Now that the Los Angeles Kings are out of the running for the Cup (as is my final pick, the Buffalo Sabres), I have to decide how I think the rest of the season is going to go. The flu bug hit me for a few days, which is why this post a bit late-coming, but here goes. With the remaining eight teams in the playoffs, would it be safe to just say the Penguins will take it all the way again? I don't know, but I'm not feeling them for a repeat; especially if they face the Red Wings again. I found it a bit boring last year when both teams were in the finals again. I can say with certainty that I'll be more bored watching a third match up in a row in the finals. Let's just hope the other six teams prevent that from happening.
At this point, it comes down to who I want to see fail rather than who I want to see win. For instance, I inadvertently found myself cheering for the Phoenix Coyotes over the Red Wings in Round 1 because I was kinda over it. "It" being Detroit advancing in the playoffs again. It would have been insanely interesting if the Red Wings didn't make the playoffs, so I wanted the next best thing of the Wings being taken out in the first round. My initial bracket had them moving on, but as the games occurred, I wanted nothing more than to see Shane Doan regulate. Clearly, the better team won and they now face the San Jose Sharks. In this series, I want nothing more than to have Detroit absolutely pound them to the pavement.
My desire to see the Blackhawks (and Flyers) move on may be overridden by the reality of the match ups. Can Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Patrick Sharp equal the Sedins and Mikael Samuelsson? Perhaps, but after watching the latter three up close and personal, I can't say for sure. At the same time, Roberto Luongo against Antti Niemi/Cristobal Huet? Of course! In the end, I'm going to say I want to have the Blackhawks move on to the next round. Will it be easy? No, I'm saying seven games for this one.
In the Eastern Conference, I'm a little less committed to my picks, but I believe the Penguins will win out over the Habs and the Flyers will trounce the Bruins. Am I confident? Nope, but if they prove me wrong, I can't wait to see the great playoff hockey.
P.S. I just saw Mike Cammalleri whiff on a one-timer. I laughed. Why? Because I've seen that whiff more times than I care to remember.