Damn you Dwayne Roloson! A shutout by the ageless one in game seven was the only thing keeping me from going 8-0 in round one. Oh well I’ll take 7-1 anytime. The first round may go down as one of the best in NHL history and it would be tough to disagree with that assessment. Overtime game after overtime game, and enough drama to satisfy the cast of Glee! We can only hope that the second round is just as good and I think we should be in for a treat again!
Vancouver Canucks (1) vs. Nashville Predators (5)
That was the biggest goal that Alex Burrows has ever scored in game seven since his days with the Montreal Red Light (look it up) with his goal the Canucks barely escaped with their lives. The Nashville Predators also managed to break on through to the other side thanks in large part to Jordan Tootoo and his emergence as a playoff performer. The Canucks have some serious questions in net with Roberto Luongo despite his gutty performance in game 7 and I have to give the Preds and Pekka Rinne the edge in net. Up front and on the blue line it’s tough for anyone to match up with Vancouver. I really think Nashville is going to catch the Canucks off guard in game 1 and possibly steal that game, but in the end Vancouver has the depth that Nashville won’t be able to handle.
Canucks in 6
San Jose Sharks (2) vs Detroit Red Wings (3)
Ho hum just another Detroit and San Jose match up. The Wings made short work of Phoenix in four straight, while the San Jose Sharks barely hung on to avoid being shocked by the LA Kings. Starting in net these teams match up evenly Howard and Niemi are pretty much a wash. Up front San Jose can come at you in waves and have more depth than even the Wings do. On the back end Detroit has the edge. Anyone with Nicklas Lidstrom always has an edge on the blue line! I’ve waffled a couple times on this series and want to lean towards the Sharks but I just don’t trust that team. I’ll take the Wings in a bit of an upset.
Detroit in 7
Washington Capitals (1) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (5)
The Capitals finally got some stable goaltending and were able to dispatch the Rangers in short order, while the Tampa Bay Lightning barely got by the Penguins in seven. I’m going to give the edge to the Lightning in net but that is it in this series. While the Penguins were missing Crosby and Malkin the Capitals look to be in good shape and Tampa will have all they can handle across the board. I don’t see a scenario where Tampa wins unless the Caps goaltending collapses which I don’t think happens yet.
Washington in 5
Philadelphia Flyers (2) vs Boston Bruins (3)
Two of the better first round series’ happened with the Flyers getting by Buffalo in seven while the Bruins got a Nathan Horton game seven OT winner to beat the Canadiens in quite possible the best first round series ever. In net there is no question that the Bruins have the edge with Tim (yes I still have a goalie crush on him) Thomas ahead of anyone the Flyers throw between the pipes. Up front Philly has a clear edge in talent, on the back end it is very close. A key could be how healthy Chris Pronger is because you know the Bruin forwards are going to be taking runs at him every chance they get. Zdeno Chara will be a rock for the Bruins as well so call it a wash. I’m not sure how the Bruins are going to score enough but I think they will just squeak through.
Boston in 7
Quick update on the Winnipeg relocation story. The media will be going crazy over the next few days with all the talk surrounding both the Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers. There is the potential of a lawsuit coming the way of the Coyotes which may hold their situation up for a year. However there is growing talk that the Atlanta Thrashers are pretty much sold to the Winnipeg group True North Sports and Entertainment. I don’t believe that is a done deal yet but is looking increasingly possible.
The easiest way I think I can explain it is as follows…
Winnipeg is getting their team for next year.
The NHL will do everything possible to keep the Coyotes in Glendale. A legal battle could determine their fate.
Once that is decided then either the Coyotes or Thrashers will be relocated to Winnipeg.
If it’s the Coyotes moving (which I’m now leaning against happening but still possible) then Quebec City could be tapped as a emergency landing spot for the Thrashers.
“The Balkan” is a desperate attempt to get twitter hits by a certain reporter in Atlanta. Don’t believe it.
If I had to guess what will happen in the end I think the Thrashers go to Winnipeg. $45M or so of the relocation fee will be used to lower the purchase price of the Coyotes. Along with the $25M that the City of Glendale owes the NHL it could lower the price enough to avoid using bonds or to lower the bonds needed in half. The CoG and NHL may be willing to take on Goldwater in the courts. If they do then the future of the Coyotes will hinge on that legal action. If the NHL loses they may be forced to relocate the following season. Quebec City is not quite on the NHL radar yet until they start building the new facility. But could be an emergency landing pad if things go south in both cities.
Have a good one!
Follow me on twitter! @shanehoopfer
About the Author
Written by Shane Hoopfer
Die hard Flames fan since 1980, and a closet baseball junkie. Also a big Dolphins, and Stampeders fan!