Oh golly I love this time of year. Playoffs are just starting and I get the chance to indulge myself by abusing my lofty editorially unrestricted position at THN through my annual (once qualifies as “annual”) Stanley Cup predictions.
Then, of course, some of you (uncultured, yet incredibly endearing) readers will be eager to share your opinions/displeasure by chastising and ridiculing my thoughts and words in those handy message boards we’ve provided - which is then followed by me directing you to the word “satire” in the dictionary, at which point you lovingly threaten to firebomb my house, after which I file an all-encompassing restraining order.
Eventually we both agree to drop all hostilities and (most) charges and we end up just sitting around the old wood stove calling each other all sorts of names and wondering who would burn faster if one of us were to catch on fire.
Then the game comes on and we forget what we were even fighting about in the first place.
I know in reality most of you have no interest in knowing how I think the playoffs will play out, so I’m suggesting now would be a great time to stop reading and save yourself all sorts of hardship and aggravation...
But, of course, you’re still with us. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)
San Jose vs. Anaheim
It’s Silicon Valley versus Silicone Valley. Anaheim has a much better chance than you might think since Ducks can bite, but Sharks can’t fly (adaptability). Still, the Sharks ruled the roost this year and the Ducks will be hard-pressed (cold-pressed?) to compete with such a vicious sea-faring (yet endangered) predator.
What the Sharks need to do to win: Pretend it’s November and the games don’t mean anything except in inflating meaningless regular season records.
What the Ducks need to do to win: Get Roy Scheider on staff.
Interesting footnote: Some people are calling this ‘The Subway Series.’ Of course, those people aren’t particularly good with geography (or sharp utensils).
Who Will Win? San Jose in six. Or Anaheim in five. California will advance. Bank on that.
Detroit vs. Columbus
The defending champion against a town named after the guy who discovered America by pure coincidence (he was looking for a restroom with great ventilation). On paper Detroit should win this easily, but, of course, they don’t play on paper (yet, but the economy being what it is in the Motor City...). It’s The Red Wings against The Blue Jackets. Sounds like outtakes from West Side Story.
What the Red Wings need to do to win: Outscore their opponent.
What the Blue Jackets need to do to win: Prevent the above.
Interesting footnote: Columbus has never lost a playoff game.
Who Will Win? Columbus in five. The Red Wings’ team bus is powered by General Motors (with a Ford braking system).
Vancouver vs. St. Louis
The Blues haven’t been to the playoffs since the last time they were in. Vancouver has the best goalie in hockey on any team with an orca as its logo. Plus they have great skiing nearby. St. Louis? Nothing but cornfields.
What the Canucks need to do to win: Mark my words, if Bernie Federko becomes a factor in this series, the Canucks are sunk.
What the Blues need to do to win: Spread false reports about an oil spill in Vancouver harbor and declare three baby seals are in dire jeopardy. In three minutes flat GM Place is empty. Bye-bye home ice advantage.
Interesting footnote: Pavol Demitra used to play for St. Louis and, rumour has it, can easily be paid to take a fall.
Who Will Win? Vancouver in 6. The Blues have 12 Canadians and only one Swede. What is this, 2007?
Calgary vs. Chicago
Cosmopolitan versus Cowsmopolitan. Chicago has a very skilled, young and eager squad. Calgary is less skilled, not as young, but twice as eager. They both wear red, so someone will have to bring an extra set of jerseys.
What the Flames need to do to win: The Flames are so injured even the guy I phoned to get a team injury update is injured. So, as I was saying, the key is to shoot more.
What the Blackhawks need to do to win: Without a doubt Jonathan Toews can carry this team. Have you seen what that guy can bench press?
Interesting footnote: Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin beat the Flames in the 2004 Stanley Cup final while playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning so you know that’s got to be irritating to hear all the time in the Blackhawks’ dressing room.
Who Will Win? Chicago in 4. Even the Calgary scorekeeper is injured and the guy from Chicago is working the clock at the Saddledome as well. So, naturally…
Boston vs. Montreal
The Haves versus the Hab Nots. Montreal comes into this series as the prohibitive underdogs and there seems no logical way the Bruins could possibly lose such a seemingly lopsided series, right? Grief counsellors are standing by.
What the Bruins need to do to win: To start with, I’d recommend some sort of exorcism.
What the Canadiens need to do to win: Scented candles. Prayer beads. Climbing gear to scale Mount Chara.
Interesting footnote: This is the first time these expansion franchises have ever met in the playoffs (a guy in Utah just bought that one).
Who Will Win? Boston in 2.
Washington vs. New York Rangers
This is the talk of both towns. The Washington Post has a two-paragraph story about the series on page 48 under that Hyundai ad and The New York Times proclaims this as “the third best thing to do if you can’t get Mets tickets and need something with ample legroom.” Bette Midler is stoked.
What the Capitals need to do to win: Only a dolphin has more trouble with a net than the Capitals do. Washington has to keep the shots on goal less than one a game and hope for the best in overtime.
What the Rangers need to do to win: Even though they’re the lower seed, Sean Avery gives New York the home ass advantage.
Interesting footnote: Washington is the capital of the United States, yet New York City, with a population of 8.3 million, isn’t even the capital of New York State, which has us thinking either The Big Apple is just a Big Wuss or Albany is tougher than it looks.
Who Will Win? Washington in 5. The Capitals would have a greater challenge taking on the cast of Mamma Mia.
New Jersey vs. Carolina
This matchup is pretty much a wash except for the fact the Hurricanes have more normal sized people on their roster than the Hobbit-filled Devils.
What the Devils need to do to win: Summon the awesome powers of their Great Evil Overlord through an ancient pagan ritual involving the sacrifice of at least 12 virgins and four (five is better) male goats. Or just play good team defense.
What the Hurricanes need to do to win: Cam Ward would do well to verbally intimidate Martin Brodeur. Suggested banter: “Hands up anyone here who owns a Conn Smythe trophy. Hands? Anyone?”
Interesting footnote: Between them, the two teams have a combined 185 Stanley Cup rings and one serious kleptomaniac on their rosters. I’m guessing it’s Joe Corvo.
Who Will Win? New Jersey in 7. The series going the distance means Carolina will have to make it from the team bus to their dressing room four times. And in that neighbourhood? As if.
Pittsburgh vs. Philadelphia
It’s the battle of the Quaker State. The winner gets Pennsylvania. The loser gets Pennsylvania.
What the Penguins need to do to win: Pittsburgh will have to protect its star players to advance. If intimidated by the Flyers, Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will turn into the eighth and ninth dwarves, Hidey and Whiney.
What the Flyers need to do to win: They’ve had all sorts of trouble getting consistent goaltending, so, when in doubt, go with the veteran. Bernie Parent starts.
Interesting footnote: Someone named Dave or Don coaches the Penguins. The Flyers are coached by Steven Johns, or Jobs. Well, it’s Jim something.
Who Will Win? Philadelphia in 6. The Flyers have depth and grit. The Penguins have flair and creativity. Basically it’s a router versus a hair brush. Router wins.
The preceding was purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laughed while reading it, framing it, or burning it. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre cartoon, brings you Loose Change every second Tuesday through to June 22 and then will go on summer hiatus. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org