Not Where I Want To Be” Sunday Evening Open Thread – June 17, 2018
- Your “So Much Sports Action” Saturday Evening Open Thread – June 16, 2018
The Western Conference opening round promises to be both watchable and unwatchable. Watchable in terms of the Blues-Blackhawks series, and possibly the Kings-Sharks series. But the other two seem destined to be unwatchable or – worse – ignored once people get a taste from the first games. But what happens if you determinedly watch one series expecting it to be good, and it turns into a dud, and the one you chose to ignore you find out later was the one you should have watched?
It’s a shame that that casts a pall over the entire first round, because the Cup winner is most likely coming from the West.
With that in mind, I give you your Commentist team & series previews. Pictures added where deemed appropriate.
LA Kings – Balls
Here is the Official Balls Kings-Sharks Series Preview:
Before I write this, let me say that I have met Covalent Blonde and Sunrisesunrise in person and they are both perfectly nice, cool, funny, and awesome people. Who are, unfortunately, cursed with rooting for the San Jose Sharks. I apologize in advance for the agony that you will go through in the next two weeks. Why agony? Well, unless you were under a rock or absolutely hate hockey (in which case, to borrow a phrase, there’s the door), you may remember the devastating series loss the Kings handed the Sharks the last time they met in the playoffs in 2014 where, after losing the first three games, the Kings won the next four. And to rub more salt in the wound, the Kings also won the Cup that year.
I don’t really think that series will have much of an impact on this one, though. That’s mostly fodder for media types and God knows I’m not one of them. Instead, I think the agony will come based on what I know about the Kings this year:
1) When they are on, they can beat any team in the league.
2) They are streaky as fuck. I haven’t seen so many three game losing streaks since the colors were purple and gold.
3) They relax too much and let teams back into games they should never be in.
I’ll let Covalent and Sunrise sing the Sharks’ praises and analyze their performance this year. I will do this one little bit of sportswriter-y analysis: Against the Kings, the Sharks won three games (2 at Staples), lost one in OT, and lost one in regulation. What do all of these words mean for the series then?
The Kings will lose the first two games at home giving Sharks fans visions of revenge for 2014. They will then proceed to win the next three because that’s what they do and that’s what the Sharks do. Panic will set in over in San Jose and you will hear everybody and their grandmother talk about a repeat of the last playoff series. That will not happen as the Sharks win Game 6 at home. Then, the Kings will win Game 7 at Staples going on to the next round while leaving Sharks fans disappointed once again. Hey, at least you won’t get your heart ripped out as badly as last time!
San Jose Sharks – Sunrisesunrise
Admittedly, I’ve seen, at most, three full games this season. Having a two year old doesn’t leave me as much downtime as I was led to believe*. I know more about the casts of Doc McStuffins and Sophia the First than I do about the Sharks lines. As far as I knew, Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton we’re going to be traded by the deadline. Instead, I got updates of additions (Polak and Reimer) and additions by subtraction (Rafi Torres).
What I remember is the playoffs two years ago. Sharks took a 3-0 lead on the Kings. I thought that my daughter who was less than month old at the time was going to “witness” the Sharks win a championship. And I was going to resent her since I’d been a fan for 15 years and witnessed only futility and heartbreak. The 2013-14 Sharks decided I shouldn’t resent by daughter at such an early age and promptly coughed up four games in a row. That kind of loss hurts. The 2014-15 Sharks were wildly mediocre and missed the playoffs.
This year seems (from all of the highlights I’ve seen) to have a bit better shot at not embarrassing themselves in the first round. Marleau and Thornton will probably be traded for draft picks after the season so it’s their last hurrah as Sharks teammates. I think they’ll give it their all to eradicate the memory of the last playoff series with the Kings. So much energy will be spent though that they will go out with a whimper in the second round.
*I was not led to believe this.
Hello everyone, this is Chip Kelly, Head Coach of the San Francisco 49 Ducks. I’m busy trying to convince many exiting seniors to declare to play for us, and while I know we are supposed to field a 53 man roster, I take that more as a maximum suggestion (I’ve still got a lot of cuts to get through!) and both Jedd York and I really like the branding synergy of going with 49 players! This is just one of the many exciting, new innovations that I am bringing to my football team, but we can talk more about that later, I’m here today to tell you about the University of Oregon’s hockey team from their satellite campus in Anaheim, CA. Once you lead the Mother Duck up in Eugene, you get to know all of our collegiate athletes, from Long Island to the city of Aflac, and let me tell you, these Ducks have a bright future. Some of them could even get drafted and go pro!
The number 2 seed University of Oregon of Anaheim Ducks are set to play the 7th seeded Nashville State Predators on Friday this week, and while the Predators may have the bigger number in front of their name, I still really like the Ducks chances! As with all sports, offense is the most important (and really only) part of the game that actually matters. The key to any great offense is a quick and aggressive attack. The more you stay on the offensive, the more they have to stay on defense, and the last time I checked, you can’t score on defense in hockey, or in football for that matter!
