Popcorn Muscles

Hockey Mockery

Finally Laughing “With,” not “At” the NHL

A Sarcastic Series-By-Series Look At The First Round Of The Playoffs

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Eastern Conference

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

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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.

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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

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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

Western Conference

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

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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

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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

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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

Tampa Bay Lightning Plan To Show 86-Second Barry Melrose Tribute Montage At Their Final Home Game

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Following the wildly successful release of Vinncent Lecavalier and The Sorcerer’s Stone,The Tampa Bay Lightning have decided to produce a short film entitled Behind the Mullet; A look at Barry Melrose’s Time in Tampa Bay.

The R Rated Movie (which features guest commentary from Steven Stamkos and Roman Polanski) , documents all 16 games Melrose coached in Tampa Bay including the six straight Mario Tremblay-style losses he began the season with. 

“It was tough to find 86 seconds worth of highlights,” said Lightning General Manager Brian Lawton. “But we spliced together all five of his wins with some shots of him and Darryl Sutter beating up midgets at a Chinese restaurantand ended up with a pretty solid film. I think it will be a really great thing to show between the national anthem and our inevitable loss.”

Nashville Predators fans call Atlanta a “ridiculous” city for an NHL franchise

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At a sparsely attended Tuesday evening home game against the Washington Capitals, the entire Nashville Predators’ fan club (who regularly carpool together in a Kia Sorento), called Gary Bettman’s decision to put a franchise in Atlanta “one of the 612 worst things he has done as commissioner.”

Predator fans note that Atlanta’s league-worst attendance figures finally disproves the widely held belief that Georgia is the epicenter of the hockey world and that Atlanta residents are the most passionate NHL fans in the world.  

Bettman, who is coming off a guest starring role in Little People, Big World, declined to comment as his daily meeting with the league’s bankruptcy lawyers ran a little longer than usual.

For those in Atlanta ready to show the burgeoning Tennessee hockey market how the Peach State rolls, the Thrashers are playing at home this Monday with “Bring Every Single Person You know” night at Phillips Arena. The game can also be seen on Versus as during their highly rated 2 am to 3:30 am time slot.

(For the record, Nashville is 29th in attendance.)

NHL’s trading deadline arrives, Americans respond: What the hell is hockey?

Gary Bettman

NHL officials expressed optimism today that they have finally achieved a leg up in their longstanding rivalry with the WNBA over which is the most irrelevant league in America. Non-existent sources within the league office confirm that their hopes were achieved thanks to the complete ambivalence of the American public in respect to several trading deadline transactions. “We were a little nervous that a big name like Chris Pronger was going to get moved and we might actually end up getting some coverage, but luckily our teams came through and only moved guys named after French desserts,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman if we had actually interviewed him.

Bettman was most likely referencing the Columbus Blue Jackets trade of Pascal Leclaire and a draft pick to the Ottawa Senators for Antoine Vermette. When reached for comment, the Amercian public said they have never heard of any of these people.

“I’m not really that worried about it.” said whoever runs the WNBA nowadays. “We’ve still got some moves of our own. Cynthia Cooper is going into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year and nobody gives a shit about that.”

With a few hours remaining to squeeze a deal in, the NHL officials that weren’t contacted for this story are holding out hope that no one like the Red Wings screws their day up by moving a big name.
 
“That would be the worst thing that could happen,” Bettman never said. “If someone paid attention to us we could actually save some of these franchises. That’s a lot of paperwork we just don’t want to deal with.”

Phoenix Coyotes hold bake sale in effort to avoid bankruptcy  

Since selling their dignity and unused shin pads hasn’t put a dent in the team’s $200 million operating losses, the Phoenix Coyotes have decided to do hock cookies and cupcakes at the first annual “We promise to make the playoffs…eventually” bake sale.

Financial analysts have called the move brilliant, dubbing the bake sale the single smartest thing the Coyotes have done since hosting Oleg Saprykin appreciation night.

In today’s day and age it’s crucial for businesses to stick to their strengths, and after yet another free fall down the Western Conference standings it’s become painfully evident that playing hockey isn’t one of them.

Cupcakes will be available for $1.00 

Lemonade is 75 cents

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