Sunday, May 17, 2009

Final Four- Analysis/Predictions- Repeat of Last Year?

1) So we're down to 4 teams. Firstly a congratulations to the teams getting this far. Its not easy winning in the playoffs as 12 teams have painfully discovered the past month. We will break down each series and make our predictions as well as mention whom we see as the possible players to make a difference. To review we were 3 of 4 last round. Losing only the Bruins-Canes series. Even here we saw a 7 game series outcome and we weren't disappointed with that aspect of our pick.

2) We were also thinking of doing a separate post on the ramifications of the final 4 coaches. Three of the four did NOT start the season with their teams. Therefore we can foresee next season an even higher turnover than normal as teams (as is usual in the NHL) copy cat previous success/trends. So we would not be shocked to see 1/4-1/2 of opening day coaches NOT make it to game 82! Only Mike Babcock(the Cup winning coach) started the season behind his team's bench.

3) Now on to the series which start today in Detroit:

  • Detroit Red Wings-Vs Chicago Black hawks: The original 6 series as we dubbed it two days ago. We believe this will decide the Cup champs as we believe either of these two teams are superior to the Eastern Conference entries. Its a rematch o the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field, and we can see that game being a microcosm of what this series may be. Fast, exciting, with the Hawks giving the Wings all they can handle and then some, but in the end the Wings winning. Both teams have solid, multiple scoring lines and very mobile puck moving defenses, with the hawks on paper having a slight edge in net. However, the Rodney Dangerfield of goalies, Chris Osgood seems to always make the important save when the team needs it, and one has to acknowledge he has 3 rings(Khabibulin has one himself) Scarily for the Hawks the Wings best player, Pavel Datsuyk has only 1 goal in the first 2 series, yet the Wings are here. All that said, we believe the ultimate advantage for Detroit will be their experience. They collectively have tons more than Chicago who have many players in their first post season. Therefore we see this as being and exciting, skating/scoring filled series determined in the Final game at the Joe. Wings in 7

  • Pittsburgh Penguins-VS Carolina Hurricanes: Certainly neither team can claim to be the lone Cinderella here. As we mentioned last post BOTH weren't suppose to be here now. However of the two most are surprised to tee the Hurricane here. They defeated the 3rd and 1st seeds to advance to the Conference Finals. Another likely story line is the Staal-vs-Staal angle as two of the three Brothers remain, and after all is said and done one will be again playing for the Cup. (Eric won in 2006). No doubt again the Canes will be 'dogs here as well as prognosticators are enamoured with Crosby/Malkin & co ( as they should), but the Canes roster isn't chop liver either. The X-factor this series in our opinion is Cam Ward. The young goalie has simply been the story for his team so far. Probably few know, but Cam has NEVER LOST a playoff series. Going 6-0 thus far in his young career. Including an impressive 3-0 in game 7's. The guy is just clutch. The Pens come into this series feeling they have unfinished business from last year's Finals and feel they are the rightful team to be back to that position again this year. We feel that it will be a close tough series, but in the end the considerable fire power that the Pens have will prevail. Penguins in 7

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