April 30, 2013

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Bold Predictions for the 2013 NHL Playoffs

By: Matt Bowen

The 2013 NHL playoffs promise to be as fast paced as the abbreviated season. The strike-shortened season was roughly only 100 days long and the league carries plenty of momentum into the “second season.”

The league began the season with a black eye but with a jammed packed schedule that went down to the wire, the NHL recovered nicely from a near catastrophe.

With fans back on board the playoffs will be as captivating as ever. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks dominated their respective conferences this season, but that doesn’t mean they’re destined to meet in the Finals.

Remember, it was just last season when the Los Angeles Kings were the first team in history to win it all as a No. 8 seed.

Who will hoist the Stanley Cup in 2013?

If there’s one thing that’s for certain, expect the unexpected during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The New York Rangers vs. Washington Capitals Will be the Best Round 1 Matchup

As a hockey fan, one can’t help but lose sleep over this series. Coming into the season this was an all-or-nothing type of season for both sides. After a poor start, both teams rebounded well to finish the season on a strong note.

Now, two teams under the microscope will duke it out in a series that screams seven games. The CapitalsAlex Ovechkin finished the year with a league-best 32 goals and needs to continue that trend if his team is to advance.

The Rangers spent a ton of money in the offseason only to be seller’s at the trade deadline. What’s done is done and the team found a way to manage the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. New to New York, star Rick Nash led the team in goals with 21, now it’s his duty to lead his team to a Stanley Cup victory.

So, who will win the series?

Capitals in seven games

The Rangers may be facing an intense amount of pressure, but Ovechkin and the Capitals have their backs against the wall.

The Detroit Red Wings Will Upset the Anaheim Ducks in Round 1

The Detroit Red Wings didn’t play consistently good hockey until a week ago, but now they’re hot at the right time.

Spoiled by decades of success, Wings fans were looking lost until recently. The playoffs seemed like a mirage, but the good organizations always seem to get their way and the Wings are in as the No. 7 seed in the West.

Now, the Anaheim Ducks are the underdog in the series even though they are the No. 2 seed. The Wings took the season series 2-1 and have too much momentum right now for Corey Perry and company to stop. Wings stars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are carrying their team nicely right now.

The Wings won four straight games to make the playoffs and in that time Zetterberg notched 10 points.

Red Wings in six games

The Wings are too hot to lose in the first round but will run out of gas shortly after.

One Not So Bold Pick–Sidney Crosby Will be Sidney Crosby

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been without their captain Sydney Crosby since March 30 due to a broken jaw, but he’ll be on the ice in the playoffs.

He may have missed the final 12 games of the season, but he scored 56 points in just 36 games. The Penguins should be considered great without him and with his presence on the ice they are the most dangerous team in the league.

It may take a game or two to get back into the groove, but Crosby is the best all-around player in the league. Even with missing the final 12 games, Crosby only lost out on the Art Ross Trophy (most points/season) by four points. Tampa Bay Lightning star Martin St. Louis took the trophy with 60 points. St. Louis was then followed by teammate Steven Stamkos’ 57 and then Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby with 56.

Crosby makes everyone better and knowing that Penguins acquisition Jarome Iginla has only played a total of :50 seconds with Crosby, the best is yet to come.

Crosby tallies 17 playoff points—6 goals, 11 assist

The Toronto Maple Leafs Will Win Their Series against the Boston Bruins

A classic Original Six matchup here, the Toronto Maple Leafs square off against the Boston Bruins in an instant classic.

These rivals won’t back down, but the Maple Leafs will surprise most when they survive and advance. The Maple Leafs haven’t made the playoffs since 2004 and although both teams stumbled to the finish line, the Leafs carry positive momentum because the city is buzzing.

The Bruins have looked incomplete of late and can’t seem to finish the game. They have dominated the series between the two of late, winning 9-of-10, but the tides will turn here.

The Leafs are well balanced across the score sheet. Expect Nazem Kadri, a 22-year-old center to get under the Bruins skin and light the lamp. In the end, the Bruins won’t know what hit them.

Maple Leafs in five games

Montreal Canadiens vs. Vancouver Canucks in the Finals

What?!

