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NHL Playoffs 2012 Options
HWNN1961
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2012 9:08:06 PM
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It's that time of year again. Game on! The NHL's annual Quest for the Stanley Cup is set to begin. Like last year, I'm going to stick my neck out and make some predictions. Anyone with any thoughts about their favorite team and their predictions is welcome to comment.

Personally, this season was disappointing in the extreme for my Buffalo Sabres. With new ownership and several free agent additions, the blades seemed poised to cut a swath deep into the postseason. They started well enough, but, after Milan Lucic of the Bruins did his best impression of a runaway freight train on goalie Ryan Miller, the team folded like a house of straw. They awoke and made a feverish run to make the postseason, only to fall short. Needless to say, changes should be coming.

Well, on to those that were sharp enough, tough enough, and committed enough to persevere and make the final 16:

Eastern Conference:

Rangers v. Senators: Rangers.

Bruins v. Capitals: Bruins. Washington with Ovechkin is always dangerous, but the champs won't bow.

Panthers v. Devils: Panthers.

Penguins v. Flyers: Penguins. This will be a rough series, but Philly can't deny Crosby and Malkin.


Western Conference:

Vancouver v. Kings. Vancouver. They are on a mission after the sting of coming so close.

St. Louis v. Sharks. St. Louis.

Phoenix v. Chicago. Chicago.

Nashville v. Detroit. Detroit. Best run franchise in the league.



I'll pick the subsequent rounds as they come up. When the dust settles, I think Vancouver takes the cup.

Epiphileon
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 4:46:24 AM

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Is it just me, or does anyone else see something inherently weird about Phoenix having a hockey team? Reminds me of the famous Jamaican bobsled team.
mailady
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 7:11:55 AM
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Go Boston!!
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 10:55:26 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:
Is it just me, or does anyone else see something inherently weird about Phoenix having a hockey team? Reminds me of the famous Jamaican bobsled team.


Well, they play ice hockey in Mexico (II division, B group, in WC), South Africa, even in Kuwait and Bahrain ;-)
Shironeko
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 11:20:08 AM
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I seriously hope you're right, HWNN! Well, imho it'll be awesome if the kings and sharks don't make it into the next round -Ducks fan here. And even more so if the Canucks get to defeat the Bruins on the finals, so my friends in Vancouver can forget about having allowed the cup to slip through their fingers last year! :3
guitar53
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 12:52:48 PM

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Phoenix hockey... Ft. Lauderdale hockey... Panthers, what a great season, when haveing the advantage of a 5 on 3 power play, at least this year they didn't get scored on. They're a heck of a lot better than last year. I got tickets to the devils series, Hockey playoffs... great stuff.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 3:05:42 PM

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Less than a month and the IHWC in Finland will begin in Helsinki and Stockholm 4 May.
The host country hasn't won for decades, let's see if Lions can do it this time.

http://www.iihf.com/channels-12/iihf-world-championship-wc12/home.html
dingdong
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 7:10:24 AM
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But will it be as thrilling as the 1985 Motherwell and District blouse-throwing tournament?
Tension, drama, gripping action, thrills and spills. It had it all.
NHL? Tame.
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 9:54:12 AM

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dingdong wrote:
But will it be as thrilling as the 1985 Motherwell and District blouse-throwing tournament?
Tension, drama, gripping action, thrills and spills. It had it all.
NHL? Tame.


Are the blouses thrown while still being worn, or not?
dingdong
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:17:32 AM
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No, no, no. The blouse is removed, and tossed. To get distance is the aim, similar to caber tossing.
HWNN1961
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:46:49 AM
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Jyrkkä Jätkä wrote:
Less than a month and the IHWC in Finland will begin in Helsinki and Stockholm 4 May.
The host country hasn't won for decades, let's see if Lions can do it this time.

http://www.iihf.com/channels-12/iihf-world-championship-wc12/home.html



J.J. At least one (Nathan Gerbe) has been selected from my roster of the Buffalo Sabres. I believe he's going on the USA team. Hope for a great competition!
HWNN1961
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:49:01 AM
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@Ding Dong:

In the NHL there is plenty of "blouse throwing"...though they call this particular article of clothing a sweater...

The goal is not to see how far you can toss the sweater, but, rather to lift it over your opponent's head during a skirmish and pound the life out of him while he is handcuffed and blinded...

Not my favorite part of the NHL game, but, some seem to enjoy it in the way that many NASCAR fans go to events hoping for a crash...
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 4:22:29 PM

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This is my favourite hockey team.

Sorry the sound is in Italian, I couldn't quickly find the English version.
thar
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 4:46:58 PM

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not at all stereotyping...Whistle

what, you play INDOORS?

