Your Wednesday Evening NHL Western Conference Preview & 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

(Sorry I’m late – the students needed extra help today.)

As the playoffs start tonight, we wrap up our brief two-day intro coverage by looking at the Western Conference matchups:

Calgary vs. Colorado

Colorado already starts this series mentally down in the eyes of their fans, because they got FUCKED in the Draft Lottery. They held Ottawa’s pick & had the best odds to win the Jack Hughes sweepstakes. But I guess Maestro’s prayers to the ghost of Claude Lemieux paid off because Gary Bettman put his thumb on the scale & the first overall pick went to New Jersey, and the Av’s pick slid all the way to #4.

After losing Eichel to the Sabres & Matthews to the Leafs, there was no way he was going to allow the next big American hockey star to get away from the big media markets. If he’d gone to the Rangers, that would have been proof of the Darkest Timeline.

Anyway, to the task at hand.

Calgary was the surprise in the West this year, having gone from missing the playoffs last year to winning the Conference. Johnny Gaudreau is the heart & soul of the Flames, leading them in scoring, and Elias Lindholm & Sean Monahan are the other parts of a solid young core the Flames can build on over the next couple of years. Matthew Tkachuk has been a delightful pest in their lineup, and rock-solid defence has been anchored by Mark Giordano & TJ Brodie. Goaltending was their one question mark, but the emergence of David Rittich has meant they don’t have to put shaky old man Mike Smith in net as often, and the net result was them finishing 8 points clear of their closest rival in the Conference.

Colorado is a good young team as well, but their rebuild is a couple years behind the Flames. Nate McKinnon is a beast around which they are building a small dynasty, and if they’d gotten the Hughes pick they’d be laughing deep into the 2020s. Gabriel Landeskog & Mikko Rantanen are solid forwards that have benefitted from working the PP alongside McKinnon. The Av’s defence is a bit suspect at times, and the goaltending hasn’t been what one would consider Cup-challenger ready. Semyon Varlamov suffers from the Russian goalie trait of taking mental breaks during games, often to the team’s detriment. If the Av’s go out in four quick ones, look for them to try & lure Bobrovsky away from Columbus in the offseason.

Conclusion: If this series were in two years, it would be a seven-game classic between two very evenly-matched teams. At this juncture, the Flames are just too good.

Prediction: Flames in 5.


Vegas vs. San Jose

If we truly were in the Darkest Timeline, this is the Conference Final Gary Bettman would have engineered. Two recent Cup runners-up facing off in the first round is definitely not what he had intended, and hopefully will induce him to change the playoff format back to something akin to a 1-8, 2-7 traditional hierarchy.

Anyway, both teams have loaded up on talent, trying to take advantage of their window for success. And, counter-intuitively, both teams had a month each where they so supremely shit the bed they allowed Calgary to cruise through to win the Division & Conference.

San Jose’s big acquisition was last offseason when they acquired Erik Karlsson from the Senators for a couple of players and some magic beans. Paired with perennial team MVP Brent Burns, a defensive Cro-Mag

who leads his team in scoring, they anchor a rearguard that has, at times, needed to bail out the shaky goaltending of Martin Jones, whose GAA ballooned to almost three goals allowed per game. While they tied for the Conference lead with Calgary for goals scored with 289, they let in almost 35 more goals – by far the most for any playoff team. If they can’t get four goals per game, they’re going to lose quickly, because Jones doesn’t have the confidence to survive many shootouts.

Speaking of jitters, Marc-Andre Fleury everyone.

A perennial case of the yips is part of this guy’s repertoire. You can count on it happening; it’s the when that keeps people guessing. Last year he caught them in Game 3 of the Cup Final, and Vegas never really recovered. In previous years, when he won

three Cups with Pittsburgh, there was always a backup who could spell him for a game or series before it turned around. In Vegas, he’s pretty much all on his own, as Malcolm Subban – the Fedor Fedorov of the Subban family – gave a sub-.500 effort during his 18 games.

They tried to bolster the netminding at the trade deadline by loading up on scoring talent with the addition of Mark Stone, also from Ottawa & also for (different) magic beans. Combined with the offseason additions of Paul Stastny & Max Pacioretty, Vegas has all the firepower it needs to survive this round, provided Fleury doesn’t have one of his spells prior to May.

