Look Out World
by Deb Beckers
Grapes is expanding his reach (see below), people are shuffling off to Siberia, my picks at the beginning of the season didn’t suck and there is some kind of playoff happening in some league...
Other Hockey News
US gets its Cherry Popped
States meet Grapes, Grapes; try not to embarrass us too badly okay?
Don Cherry has been a hockey icon in Canada, with his rants on Coach’s Corner every Saturday night for as long as I can remember (and my long term memory rocks). Grapes is a former NHL player (one game) and Boston Bruins coach during the fabled “lunch-pail gang” era. He never won the cup, but the Bruins did make it to the finals twice during his tenure – losing to the Canadiens.
He’s going to be bringing his particular brand of straight talking and fashion to NBC coverage of the NHL playoffs. It’s going to be very interesting to see the US fans take on him. His take on himself...
In the States, they wanted me to go on one time in Pittsburgh. Jaromir Jagr, it was when he had long hair and he was with Mario Lemieux and I said, 'There's Mario and his daughter.' It didn't go over too good. That was my last time in the States.
Just think of him as Terry Bradshaw for the hockey set.
When we get to dear Siberia...
Phoenix’s assistant head coach, Barry Smith, announced this week that he was stepping down and is taking a head coaching position with the Russian Elite league.
He’s 55 and is facing the truth that he’s probably never going to get a shot at the head coach position at the national level (he’s coached at collegiate and European levels).
Either that or they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
Deb doesn’t suck (no matter WHAT it says on the bathroom wall)
So back when I was young and not as jaded by this season of hockey, I wrote a column espousing the virtues (or non-virtues) of 12 teams. Let’s see how I did...
Top 4 Picks:
Carolina Hurricanes: Finished 11th (East – out of the playoffs) – very wrong on this one!
Ottawa Senators: Finished 4th (East)
Detroit Red Wings: Finished 1st (West)
Calgary Flames: Finished 8th (West)
Teams to Watch
Buffalo: Finished 1st (East)
Atlanta: Finished 3rd (East)
San Jose: Finished 5th (West)
Anaheim: Finished 2nd (West)
Ones that Suck the Fad Lad
Toronto: Finished 9th (East – out of the playoffs)
Montréal: Finished 10th (East – out of the playoffs)
Colorado: Finished 9th (West – out of the playoffs)
Edmonton: Finished 12th (West – out of the playoffs)
So I’m not as bad as I thought I was =)
Onwards. To what you’ve all been waiting for...
Eastern Conference Playoffs
No. 1 Buffalo vs. No. 8 N.Y. Islanders
Buffalo has to be the favourite, they not only had the best record in the league this season, but they are all healthy and ready to bring the cup home. They’re still hungry after coming so close to the finals (one game) last year.
As for the Isles... Well Miracles do happen, even with Yashin on the team. Dubie is their starter, although I did hear a rumor that DiPietro skated a couple of days ago, so that’s good news for him – Dubie’s got to be their go-to-guy though, even if he has only 17 NHL games in three seasons... Believe in Miracles? Not this time.
No. 2 New Jersey vs. No. 7 Tampa Bay
Firing their coach with three games left in the regular season sure didn’t slow the Devils down, but they need to bring their “A” game if they want to beat the upstart Lightning, who have outscored them this season. Plus they have Wins and Shut-outs leader Martin Brodeur in net.
The Achilles heel for Tampa is in goal. Do you put in swiss cheese or string cheese? If you’re the Lightning you go out and get new farmer cheese and see how that works.
Great, now I’m hungry.
No. 3 Atlanta vs. No. 6 N.Y. Rangers
Hey look boys! A virgin. That’s right children, it’s Atlanta’s first time in the playoffs. Will the Rangers be man enough to take them down. Size wise it’s a pretty good match-up, but the Rangers have the star and goal power with Shannahan and Jagr.
No. 4 Ottawa vs. No. 5 Pittsburgh
This is going to be a great series to watch, not just because I’m a HUGE Ottawa Senator’s fan. Pittsburgh has Crosby (season points leader with 120) and a young hungry team and Ottawa has a solid, methodical team with a crazy ass goalie – who WILL take you out if you mess with him.
Good times, good times.
Western Conference Playoffs
No. 1 Detroit vs. No. 8 Calgary
I love Detroit, I tolerate Calgary. Maybe it’s the Ontarian in me, but I just can’t see Calgary getting away with this one. They really don’t have the drive that they did in previous years. The only things I don’t like about Detroit are 1) Shanny isn’t there anymore; and 2) I fekking HATE Hasek. The fire of a thousand suns does not even BEGIN to describe my hatred. He’s a good goalie, don’t get me wrong (2nd overall in shutouts) – it’s just that he’s left teams I was rooting for high and dry with his prima dona actions. So I’m torn.
No. 2 Anaheim vs. No. 7 Minnesota
I’m going to pick Minnesota just to piss Turtle off. Actually the Wild had a very good season and have an amazing goalie in Nicklas Backstrom (#1 in Save % and GAA) – that will be their saving grace. A good goalie is golden. The Ducks outstanding power play and defensive special teams will make it a tough go though. This is going to be another interesting one to watch.
No. 3 Vancouver vs. No. 6 Dallas
Yeah – historically they both suck in the playoffs, but Vancouver is due for strong goalie performance for at least ONE of its playoff runs and I’m betting that this season is it, or next season...
No. 4 Nashville vs. No. 5 San Jose
My love for Joe Thorton (#2 in points with 114, #1 in assists) knows no bounds. I have his Team Canada sweater =)
Plus Forsberg is on Nashville and I just can’t get over his hissy fit in Philly.
Any other thoughts? Picks? What are you having for dinner?
Deb IS ready to rumble, and not just in her tummy either.