I don’t do college basketball, though I paid more attention to it this year than I have before. I’m a hockey guy, and even though the cable deal the league got with OLN assured me of rarely getting to watch the game on TV, I paid attention this season. Now it’s playoff time, and it’s time for my predictions:
In the East:
Rangers/Devils: I don’t like either team, but I REALLY don’t like Jersey. I’d love to pick New York, but I don’t see the Devils dropping this one. My pick: Jersey in six.
Lightning/Senators: Tampa is starting off on the road, and they are expected to lose to the Sens. If I were a gambling man, I’d take the Lightning just because of the odds, but I wouldn’t spend much. My pick: Ottawa in five.
Hurricanes/Canadiens: This is the series everyone is looking forward to — high-speed hockey. I think that every game will be high-scoring, but in the end, there can only be one. My pick: Carolina in 7.
Sabres/Flyers: My sister is a Flyers fan, even though she lives in Tampa now. That makes me really want the Flyers to win. But she’s had a good run in fantasy hockey this year — she won the BHL championship, and smoked me the last time we played — so she can handle a little disappointment. My pick: Buffalo in six.
In the West:
Red Wings/Oilers: This one’s almost a gimmie. The Wings are the most consistent team in the NHL right now, while Edmondton is streaky. The Wings can win on the road. And I don’t care what ESPN says, the Legace/Osgood goalie tandem is great. Yzerman is hot right now. My pick: Detroit in five, maybe four.
Stars/Avalanche: Dallas has the advantage in goal with Marty Turco, Mike Modano is on a roll, and they’re probably the easiest team to underestimate in the NHL. I like Colorado, but … My pick: Dallas in five.
Mighty Ducks/Flames: If you’re looking for an upset, this is the place to do it. The Ducks have been steadily improving in the latter half of the season, Teemu Selanne is healthy this year, and they’ve got a bumper crop of rookie talent. The big question is whether they can beat Kiprusof, who has been key in the goal for Calgary. My pick: Anaheim in seven, in a close one.
Sharks/Predators: The Predators are the favorite in this one, but they’re hurting. Vokoun is missing in the net, Zidlicky and Sullivan are missing and presumed gone for the season. They DO have a rapidly improving replacement goalie in Chris Mason, but is that going to be enough against Joe Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo? I’m not so sure… My pick: San Jose in six, maybe seven.
So there you have it. Argue away — after all, if I knew it all, my sister wouldn’t have smoked me a few weeks back, and my team would have been better than fifth in the BHL this season.