Nike ad Icelandic Ice Hockey Team

Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 5:22:47 PM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
This is my favourite hockey team.

Sorry the sound is in Italian, I couldn't quickly find the English version.


That wasn't from the last Summer Olympics, I presume?
Fine clip, thanks.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 5:32:40 PM

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Just a warm-up reminder from the IHWC 2011, semi-final Finland - Russia
(and a little bit of Finnish ;-)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqRyUSw6WjY&feature=related
dingdong
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012 1:47:01 AM
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HWNN1961 wrote:
@Ding Dong:

In the NHL there is plenty of "blouse throwing"...though they call this particular article of clothing a sweater...

The goal is not to see how far you can toss the sweater, but, rather to lift it over your opponent's head during a skirmish and pound the life out of him while he is handcuffed and blinded...

Not my favorite part of the NHL game, but, some seem to enjoy it in the way that many NASCAR fans go to events hoping for a crash...


There was a news report on Aljazeera recently about the governing body outlawing the 'head bashing' They had ex-players being interviewed who'd go out shopping, and forget why they went out.

I can't keep track of a game. The puck moves too fast. Blouse throwing's more fun, IMO.
HWNN1961
Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012 4:38:27 PM
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The most dangerous score in a professional hockey game is 3-0. Especially in the first period.

For the winning team: if they score the next goal, it's 4-0 and the lead is nearly insurmountable.
For the losing team: score the next goal, and suddenly it's 3-1 and you have plenty of time.

With a 2-0 lead, most teams don't get comfortable if it is still early in the game. At 3-0, they tell themselves not to be comfortable, but, that concept doesn't translate into the adrenalin, that sense of urgency, the focus and desperation that the team with the lead needs to keep.

After all, it was that keen edge that got them out front in the first place. But, often they cannot help but relent.

The reality is, that in a three or four minute flurry of action, you can surrender a couple of quick goals and find yourself clinging to a 3-2 lead. Now the other team smells blood, you are back on your heels, the ice tilted toward your end.

Once the momentum is surrendered, there is no guarantee you can take that initiative back from the other team which is suddenly risen from the dead.

Just ask the Pittsburgh Penguins. After one period, they lead 3-0 over the Flyers.

They lost in OT, 4-3.

HWNN1961
Posted: Friday, April 13, 2012 8:24:38 PM
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Game one of the Bruins-Capitals series was a classic:

0-0 after regulation. There was no lack of scoring chances. Both goalies were sharp. There were great offensive flurries, especially for the Bruins in the second, and the Caps in the third.

Then the most exciting phase of any hockey game: sudden death overtime. The end came quickly as the Bruins scored the game's only goal only a few minutes into the first OT.

This promises to be a great series, if the Caps can stand up to Boston's punishing physical play.
HWNN1961
Posted: Sunday, April 15, 2012 10:40:03 PM
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This has been a very bad weekend for an exciting, but extremely flawed sport.

I have lost track of the number of runs, hits, sucker-punches, hits on goalies or defenseless players exhibited in the spate of games played in the NHL playoff this weekend.

There has to be a standard of conduct, there has to be discipline. Otherwise it's two rival gangs armed with sticks out to kill each other.


I compare this situation unfavorably to the NFL: guys line up across from each other on the D line v. the O-line and vice versa in any game at least 100 times. It get's nasty in the trenches. You line up against the same ba@@ard over and over. It's intense.

BUT:

If you fight, cause mahyem, you are out of the game. Period. The ref blows the whistle points to the tunnel, and your undisicplined ass is done.

So, fighting is rare in the NFL.

In pee-wee hockey, in high school, in juniors, in college, fights are dealt with severely. The NHL is the only sport that gives a guy 5 minutes for essentially putting a mafia hit on an opponent. The NHL version of the game will not be taken seriously until it takes itself seriously and eliminates this crap. Those that don't like it can go watch the roller derby or wait for crashes on NASCAR.
chopperpilot01
Posted: Monday, April 16, 2012 11:42:10 AM
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I wish the Carolina Hurricanes were in but they had an unfortunate season. However, The Detroit Red Wings do have the most cups in the league. I say they will take it home again.
HWNN1961
Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2012 2:46:38 PM
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A few observations as some round 1 series end, and others reach their climax:

1. R.I.P. Detroit. They deserved a better fate. In a couple of those losses they dominated everywhere except on the scoreboard. I'm not saying that they should have won the series, just that it ought to still be in progress.

2. Pittsburgh woke up. This series had been highly anticipated and looked like a laugher after Philly rolled to a 3-0 lead. Suddenly, it's 3-2, and there may be a few Broad Street Bullies gripping their sticks a tad too tightly all of a sudden!