Conclusion: Given the shaky cages, each game could end up being 8-6 or 1-0, depending upon the favour of a benevolent God.

Prediction: Sharks in 6.


Nashville vs. Dallas

This series has no business existing if the Jets don’t spend the month of February scoring no goals & daring other teams to try and catch them.

Nonetheless, Nashville is just as good as the team that went to the Cup. Pekka Rinne might have lost a step since then, but he’s still head & shoulders above most other NHL goalies. Their defence is held together by the effervescent PK Subban (the Sergei Fedorov of the Subban family), and the triumvirate of Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm & Ryan Ellis helped ensure they surrendered the second-fewest goals in the Western Conference. While they don’t have anyone who scored more than 64 points, they have three consistent lines that guarantee them enough goals (3) to give them a chance to win most games.

The only team in the West to surrender fewer goals than Nashville? Dallas, with 202 over the 82-game season. (The Islanders led the league, with only 196 surrendered.) Captained by Jamie Benn, the Stars have spent the better part of this season looking up at the Predators & Jets, whilst forgetting to look behind them as the Blues caught & passed them with three weeks to go in the season, ensuring they’d be a wild-card team. They have ridiculous goaltending in the form of Ben Bishop, who registered a GAA of 1.98 – the only starting goalie to keep their average under two goals per game this season. The Benn-Radulov-Seguin line accounts for almost half their scoring, so if the Preds can keep these guys locked up, it should be a short series.

Full disclosure: The Stars are owned by local Vancouver businessman & asshat Tom Gagliardi, who made his fortune off of highways concessions the family obtained when his grandfather was the BC Minister of Highways. He only owns the Stars because he got fucked over by now-former friend & equal asshat Francesco Aquilini, who bought the Canucks out from under him. He got in trouble earlier this season for making some drunken comments about his players. I might have once thrown a punch at a family member of his.

Conclusion: This series comes down to goaltending, and which team can break through the defence more often. It should be the Predators, but each game likely will come down to a one-goal spread and a little bit of luck. This is the series that has the greatest chance of losing a top seed.

Prediction: Nashville in 7.


Winnipeg vs. St. Louis

On paper, this should be the most fun series. Both teams have awesome firepower, rock-solid defence, and goaltending that has kept them near the top of the table since January.

The Blues were in last place in the West at the turn of the year. They fired their head coach, and Craig Berube, the “interim” head coach, and guided this rag-tag band of misfits into a playoff position, and came two points from winning the grouping. Vladimir Tarasenko is his usual best, and big offseason signing Ryan O’Reilly led the team in scoring. The 1-2 punch of Jake Allen & Jordan Binnington firmed up their crease after Christmas & led the Blues in what’s considered one of the best mid-season turnarounds in NHL history. The only area of question is their defensive pairings. The Blues have been lucky that their defensive struggles timed up perfectly with their goalies going on hot streaks. If the Blues can get all three parts firing at once, they would be the sleeper team of the West.

The Jets have been near the top of the table since November, with a mid-winter slump that allowed the rest of the division to catch up to them. Patrik Laine appears to be off the schneid, and Blake Wheeler is the spoon that stirs this team’s coffee. Somehow, Mark Scheifele is still considered “underrated”, but he is as essential to this team’s fortunes as Laine or Wheeler; if teams can bottle him up, it paralyzes the other two. On defence, the Jets have Big Buff back in the lineup, and Tyler Myers has the wingspan of a pterodactyl – which helps hold up other team’s rushes. Goaltending is this team’s weak point; if Connor Hellebuyck is off, then the Jets are done fast & embarrassingly so.

Conclusion: If this turns into goals,

it’s the Jets. If the puck stays out, it’s the Blues.

Prediction: Jets in 6.


