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Friday, May 31, 2013

An Ice Life: Conference Finals Showdown

Wild on Sports
An Ice Life: Conference Finals Showdown
By Wild on Sports NHL Analyst Brian Pierce

Well, I am depressed even though I got all 4 winners right in my second round predictions and have only gotten one out of the 12 wrong,. However, we will get beyond that for my next round prediction/recap. While I am unhappy, the NHL must be happy because I have no doubt that the best four teams in the league are still in it, and the next three best in actual roster went down in the round before them in Ottawa, San Jose, and Detroit. Anaheim was the only team left out because they drew Detroit in the first round, otherwise the top 8 teams in my opinion were well represented.

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings

I am down in the dumps. That is because my Red Wings could not finish out a team with a few punks and quiet a town that gets pleasure out of chanting Detroit sucks after Michigan rebuilt Chicago after the great fire in aid for our neighbors. I will bring that up every single time this happens. I am not upset with the fact that they choked as I thought they were not going to make the playoffs for much of the season, and they look better than I expected going forward. I am upset because yet again, people who I don’t think have the ethical code to be stars move forward when they were beat. I will get to that in a second, but the future looks bright on the ice in Hockeytown. Look for a preview of the next season that highlights what the two eastward teams have to look forward to in their new divisional homes.

The ethics I speak of is how athletes are more and more acting terrible. I really liked Toews coming into this round, even said that he should be MVP in the regular season. I do not like him anymore by how he acted in the round. He underperformed and started to look like the MVP elect, Sidney Crosby, in how he strarted flopping around and getting penalties because he felt he deserved more freedom. He played awfully and acted worse. This guy is supposed to be the new Yzerman in his leadership and integrity and he acted almost as bad as Kane. I hate Kane because he is well known for being drunk, verbally abusing women, and physically abusing cab drivers. He is the latest in the line of American athletes that think being drafted high gives them the right to do whatever they want. Kane and Toews did very little in the series and Hossa was easily negated. They were saved by depth play and good goaltending, mainly the goonish hard nosed tactics of players like Bickell. I will be rooting harder against them now.

Now don’t take this as a reason for me not picking them to win, if you look back you will see I picked the Kings from the get go of the playoffs and I won’t change it. Chicago showed me they aren’t as solid as everyone thought they were, and LA is a more top heavy version of Detroit. The Blackhawks have a shot, but that is just if their big three can grow up quickly and come back better than they did against Zetter and Pavel. They do have a shot.

As for LA, they got a massive scare against the Sharks, like the Hawks did and they will be ready. The Kings found themselves against a team in the Sharks that was unbeatable at home, until the Kings found another gem out of Quick and Justin Williams. They will need more of that to upstage their counterparts in Crawford and Sharp. The Kings came up against one of the best top two lines in all of hockey with a solid defense and a top statistical goaltender. They will have the same issue with Chicago, but I am not worried because the big four trumps the big three. Although I still think Toews and Hossa are the best two players in this series. Quick, Anze, are the next best two and you can argue Brown, Richards, and Carter are the next best following that.

Again, I just have to point out that the best goaltending will likely win, and it is a close call. Therefore, I think that the depth of LA trumps Chicago and it comes down to coaching. I have to stick with the Kings. I will pick them in six. If they lose, I will be upset.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins

I haven’t watched any of the Penguins play with the sound on. I can’t stand how much the media wants them to win. I do think in America they are going to back off of that for this match up. I just want to say of the bat, the bombing is going to give extra motivation to the Bruins and I still think they win the Cup in large part to the effort they will give for the City. Make no mistake, this will be their biggest challenge.

The Penguins beat Ottawa down how I said they would, in that the Sens only would have a chance if they contained and dragged out the series in a defensive grudge match. They didn’t do that and the series got out of control too fast. They just couldn’t outscore the Penguins, and I do not think the Bruins can either even though they have impressive depth to do it. They would have even more if Cooke wasn’t a cheap piece of crap who should be out of the league from hitting Savard and ending his career. Just another reason karma should be on the side of the Bruins. The Penguins have the two hottest forwards in the world right now. Not them, the other guys. Neal and Dupuis. Kunitz might also rank higher in terms of hotness than their best player, which is Malkin. If that wasn’t bad enough, Crosby is playing at the highest level of his career as well in the best top two lines in the league offensively. A skilled guy like that thrives on space, and he has more of it than he will ever see.

The Penguins have the weakest goaltending of all the teams remaining, and that might be their undoing. Tukka can best this team if he shows up, and the B’s have the better defense to boot. If Tukka plays his best, we will have the answer to immovable object meets irrespirable force. I imagine that half the games will have the Penguins winning the match up of the top lines versus the top defensive parings and the other half will have Boston winning that match up. I do however think that the Bruins win the depth battle. Even though Pitt has bigger names on the third and fourth lines, this usually loses to hungry guys whose game is built for the grind. I get the feeling that this will be the series that gets all the attention and the Pens will lose like they did to the Flyers last time, in brutal historical fashion. I have the Penguins losing in seven.

This will be the round where I could take a bath, but I do think that the best two teams in the league right now are the Kings and the Penguins, but I just get the feeling that the Bruins are going to dig deeper. I hope they win. I can tell you that a Hawks/Pens finals might make Gary and NBC happy, but I won’t watch a second of that. I also am fearful that the refs will really butcher it, because while the first round was bad, the second round wasn’t as affected by the bad calls. There were plenty, but it didn’t feel like that they were as impactful. Though they seriously tried to screw up some series. Just don’t at all get your hands dirty for anyone here. I just hope for the more ethical teams, the ones with better character to win. That means the Kings and the Bruins. God speed to the good guys.


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