3. Same series: Penguins-Flyers. The first four games set goaltending and defense back to the stone ages! For a time it seemed more like basketball than hockey. The last game, a 3-2 Pitt decision, was more like it.

4. "Armed and Dangerous": There hasn't been such a spate of cheap shots, intents to injure, decapitate, or otherwise mug opponents to this degree in a long time. I still don't understand. In the NFL, the same DL lines up against the same OL over, and over, and over again...they hold their blocks for extended times, especially in short yardage and in broken plays. Tempers flare, guys learn to hate the man they line up across. They insult, threaten, and try to pancake the opponent over and over...

But: if they fight, or do something clearly intended to injure (like Detroit's Suh making a pound of Aunt Jane's Nut Butter and getting ejected for it) they are gone. They know it, so it doesn't happen.

If the NHL wanted this crap to stop, they could send the message: high stick, gone, run from behind, gone, run the goalie, gone, fight gone. It would take about 2 games.
excaelis
Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2012 3:43:41 PM

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Torres got twenty five games. Looks good on the little creep.
HWNN1961
Posted: Saturday, April 21, 2012 9:10:38 PM
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excaelis wrote:
Torres got twenty five games. Looks good on the little creep.



Yep. That was a good decision. Too many good players are having their careers risked. I hope the message is taken.

Hockey, especially playoff hockey, is the fastest, most exciting sport there is. I like hard checks, physical play, but leave off the aim to kill stuff.

I bet the rest of the playoff is better for Torres' punishment.
HWNN1961
Posted: Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:33:08 PM
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R.I.P. Vancouver, how the mighty have fallen...and Boston facing a do-or-die game 7 v. the Caps.
GabhSigenod
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 8:53:50 AM

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Here we go again.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 5:30:54 PM

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The first ever (as far as I know) picture of ice hockey players is a painting of Pieter Brueghel,
"Hunters in the Snow", 16th century.



[image not available]

HWNN1961
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 10:26:40 PM
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Another one bites the dust:

R.I.P. Boston Bruins...

So, both finalists from last year didn't survive the first round. It makes for a wide-open tournament for the teams that remain. It should be fun!
HWNN1961
Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 11:42:29 PM
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Well, the grading is in...

I made a conscious decision to make "status quo" picks in the first round....and, this was about as revolutionary a first round as the NHL has had in recent years.

Yes, Virginia, the hockey gods got their best shots in and proceeded to beat my selections about the head and chest until uncrecognizable....

The acronym that applies is FUBAR.

Anyway...ahem, gulp...2 for 8. 25%. Wow, in a future life, if my karma perfects me, mayhap I'll aspire to 50%...the same accuracy as flipping a coin!

Well, at least the matchups will be fun.

I'll take a stab at the second round outcomes tomorrow. But, for now, I have to say that the Flyers and the Kings look good for Cup finalists.
HWNN1961
Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012 4:38:40 PM
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Fantastic game last night between the Rangers and the Caps:

It had everything you could want: great scoring chances, goaltending, hits, mad scrambles in the goal crease, pucks carooming off of posts and crossbars.

I probably thought the game was coming to an end at least a dozen times as it went deeper and deeper into overtime.

Finally, at about 11:15 PM Eastern, I had to call it a night deep into the second OT.

About 1/2 way through the third OT period, the Rangers' Marian Gaborik finally netted the winner.


It will be interesting to see if the Caps can bounce back and tie the series up again at 2 games apiece. Obviously, the next game, is a must win for Washington.

....I'm glad that I'm not an avid fan of either team, that is the sort of tension that can give you grey hair!
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2012 4:51:36 PM

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The World Champs will begin in Friday.
HWNN1961
Posted: Friday, May 4, 2012 6:32:20 PM
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J.J. I see Team Finland has resumed their winning ways starting with a shutout over Belarus. Great start to they tourney!
HWNN1961
Posted: Saturday, May 5, 2012 3:07:46 PM
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USA def. arch-nemesis Canada in OT 5-4. USA!
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Sunday, May 6, 2012 10:41:36 AM

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This official YouTube channel showing all IHWC games is freely accessed in many countries:

http://www.youtube.com/icehockey
HWNN1961
Posted: Monday, May 7, 2012 4:52:59 PM
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Finland doing it with classic style: two shutouts in a row.

In the meantime, the USA succumbs to the classic "trap" game v. the Slovaks. I was afraid of this match. Slovakia is always competitive, and they had lost their first two games. The USA was sky-high after their upset victory over the stronger Canadians. So, naturally, their heads in the clouds, they tripped over the Slovaks!
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