Tonight’s sports:

  • NHL: Playoff hockey!
    • Blue Jackets at Lightning – 7:00PM | USA / Sportsnet360
    • Penguins at Islanders – 7:30PM | NBCSN / CBC
    • Blues at Jets – 8:00PM | Sportsnet / NHLN
    • Stars at Predators – 9:30PM | USA / Sportsnet1
    • Golden Knights at Sharks – 10:30PM | NBCSN / Sportsnet
  • NBA: final night of the regular season
    • Magic at Hornets – 8:00PM | ESPN / TSN3
    • Mavericks at Spurs – 8:00PM | TSN – Dirk Nowitzki’s last game
    • Heat at Nets – 8:00PM | TSN2
    • Thunder at Bucks – 8:00PM | TSN4
    • Kings at Trail Blazers – 10:00PM | TSN
    • Timberwolves at Nuggets – 10:30PM | ESPN / TSN4
    • Jazz at Clippers – 10:30PM | TSN3
  • NCAA:
    • College Baseball:
      • Purdue at Indiana – 7:30PM | FS1

It’s only Game 1 – DON’T GET DRUNK TOO QUICKLY!

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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Wakezilla

Predictions:

Flames in 7. . . Mike Smith is going to cost them games
Vegas in 7. . . Jones has been bad all year
Jets in 7. . . Experience will trump Binnington’s play
Stars in 7. . .Preds aren’t getting the scoring from their defense that they need while Dallas is pretty hot.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised
yeah right

Questionable moustache choices.

Some of my favorite music.

theeWeeBabySeamus

It’s always fun and games until TRex shows up….
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theeWeeBabySeamus

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BrettFavresColonoscopy

Also, re this

I might have once thrown a punch at a family member of his.

Tell us more. Did you land said punch? Were haymakers returned?

yeah right

I once stopped a punch by a family member because I had more success with this really hot girl than he did.

He cried.

Then went to rehab.

yeah right

There may be some time left because Bill Walton is going the full Joe Namath on Ralph Lawler’s 40th and final season as the Clippers announcer right now.

There will be takes.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

What about the Blackhawks?

theeWeeBabySeamus

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Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

Settle down Marchand.

theeWeeBabySeamus

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Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

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theeWeeBabySeamus

tWBS’ internal voice : Don’t say it, don’t say it, DON’T SAY IT!!!!!

theeWeeBabySeamus

Should I say it? Nah, I shouldn’t say it.

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

I mean, you’re going to say it anyway, so go ahead and get it over with.

theeWeeBabySeamus

(msg deleted. Even if I think it’s funny, I should not have said that)

theeWeeBabySeamus

never mind

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

Yeah, shouldn’t have egged you on there.

BrettFavresColonoscopy

I’m going to assume it was a Temptation Island joke

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

Yep.
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theeWeeBabySeamus

Nah you’re good.
Hell, I’ve got photos which would….

Well, I better shut up again.

theeWeeBabySeamus

TB and Pittsburgh both down 0-1. Good.
Winnipeg down 0-1, and San Jose currently up by two goals. Bad.

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

Game 1. You have a least a week before worrying.

theeWeeBabySeamus

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yeah right

It has been a truly weird fucking week but as of right now I feel fucking spectacular.
Fuck yes.

I’ve got another 30 years easy.

Let’s walk tomorrow!

theeWeeBabySeamus

With both nuts….wooooo!!!!!

yeah right

I appreciate your support my brother.

This fucking life man.

theeWeeBabySeamus

Glad it turned out the way it did.
/maybe willing to fondle you

yeah right

Appreciate the offer but you ain’t even hot Asian massage girl “therapist” for my taste.

No offense offered.

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

Cool. I’ve been on the wrong game for all 7 goals in these last 2 games.

I need more TVs.

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

I SAW THAT ONE!

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

True to the Blue! Mariners are going to the playoffs.

Fronkenshteen

I like Robinson Cano too, but fuckleberries, its only April.

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

12s!

Fronkenshteen

AG Barr spouting trump manufactured conspiracy theories ON THE RECORD before congress = trump is going to get away with everything, isn’t he?

Dunstan
Dunstan

Yeah, pretty much. Might cost him re-election, though, if that’s any consolation.

Fronkenshteen

They were smart enough to realize that american governmental justice is so toothless and syrupy slow that they could just overwhelm, while STAFFING, the justice department and the courts with case after case of this cunt hustler flouting the law and fucking decent people over. Brilliant in it’s simplicity. America deserves this Mameluke as its Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Ron Howard Narrator Voice: It won’t.