That’s correct, an all Canadian final is in store.

How?

The Montreal Canadiens are almost forgotten about but the finished second in the Eastern Conference. The have a goalie in Carey Price who is made for these moments and a perfect blend of toughness and finesse. They are the team that doesn’t have a scoring sensation but rather a group of guys who pitch in at the right moment. A number of players could get hot and spell disaster for their opponents.

The Vancouver Canucks are playoff tested and feel disrespected. They’re almost forgotten about at the moment. Don’t make a mistake by overlooking  them and consider them a “has been.” Remember, they have the Sedin twins. Last time I checked they have some weird twin thing going on that gets the puck to the back of the net with regularity.  The Canucks X-factor is Ryan Kesler. He’s a world-class player coming off of injury. With only 17 games played this year, he’s seen just enough ice time to make a big difference in the playoffs.

This series will be a slugfest. Plenty of grit combined with a series littered with scrappy goals will make for a memorable final.

Canadiens in six games

Carey Price wins the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP

July 28, 2008

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Real Time Espy’s Blog

By: realbigfathead

BY JD BUTTERS

Well, the Oscars of the sporting world, the Espys, came off last Friday night in LA. In the galaxy of the Espys, the worlds of entertainment and sports collide in a manner that isn’t duplicated at any other event. For us residents of LA, it brings in athletes from all corners of the sports world. In fact, I ran into Greg Oden at the mall on Saturday! Of course, for once in my life, I didn’t have my camera on me. But I digress. Like many of the Oscar pundits and analysts who watch with pen and pad in hand, I thought I would do the same, and give my analysis of this year’s broadcast. Check it out – be sure to write in and let me know what YOUR favorite moments of this year’s excellent show were!

9:05 – Already, I can tell Justin Timberlake is going to do an excellent job. JT is the entertainment equivalent of a five-tool player, and he handled his opening remarks with aplomb, showing excellent comedic timing. And for all you chumps who’ll say some junk like “you lose your man privileges for fawning over JT like that,” I will simply say, game recognizes game.

9:10 – OK, what in tarnation is Danica Patrick WEARING?? I don’t even know what to describe it as! Is it a onesy? Is it a pantsuit with shorts? Beach wear?

9:33 – I don’t know if it’s purposeful, but Greg Oden is really getting a lot of mileage, and some good imaging, out of what appears to be a good sense of humor and a fun-loving, self-deprecating attitude. Look for him to help fill that gap when Shaq retires. Without the rapping, hopefully.

9:49 – Wow, Posh can actually crease that dour mug of hers into a smile. FASCINATING! How did a cat that seems as cool as Becks end up with THIS Cruella DeVille?

9:52 – I don’t care if she deserves to win for Best Breakthrough Athlete, but I hope she does just so I can see more Ana Ivanovic!

9:53 – DAMN that Adrian Peterson!!!

9:54 – OK, this Host Auditions Part I with Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly is one of the funniest things I’ve seen this year. Their list of demands is both ridiculous and sublime!

10:02 – Steve Nash is super dapper in his grey 3-pc. suit. He’d BETTER be dapper, with that hair.

10:12 – John Carlos and Tommie Smith winning the Arthur Ashe Courage Award was one of those great moments that demonstrates how sports can transcend sport.

10:31 – I don’t know if he’s gonna win for Best Play, but Rick Nash looked like Harry Houdini on this goal. That was the hockey equivalent of breaking someone’s ankles!!

10:32 – From the look on his face, Nash was expecting to win.

10:33 – Wow, Eli Manning was actually glib during the acceptance speech. In other news, the forecast in hell is calling for heavy snow.

10:38 – OK, Host Auditions Part II are, again, HIGH-larious. I mean, who would have ever thought we would hear Joba Chamberlain sing Luther. And Greg Oden’s stone-faced “people tell me I’m hilarious. I’m like ‘yeah. . . .cool” is the comedic highlight of the entire broadcast.

11:18 – How weird. Just like the last Sopranos episode, my TV cut out right before they announced the winner of the Best Team award. Probably wasn’t anybody good anyway.