Review of 2011 NHL Conference Finals

Holy sch-nike! My apologies: life has been swamped for the whole month of May, and June might yield some more space and time for some important updates.

Eastern Conference

#2 Boston v. #5 Tampa Bay: Boston in 7 (my prediction: Boston in 6). Look out: finally, a goalie got hot, and what a great time for that to happen: Tim Thomas is stellar. Give the Bolts- and their “rookie” GM, Steve Yzerman- tons of credit for some really game play, and stretching the series in ways that no one expected. Meanwhile, Boston could’ve-should’ve put this series away much sooner, were it not for an abysmal power-play percentage. I can look up the number, but you might get ill reading it: club hockey teams should be permitted to play for the Bruins when they get a man-advantage. Their upcoming foe, Vancouver, has nothing to worry about if they take penalties.

Western Conference

#1 Vancouver v. #2 San Jose: Canucks in 6 (my prediction: Sharks in 7). What a bummer. You hate to be a whiner about officiating when you’re on the losing end of a series, but the Canucks were always up an extra two men on the ice in this series. The zebras really did a great job of keeping Vancouver in this series. Just pathetic officiating. (But: see here for an interesting take on how to complain with dignity.) Meanwhile, the Sharks stopped attacking the goal as they had against LA and Detroit: and that tilted the ice toward Antti Niemi. It’s one thing to say “We’ve got a Cup-winning goalie!” and it’s another thing to actually play defense and offense that keeps the other team’s goalie honest. Face it: if you don’t play defense, you won’t win. Dan Boyle put it best: “This series was ours to lose: we were the better team.” So true. But, the goal the Sharks lost on- in double OT!- indicates that the Sharks really did not believe they had to play whistle to whistle: maybe they weren’t the better team after all.

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My Bad: (Late) Conference Finals Predictions 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

My apologies: I’ve been busier than humanly possible, and my current location for getting an internet connection is hard to believe I’m still in North America…

Eastern Conference

#2 Boston vs. #5 Tampa Bay: Boston in 6. OK: as I write this, the Bolts just even the series 2-all. Wow: the Lightening have some spunk. Still, my sense is that the Bruins are just getting warmed up.

Western Conference

#1 Vancouver vs. #2 San Jose: Sharks in 7. Here, we have the Canucks up 2-1 in this series. The 3rd game was pretty lively according to the reports I read, and the highlights I saw in passing showed the Sharks playing with passion and power. What ever it was that got them going: they should put it in a bottle and market that stuff: because Vancouver had no answer for San Jose aggressiveness. The ice was tilted the whole way. Only one thing should keep the Sharks from advancing: dumb penalties. Jamie McGinn should consider himself more than lucky that he wasn’t suspended for hitting two guys and injuring both. He’s probably a big target for Game #4…

Review of My Second Round Predictions of the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

Short Version: Let’s review: The Sharks are in! (Whew!)

Eastern Conference:

#1 Washington v. #5 Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay, 4-0!!! (My prediction: Washington in 5) No one saw this coming: no one. TB played lights-out hockey from the start of Game #1 to the end of Game #4. Ovechkin et al: no where to be found: same may be true of the head coach at the end of the playoffs. Dwayne Roloson played the series that was out of his mind. Could he be the hot goalie of the playoffs?

#2 Philadelphia v. #3 Boston: Boston, 4-0!!! (My prediction: Boston in 7) Brooms again! The Flyers were nowhere to be found in this series. Tim Thomas, Boston goalie, played great but did not have much of a challenge from Philly.

Western Conference:

#1 Vancouver v. #5 Nashville: Vancouver, 4-2. (My prediction: Vancouver in 6). OK: I drilled this one. Pekka Rinne had a great run, but Nashville did not have enough D-men to help him out: the Canucks kept shooting and they won the series. Note toward the next series for the Canucks: the Predators hit them and took them off the puck in ways that were surprising, and the Sedin twins were noticeably absent from the score sheet for precisely this reason.

#2 San Jose Sharks v. #3 Detroit: Sharks, 4-3. (My prediction: Sharks in 6). Well, well: I guess the Red Wings did not want to go down that easily! After the Sharks ran out to a 3-0 series lead, everyone was thinking brooms or a Game 5, and get ready for the Conference Finals. No: give the Red Wings credit: Games 5 & 6 were really impressive, especially the former in the 3rd period comeback being down a couple of goals. Still, Detroit injuries plus superior forward play by the Sharks just wore the Red Wings down. That’s playoff hockey: draping your will over your opponent. When the Sharks got away from that kind of play: they lost three games. When they played it, Detroit looked like a club team.

Update (Pending): 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 2

Well, I’m in a bit of a hurry, and will post later today my appraisal of Round 2, make the comparison with my predictions, and follow that with a prediction on the Conference Finals.

Because life is a little strange these days, I wasn’t able to watch the last 4 games of the Sharks-Detroit series: save the last two minutes of last night’s Game 7. Whew!

Back later with some thoughts on the Sharks, as well the promised posts.

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