Commenter Rocket writes about the NHL and other topics because we so often forget to do so. Here he is with his playoff preview, infused with commenter cheap shots. Rocket?



I seem to recall a while back that RandBall had a post about the best postseasons in the big sports. I also seem to recall that he declared the NHL playoffs second only to March Madness. This is clearly where RandBall jumped the shark because everybody with half a brain knows that the NHL playoffs, which start tonight, are the greatest thing ever. Unfortunately, there are a lot of simpleton dullards in the world who don’t understand this. Those people can do this. Anyway, here’s what is going to happen in the first round:
Eastern Conference
Washington Capitals (1) v. New York Rangers (8)
Who Will Win and Why: Last year, the Caps played a freewheeling, up-and-down, defense-optional brand of hockey all the way to the #1 seed in the conference that was a ton of fun to watch. Then they bowed out in the first round of the playoffs. This year, the Caps played a much more sound, mature, defensive-minded system all the way to the #1 seed in the conference and had an unnerving tendency to be boring. Growing up stinks, but it pays the bills. Caps in five.
Fact about daveemen that is as obvious as who will win this series: Daveemen likes beer.
Philadelphia Flyers (2) v. Barfalo Sabres (7)
WWWaW: “Barfalo” played at a blistering pace to end the season and to make it into the playoffs. The Flyers stumbled their way out of what looked like a sure #1 seed. This is the series that all of the talking heads will pick as their “upset special” or “team to watch out for” or some other such [redacted]. Ain’t gonna happen. Flyers in six.
Why fasolamatt is rooting for Buffalo: Tim Horton, whose name graces the greatest coffee and donut shop in the world, finished his 24-year NHL career with the Sabres. The shop’s bacon sandwich is the thing of legends..
Boston Bruins (3) v. Montreal Canadiens (6)
WWWaW: If you aren’t excited about this series then you lack a soul and are most likely a psionic vampire. These are two original six teams that really hate each other and have had their share of bad blood this season. While Montreal has traditionally had the edge in this series the Bruins are just too big and strong for the undersized Canadiens. Bruins in five.
Album that randballsstu is most likely to compare this series to: Jose Gonzalez’s hauntingly beautiful In Our Nature.
Pittsburgh Penguins (4) v. Tampa Bay Lightning (5)
WWWaW: If you enjoy highly skilled, up-and-down-the-rink hockey then this is the series for you. The Pens have had to get a little grittier since they lost some of their big names, but they still have a lot of skill and players from their Cup winning team of two years ago. On the other hand, Tampa Bay can pick you apart as quickly and voraciously as a Wisconsin family that has held off eating for a full three hours. The Bruins/Canadiens matchup will have the most emotion, but this series will be the most aesthetically pleasing. Lightning in seven.
Where cswamptown22 is likely to watch this series: In some [redacted]hole in Waseca county.
Western Conference
Vancouver Canucks (1) v. Chicago Blackhawks (8)
WWWaW: The two most unfortunately nicknamed teams in the NHL clash in a series that might look to the casual fan to be a reasonably close matchup. After all, the Irresponsible Racial Stereotypes won the Cup last year. However, that team was gutted in the off-season, whereas the Hateful Canadian Slurs have slowly but steadily built themselves to a point where they are the clear favorites to win it all. The Irresponsible Racial Stereotypes still have some nice talent, but it won’t be enough this year. Hateful Canadian Slurs in five.
Speaking of unfortunate nicknames: Jamax2 undoubtedly has several such monikers for Jay Cutler.
San Jose Sharks (2) v. Los Angeles Kings (7)
WWWaW: The Sharks have been perpetual underachievers in the playoffs for just about forever. Last year marked a change, however. They made it to the conference finals, which seemed to relieve some of the pressure of years past. About midway through this season, the Sharks were in 10th place in the conference before seriously heating up. This is a different team with a different mindset. Sharks in four.
Why jmathaler cares about this series: Only 223 people in the state of California care about hockey and 65 of them are Anaheim Ducks fans. That sort of caring-to-population ratio tugs at his heart strings.
Detroit Red Wings (3) v. Phoenix Coyotes (6)
WWWaW: Last year, these two teams played a mostly wonderful series that ended with a clunker of a game seven. I hate to say it, because it’s easy to root for the underdog in this case, but I can’t shake the feeling that last year was the Coyotes’ year to make a run. Detroit is going to get too old sooner of later, but it isn’t going to be in this first round. Red Wings in five.
Absolutely true fact about RandBall: RandBall has had to kill a man with his bare hands in both Detroit and Phoenix for completely separate reasons. Don’t ask why. DON’T [REDACTED] ASK WHY! He doesn’t like to talk about it.
Anaheim Ducks (4) v. Nashville Predators (5)
WWWaW: Every fiber in my being wants to hate the Nashville Predators. They were born during the NHL’s “octomom” phase of the late 90s and early 2000s in a non-traditional market that doesn’t really seem to care. But I just can’t hate them. Each year this team, which really should be in the Eastern Conference and must travel like crazy, puts together a playoff team with no superstars and a coach that looks like the Russian supervillian from an 80s cartoon. At some point, you have to give them the respect that they’ve earned. Predators in seven.
Why azgginchi cares about this series: The Predators made a mid-season trade to acquire center Mike Fisher – aka Mr. Carrie Underwood – from the Ottawa Senators. AZ will be able to follow this series through both her Sports Illustrated and US Magazine subscriptions.

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