Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Oh... There's a second round?

So I've had a couple of days of relative silence to mourn the aborted playoff run of '06-'07. After a full evening of compulsive cartoon-watching, I'm good to go again. I'm not going to present predictions for this round per se... just a bunch of thoughts on each series.

I might get some matchups wrong. Feel free to correct me, ok? The only matchup I've shown any real interest in over the last or so has been He-Man vs. Skeletor.

Buffalo vs New York
To me, the Rangers are absolutely a wild card this playoff run. I thought I had a pretty good read on them before the trade deadline - talented, but not enough finish to go far. Then they got Sean Avery. And I thought that was going to be the signal to send in the clowns. Not so much. I'm appalled by how well it's worked for the Rangers, actually.

Buffalo - not much to say here. They're damn good. Nice balanced team - I might question their ability to stay healthy the entire run.

The series? Well, everybody knows Avery has promised to take the body to the Sabres. I think the Sabres can cope with that sort of physical game, provided Avery doesn't do a stupid and injure Ryan Miller. Should be a fun one.

Ottawa vs New Jersey
Ottawa has been very "meh" to me all season. We know they have the parts. We know they made some decent pickups 'round the deadline. But Oleg Saprykin? Seriously?

I have to confess. I love the young talent the Devils are bringing to bear. Parise, Zajac, Oduya...there's some interesting stories here. That said, the Devils will go as far as Brodeur can take them. He didn't look that great against Tampa, from what I saw, but of all the goalies in the league, Brodeur should be the guy who can get over that.

The series? Might come down to goaltending. There's been question marks about Emery, not just in terms of his health, but about his relative lack of playoff experience. That said, Ottawa resembles Tampa somewhat in their makeup, and in how I think they'll have to approach a team like New Jersey. If the Devils can hang in there they way they did last round, I'll bet this one will go long.

How pathetic is that? I live in the Eastern Conference, and I freely admit I know nothing about teams there.

Anyways! On to the fun part...

Anaheim vs Vancouver
For me, this is very much the marquee matchup of the second round. There's the whole Brian Burke storyline, of course. I think this will be the kind of series Nashville/San Jose was in the first round. Hard-charging, hard-pounding, and a hell of a lot of fun to watch.

Detroit vs San Jose
Er. This is of course the only series I really have an outcome I want. Anybody but Detroit...

Yes, I'm petty. It's allowed.

That said, I can't see San Jose not working Detroit over. They're rested, and bring a lot of things to the post-season that Calgary didn't. On the other hand, there are a lot of young, extremely inexperienced players on the San Jose squad who might be coaxed into making errors. We'll have to see.

However, I know too well the kind of play Detroit can bring into the playoffs. I should write more about this at some point (though, it HURTS, it HURTS!), but Calgary never pushed Detroit as hard as they could go. So, it'll be interesting to see just how much Detroit kept in reserve, or whether they can't bring it out fast enough now that they actually need it.

As for the new guys hanging round Detroit? If you don't know how to pronounce their names, I found help.

I'm just saying.

Anyways, I won't be following the second round religiously. There's still some WHL action that I can distract myself with, as well as the worlds. I've had a lot of practice following these instead of the playoffs back in the dark ages - I'll be slipping back into that habit.

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