Fronkenshteen

NY Islanders : 2019 Stanley Cup Champions. Write it in pen.

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

Write in Pens?

Fronkenshteen

LI boys are hungry. Pitt is rich and pissy.

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

OK, got to get ready for work tomorrow:

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

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Dunstan
Dunstan

“Sir, we’re going to have to ask you not to come to Yoga For Moms unless you’re here to participate.”

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

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We need to report this infomercial; WTF?

Dunstan
Dunstan

Not the best Arrogant Worms song, but the most appropriate to the thread:

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

They get points before the start for the band name alone.

WCS

Game One was A LOT of fun. I hope the Pens win this series in five.

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

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Dunstan
Dunstan

Looks like one o’ them hijab things. Alert Fox News! THE INVASION HAS BEGUN!

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

“She’ll never know I was the one who grabbed her cooch.”

-Uncle Ted

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

I don’t really like the Leafs.
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But in this case……

Dunstan
Dunstan

The play-by-play man keeps pronouncing “Bozak” a lot like “Ballsack.”

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

I don’t see any problem here.

Dunstan
Dunstan

Oh, I’m not complaining.

Dunstan
Dunstan

On his sixth shot of the night (impressive!), Ballsack finally slipped one past the goalie.

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

“Ballsack was injured painfully when Moose -The End Is Well Nigh got out of his truck.”

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

“His Native American name is Scrotum.”

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

That is one sentence I would have never thought I’d type. But I’m thinking it will get typed/ said again.

Mr. Ayo
Mr. Ayo

That Ballsack just took down a Jet.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Just like Tailhook ‘92

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

“Huuuuuummmmmmmm…..”

-Senior Weasilo.

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

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

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Unsurprised
Unsurprised

I never knew Alexis Texas was on Adventure Time.

Brick Meathook
Brick Meathook

Since Monday I have:

1) Spent three hours on the phone with Quickbooks support in some third-world country;

2) Spent fours on the phone with Apple support divorcing myself from fucking iCloud and then fixing the travesty known as iTunes and Apples Music;

3) Now I’m installing Windows 10 on a Mac via a Parallels virtual machine;

4) All this while running three NukeX.11 compositing scripts simultaneously.

This is why I collect slide rules and mechanical pencils folks

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ballsofsteelandfury

Congratulations on ditching the Apple dictatorship!

Game Time Decision

iTunes on windows is one of the worst user experiences ever. And I’ve been in IT for over 20 years.
/quietly suppress errors- check
//be rigid in the formats supported- check
/// want to update itself every other day – check

Gratliff

I personally love having to isolate the individual installers to make sure Apple isn’t installing glorified malware

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

I have Windows crap on my pooders and Apple crap on my phones and don’t really have problems, but I’m not a pooder expert so maybe I’m being harmed and don’t know it. I also have a thousand CDs from the olden days so I don’t cloud anything, just rotate the old play list.

Gratliff

I’m a computer expert who takes considerable measures to protect myself from the downsides of tech and I can quite confidently tell you that I’m also being harmed and don’t know it.

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

Those fuckers.

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

I always enjoy it when I go to our IT guy (who is actually quite good/ knowledgeable/ experienced and helpful) with a network/ Windows problem and he says “Yeah, I have never seen that before.”

Gratliff

At least once a week, I’ll see something broken in a completely new and unusual way. It’s literally my favorite part of working in tech.

Gratliff

I haven’t played with Parallels, but if it’s anything like other Mac apps, it won’t work

Brocky

Years later, i still can’t see ben bishop and not think of this:

https://youtu.be/KXCAvF8JsmY

Brocky

Did the not blackhawks win?

Dunstan
Dunstan

NHL Network is driving me nuts with this commercial with this “Be Legendary” song, which sounds like Nickelback but is apparently not. I should probably go sit outside with a drink for a few minutes so I can fast-forward through them.

Gratliff

I wasn’t aware the Capitals moved to Florida

Redshirt

Yes! Reds have a two-game winning…something. Its been so long, I forgot what its called.

litre_cola

THIS IS INTENSE ICE FOOTBAWWWW.

