A Sarcastic Series-By-Series Look At The First Round Of The Playoffs
Boston vs Montreal
This seemingly annual playoff tilt between two original six teams looks more like an awkward European reality show than a battle of legendary franchises. Between Alexei Kovalev (who teaches an offseason sportsmanship class at the Mats Sundin Playoff Performance Center in Toronto), the nine-foot Slovakian Boston puts a Rita McNeal sized jersey on every game and the frighteningly violent fans in each city, this series may have a fatality rate comparable to the over/under line.
While Montreal has gotten the better of the bean town boys in years passed, it is difficult to imagine an eighth-seeded team with players currently under federal investigation and a defensive core that calls Roman Hamrlik their “go-to-guy” has what it takes to defeat the top ranked Bruins.
Boston in 6
Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers
Alex Ovechkin, who’s MVP award last season was the franchise’s first piece of hardware since Rod Langways’ Most Improved Moustache Award in 1979, finally has the Capitals on track for a Stanley Cup run.
If Jose Theodore can channel his inner Don Beaupre and Ovechkin can put his recent Kerry Collins-Bea Arthur love triangle behind him, there’s no reason why Washington can’t put the Rangers on a golf course with the Knicks in four straight games.
Washington in 3… 4, if the NHL makes them play this one out.
New Jersey vs Carolina
After finally giving the state of North Carolina a much deserved Stanley Cup in 2006 , the Hurricanes are back in the playoffs and ready to make Canadians question the existence of God by bringing the championship back to Tobacco Road in 2009.
Unfortunately for Carolina, this will mean getting through a Devil’s team whose commitment to disciplined defense and unrelenting boredom hasn’t wavered one bit since Scott Stevens retired from the NHL in 2004, to begin playing Rafiki in Disney’s The Lion King on Ice.
Though God clearly hates Canada, not even Jesus himself can stay awake long enough to beat the neutral zone trap.
New Jersey in 6
Pittsburgh vs Philadelphia
Sidney Crosby has been whining in postseason form since October and this Egveni Malkin kid looks like he may have some sort of future playing in the NHL if his upcoming tryout with American Idol goes south.
Despite the Flyers offensive depth and Andy Reid designed nutrition plan, they simply don’t have enough firepower to keep pace with the Penguins. Look for Sid the kid to thrive in this series, while reminding Pittsburgh fans that the Ruslan Fedotenko era is still years away.
Pens in a very exciting 7
San Jose vs Anaheim
Joe Thorton is already two months into his playoff beard and Evgeni Nabakov has made room next to his World’s Most Adequate Goalie Award for a Stanley Cup ring.
The Sharks have offense, defense, one and a half black guys and Rob Blake staving off osteoporosis for a final playoff push. It’s going to take a Gordon Bombay miracle for Ryan Getzlaf and the Ducks to win this series.
Sharks in 5
Detroit vs Columbus
Not even Jim Tressel and his stylish sweater vests can save Columbus in this Michigan-Ohio battle. The Red Wings became the first team to win a Stanley Cup with a European captain last season and are the single largest of employer of Swedish immigrants in the entire country.
Columbus, conversely, is like a fat chick who showed up to a party with the cheerleader. Just happy to be here and excited to get seen with the popular team.
Red Wings in Five
Vancouver Canucks vs St. Louis Blues
Led by a semi-incestual first line and a goalie whose save percentage rivals his hair gel budget, the Vancouver Canucks snuck up from behind (or as it’s called the team’s communal shower “Getting Sedin’d”) and took over the Northwest division title late in the season. With playoff greats like Pavol Demitra and Alex Burrows leading the way, every bandwagon fan in Vancouver who started supporting the team three weeks ago knows this squad is for real!
While the organization will never be able to relive the glory days of almost winning a Stanley Cup 15 years ago, this year’s Canucks team has the chance to get embarrassed by Detroit in the second round before spending an offseason wondering why signing a balding has-been to a Geoff Courtnall sized contract mid-way through the year didn’t work.
Canucks in 6
Chicago vs. Calgary
Remember when Jarome Iginla and Vinny Lecavalier fought in the Stanley Cup finals to fire up their teams? Now imagine the same situation, only with Jonathan Toews dropping the gloves with Number 12.
Chicago may be the 2011 Stanley Cup favorites, but at the end of the day their youth will be their demise and not even Conn Smythe favorite and alleged defenseman Brent Sopel will be able to save them.
The Flames, who are sick of Calgary being regarded as a football town after the Stampeders’ Grey Cup win, have the potential to sip champagne from Lord Stanley if Miikka Kiprusoff and his red beard of courage can rekindle the 2004 Magic
Flames in Six