After scanning the roster, I really like what I see from this entire team. Hockey is known for being a tough, gritty game, and these players certainly do not disappoint. There is one player, however, that I am worried about. Despite being a usual starter at Right Wing, these Ducks would be wise to avoid playing Chris Stewart. When I look at him, I just can’t say with confidence that he is trustworthy, and he doesn’t seem to have the natural body for the ice, or really anything involving a complex system that Ducks are known for. Wait, he’s not Hawaiian, right? Okay, yeah, he definitely should not be playing.
Anyway, the Ducks will sweep the series and should advance to a Bowl game. I’ll make sure to call the selection committee myself and see that they get a favorable match up!
Gooooooooo Ducks! Quack quack!
St Louis – Darkest Timeline Zach Morris
The Blues (Or, the Most Appropriate of Hockey Team Names)
The Blues have, for the entirety of my life, disappointed me. I started watching when I was a wee’un, but really became a fan in the mid 90’s, thanks mostly to the awesomeness of NHLPA ’93 for the Sega Genesis. The Blues have also, in recent years, developed a reputation for constant overachievement in the regular season and immediate, hilarious pants shitting in the playoffs. This is a team that has won the regular season points title and number one overall seed, and gotten swept in the 2nd round. They won the division last season, and got knocked out by the Minnesota Wild, who I thought were one of the generic teams that I played on Blades of Steel.
Now they get the god damned BLACKHAWKS???
For the love of Pete, this team deserves to win. They play so hard every night. They could totally win.
But they won’t.
This is a team that will lose to an undermanned team, or a backup goalie, or a fluke shot, or a poorly-timed injury. They are comically playoff-cursed. They will lose to the Blackhawks, again, and I’ll drink myself into the carpet, again.
OR MAYBE THEY WON’T.
Yeah, they have exciting players like Vlad Tarasenko, David Backes, Robby Fabbri, Kevin Shattenkirk, Paul Stastny, Alex Pietrangelo, and goalies Brian Elliott and Jake Allen, either of whom could heat up at the right time. They could totally do this, right?
/Sees Goddamned Yzerman shot going top shelf on Jon Casey which is BURNED INTO MY DAMNED EYEBALLS
Lets. Go. Blues.
Chicago – Cuntler
As a fan of the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks; the best player/scorer/rape-denier in the league, Patrick “FUCK YOU, SILL” Kane; and best captain in hockey, I humbly request the author use this picture of Jonathan Toews celebrating his Cup win.
FEEL THE EXCITEMENT!
(Blues win the series, 4-2. The St. Louis/Chicago rivalries are all bizarro this year.)
Stars Ice Cowboys – Wakezilla
It’s that time of the year when casual sports fans in North America begin to pay attention to the NHL and hop on a team’s bandwagon. More often than not, they like to pick a team that is capable of scoring lots of goals and is a favourite—but not THE favourite—to win the Stanley Cup. This year’s sexy pick for bandwagon fans is going to be the Ice Cowboys.
In all likeliness, the Stars are going to be the media darlings of this year’s playoffs. Just make sure Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin don’t hog all the mic time. Especially Seguin. Despite finishing first in the Western Conference with 109 points and first in goals for per game (3.23), most of the big NHL prognosticators are overlooking the Ice Cowboys. With what the Ice Cowboys are going to do to the Ice Vikings, round 1 will likely be seen as Dallas’ coming out party.
The triplets—Jamie Benn (41g, 89 points), Tyler Seguin (33g, 73 points) and sophomore d-man John Klinberg (10g, 58 points)—are fun to watch and are going to light up “Doobie” about as often as Nate Newton in 2001. Even if the Ice Vikings are able to contain those three, which might be a possibility to at least Seguin because he’ll be playing hurt, they’re just not good enough to contain 30 goal scorer and Laughing Hyena, Jason Spezza.
The Ice Cowboys’ defense is actually pretty solid and balanced. Klinberg can put up points and is great at taking away space in the defensive zone. Goligoski has a good stabilizing presence in the back end *giggity* and Kris Russell is a shot blocking beast. Jason Demers and Johnny Oduya provide veteran leadership and stability.
The defense shouldn’t be challenged against the Ice Vikings because Thomas Vanek and Erik Haula are out for at least one game (though reports say it’ll be more than two) and Zack Parise is out with a herniated disk. Mikko Koivu and Jason Pomenville are healthy, but have played like dog shit the past 7 or 8 games.
Goaltending is seen as Dallas’ weakness, with Niemi and Lehtonen splitting the starting position. At least in the first round, they just have to be perfectly cromulent and the Stars will be fine. Both goalies have been known to go on stretches of playing well, so, if one goalie gets hot early on, don’t expect to see the other to get a start.
The Stars are going to do to the Wild what Seguin is about to do to that woman.. .
*puts on sunglasses*
Give them the Big D.
Stars in 5.
Here is the first reason anyone cares about the Preds:
Here’s the second:
Nobody wanted to talk about them because them winning would be worse for the NHL than the 1995 Devils, because that again would validate the trap as a viable, winning strategy.
There you have it. Thanks to all the Commentists that provided their insight. You are all now ready to go drinking, and engage in pointless debates outside of baseball. Enjoy!