Gratliff

Hulk Hogan outside MetLife Stadium after Kofi wins the WWE Title at #Wrestlemania pic.twitter.com/m8bHq3A6Cb

— The Brewserweight ブリューウェイト (@bfrzach) April 8, 2019

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Brocky

It works on so many levels

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

Just for once I would like my wife to be the one who is wildly and irresponsibly optimistic about the state of our finances, and not me.

scotchnaut

“As far as the state of our finances are concerned, she’s a solid fucking Delaware, smgdh.”

-RTD

Sharkbait

Go Ice Bucs

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

Wait is that Tampa or Milwauee?

Sharkbait

Tampa. ALL OF THE FIRST ROUND PICKS!

BrettFavresColonoscopy

Subtle. I like it.

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

I’m listening to an album called Secaucus by the Wrens. It alternates from being great to being awful, seemingly each song.

scotchnaut

“The Wrens are a sucky band. You know who else blows? The Eagles, A Flock of Seagulls, Black Crowes, The Yardbirds and The Fabulous Thunderbirds!”

-Tippi Hendren

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

[yawns in agreement]

– Jay Cutler

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

If recently-viewed videos are any indication, he’d most likely be chirping incessantly as he gazes out the window wistfully.

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

DEEP CUT!!

King Hippo

I think the goalies should also participate in line changes

King Hippo

perhaps my diminished interest in Ice Footy is based on it being much harder to see the puck as an old

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

HDTV has actually made hockey a lot more enjoyable for me thanks to the puck finally being visible.

Dunstan
Dunstan

My suggestion is not to worry so much about the puck. Most of the time, the puck isn’t doing anything interesting, it’s the players (both with the puck and without) you want to watch. And once you get even a passing familiarity with the game, you’ll be able to figure out where the puck is by the action even if you can’t immediately spot it.

I don’t know about you, but when I watch football, I don’t really focus on the ball all that much. Sure, if OBJ is making a circus catch, enjoy, but usually I’m looking at whether the ball carrier has open ground to run to, or if there’s pressure on the QB, or if a receiver is open. (This is not a brag — I am not a super-sophisticated watcher of football, I do not EAT TAPE and am uncertain who is the primary on Spider Y Banana.)

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

Yeah, that’s all well and good….. until the puck gets rammed up your ass because you were not watching it.

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

*might be thinking of something else.

Dunstan
Dunstan

Ah, I see you’ve been playing Saskatchewan Rules.

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

Hey! The Saskatchewan Peggers are a good team!

litre_cola

GOOOOAALLLLLL. FUCK YEAH!!!

King Hippo

wait, the Ice Blue Bombers are not on at all? Or like NHLN instead of the main channels?

herodotus450
herodotus450

Supposedly on SportsNet, whatever kind of socialist canadian hellscape of a network that is. And NHLN I guess.

herodotus450
herodotus450

If the NHL wants to have female sideline reporters, they should have to give all their reports from the ice, on skates, possibly while play is going on.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

I heartily endorse this idea.

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

This is how all sideline line reporting should be done, no matter who the reporter or what the sport.

Unsurprised
Unsurprised

Also, this.

Gratliff

What is this hockey you speak of?

SonOfSpam

UM SOMEONE FORGOT ABOUT THE WNBA DRAFT!!!!

The Aces pick first. Do they take Jackie Young, Asia Durr, or trade down??? Possibilities abound, and I for one am HERE. FOR. IT.

Question for SoCal folks: What should the Sparks do at #7? I’m thinking height up front, but I guess the right shooter could be a good fit too.

WHAT A DAY!

WCS

Creed’s got your six.
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SonOfSpam

I have a WNBA 10 team fantasy league going, just need 9 other players.

herodotus450
herodotus450

Loving the redesign of creed.creedthougths.com/microsoftword

Rikki-Tikki-Deadly

Asia Durr sounds like the porn name of someone who caters to a very specific pair of fetishes.

Porky Prime
Porky Prime

Heat at Nets is also a last game, Dwyane Wade’s. DAS RAYCESS!!!

King Hippo

Dwayne Wade doesn’t care about black ppl