So while the Edmonton Oilers are a dead corpse floating in the North Saskatchewan River, the Phoenix Coyotes are alive and well, and clearly have the full support of this blog. In other words Oilers fans, I've turned heel. Awooooooooooooo! Let's go desert dogs! Coyote Howl staff playoff pool info, and predictions after the break.
Coyote Howl Staff Playoff Pool
The rules are simple. Each member of the staff had to choose who would win each series. Who ever does the best in each round of the playoffs gets six beers of his choice from each loser. So the winner gets a minimum of 12 beers. If no one wins, the beers are all banked for the next round.
In addition, any staffer who goes under .500 in the first round has to pay up 12 beers instead of six.
Let's get to the meat of it, here are the picks:
The Wild West
#8 Chicago vs #1 Vancouver
Farrel: Vancouver. For me this was an easy choice, The Canucks were by FAR the best team in the regular season and the Blackhawks barely made the playoffs. The Canucks are stronger at every position, this is their year, and more importantly this is the year they get over their Blackhawks playoff woes. Luongo doesn't have that silly captaincy hanging over his head, and Kesler has taken his game to the next level. Also without Ladd and Byfuglien, is the hate even still there for the Canucks? This will be an easy win.
Dan: Chicago. Okay, let me start by saying this has more to do with my hatred for the Canucks than anything else. The Canucks are by far the stronger team skill-wise and physically. Mentally though I'm not convinced. They won't come out and say it but I think this is the last matchup the Canucks wanted. For the Hawks the core that won the Stanley Cup last year is still present. Sure there have been a couple changes but Crawford is just as good as Niemi and Brouwer can do Byfuglien's job in front of the net just fine. The chirping has already begun and I agree with former Canuck Ryan Johnson, the Canucks are not ready to beat the Blackhawks.
#7 Los Angeles vs #2 San Jose
Farrel: San Jose.
Leo: San Jose. No Kopitar, no way the Kings can win. Also, it's nice to see Dustin Penner is playing they way Oilers fans have come to expect him to play.
Dan: San Jose
#6 Phoenix vs #3 Detroit
Farrel: Detroit. I shouldn't need to explain this to anyone, even if you are part of Yotes Nation now. Detroit is better, Detroit will win. How many 20 goal scorers does Phoenix have again?
Dan: Phoenix. Gotta disagree with both of you boys, and it's not just because I chose to re-brand the site. I don't believe the Wings are 100%. Jimmy Howard got hurt recently against Toronto, he will probably play but who knows how good he will be. Also Henrik Zetterberg is hurt. The Coyotes have a strong over all team that plays hard every night for their coach, who I do believe is stronger than Babcock, in Dave Tippet. Bryzgalov has a real chance to prove he is the best player in this series, and let's not forget this is a contract year for him.
#5 Nashville vs #4 Anaheim
Dan: Anaheim. The Duck's top line is the best line in hockey right now. This is a classic D vs O matchup and I think the Ducks O is too much to handle. Even if the Preds can somehow stop the trio of Ryan, Perry, and Getzlaf, The Finish Flash is just itching to take center stage and score more big goals. If the Ducks get even half decent goaltending from Ellis/Emery/Hiller this will be an easy series. Mark my word, The Nashville Predators will not be one of #DanEllisProblems.
The Wild East
#8 New York vs #1 Washington
Leo: Washington. Another easy decision. This series has sweep potential written all over it. The Rangers are not a good team.
Dan: Washington. Okay settle down, I'm picking the Caps but I'll defend the Rangers for a second. Henrik Lundqvist is good enough to steal a game or two. I'm also not 100% sold on the Capital's goaltending, after all, the Rangers did finish the season with a stronger goal differential that the Capitals. But yeah, this is the Cap's series to lose.
#7 Buffalo vs #2 Philadelphia
Leo: Philadelphia. This Flyers team had one goal going into this season, and it was to win the Stanley Cup. They might be the deepest team in the playoffs this season. Versteeg was a great addition. Their one weakness might be in net, but tell that to Michael Leighton, and by the way, Bobrovsky is better. Also who is going to score for the Sabres?
Dan: Philadelphia. The tiny twins of Gerbe and Ennis are going to get beat up by the Broad Street Bullies.
#6 Montreal vs #3 Boston
Farrel: Boston. Another easy choice, not only are the Bruins a better team, they got emensly better around the Trade Deadline when they picked up Tomas Kaberle. Between Horton, Lucic and Chara, the Bruins are going to punish the Canadiens both physically, and on the scoresheet. Have you been waiting for PK Subban and Carey Price to show signs of struggle this season? Well you won't have to wait much longer.
Dan: Montreal. I still believe The Bell Centre is one of the toughest buildings in the league to play in, especially for a Boston Bruin. Carey Price has made the Hab's faithful forget about Jaro Halak. Cammalleri will be just as good as he was last year. For me the Canadien's success depends on Scott Gomez, he has got to up his game, and clearly based on my selection, I think he will.
#5 Tampa Bay vs #4 Pittsburgh
Farrel: Tampa Bay.
Leo: Tampa Bay. Dwayne Roloson and Marc-Andre Bergeron? I've seen that script before and it goes all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals! Stamkos and St. Louis are unstoppable and the addition of Eric Brewer has made their defence a very tough group to play against. Jordan Staal can't carry the load by himself.
Dan: Pittsburgh. Without Crosby and Malkin in the lineup the Lightning will be taking this Penguins team for granted and that is a huge mistake. After watching 24/7 everyone knows Dan Bylsma is one of the best coaches in the league and while Jordan Staal is no Crosby, he is a great two-way center. Dwayne Roloson is old and has been inconsistant all year, on the flip side after a shaky start, Marc-Andre Fleury has been fantastic, he will win this series for the Penguins. Also, he is by far the best Marc-Andre in the series.
|Who is going to win?|
Way to go out on a limb there Farrel and Leo. My prediction is you guys are squids, and I'm not going to have to pay for a beer all summer! Thoughts? Predictions? Leave a comment, send me an e-mail: email@example.com or follow me on Twitter: @TheRealDanMoser.
A more comprehensive Coyotes vs Red Wings preview is coming up, in the mean time stay strong Yotes Nation. Awooooooooooo!