The first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs ended last night and, already, we’re looking at the beginning of round two. Round one featured four series’ that went to seven games and I don’t even know many games went into overtime.
What I’m saying is that round one set a pretty high standard for exciting hockey and round two has some large boots to fill.
Anyway, as far as my playoff pool goes… after the first game of the series, I already found myself in the basement. Out of 11 people in the pool, I was dead last. In the heat of battle mid-way through the round, I got as high as sixth however as the round started to wind down… my rank went back into the crapper.
I guess I am more likely, at this point, to be holding out for the long haul. It’s not like I have much choice though. On the positive side, some people lost as many as six players in the first round; I only lost two players: Corey Perry and Sidney Crosby. It’s a damn shame about Perry since he was kicking ass being 4th in league scoring, tallying me 13 points. And Crosby? Since he didn’t even step foot on the ice due to his concussion, he got me a whopping zero points. I thought that the Penguins would make it out of round one and Sid The Kid would have a chance to get on the board but, obviously, that didn’t happen.
So where do I sit at the start of round two?
I’m in the basement. Again. The leader of the pool has 135 points and I’m at the bottom with 106 points. I guess it’s a long road to the Cup, even now, and anything can still happen… particularly since a lot of people ahead of me have far fewer players still in the playoffs than I do.
A co-worker of mine started a pool for the NHL playoffs. It was two bucks to enter so I figured that I’d enter since I’d never really been in a playoff pool before.
The rules were pretty simple; pick ten skaters and four goaltenders. For skaters, goals are worth two points, assists are worth one point and a shorthanded goal is worth an additional one point. For goaltenders, a win is worth three points, a shutout is worth an additional two points and an overtime loss is worth one point. In the unlikely event of a goalie making it onto the scoresheet, if a goalie tallies an assist it’s worth five points and should a goalie actually score a goal, it’s worth ten points.
It was the last day for me so I put together about 5 minutes of stats research and not a whole lot of thought before making my selections. But here was the list I came up with:
Skaters: Patrick Marleau (SJS), Danny Briere (PHI), Milan Lucic (BOS), Sidney Crosby (PIT), Alex Ovechkin (WAS), Jeff Carter (PHI), Corey Perry (ANA), Steven Stamkos (TAM), Henrik Sedin (VAN) and Daniel Sedin (VAN).
Goaltenders: Sergei Bobrovsky (PHI), Roberto Luongo (VAN), Antii Niemi (SJS) and Tim Thomas (BOS).
Based on the regular season, you’d think, “El Jefe, you’ve got some solid picks there.” And in the regular season, these obviously were good picks. The unfortunate part is that in the playoffs… you may as well take the regular season stats and throw them out the window.
I had decided to run with teams; thinking that Philly would make short work of Buffalo and Boston would lay the smack down on Montreal. As it would turn out, Buffalo isn’t going to lay down for anyone and Montreal is playing spoilers for the second year in a row. And with so many players running the board in the scoring stats for the Tampa Bay Lightning, I could have thrown Martin St. Louis and Vinny LaCavalier in there too… but they’re playing the Penguins in the first round so who’s coming out of that race is anyone’s bet. I also picked Sidney Crosby anticipating a swift return for him, which hasn’t been the case at all.
The Sedin sisters… that’s pretty much a no-brainer that requires no explanation nor does my selection of Luongo. With Corey Perry coming on so hot in the last half of the regular season, I couldn’t ignore him at all. Danny Briere was the playoff scoring king in last year’s playoffs, so I figured he was a good pick and Alex Ovechkin, after the suckish year he has had with the playoffs last year and the Russians tanking it in the Olympics, I had a hunch he was due. With his shift from his ridiculously insane individual stats of previous seasons to a more focussed, defensive team play… I’m seriously rooting for him and the Caps to run the board.
Now let’s move to the debacle that is the Boston Bruins. During the regular season, you probably could have put up a brick wall in front of the Bruins’ net that wouldn’t have stopped as many pucks as Tim Thomas had. His goals against average and his save percentage were unbeatable. I figured that he’d be able to carry that over into the playoffs. I banked on it, actually, which was why I selected Milan Lucic as well.
But what has Boston done in the playoffs? Absolutely nothing. The Montreal Canadiens have owned them with Carey Price taking over top spot in the league stats between the pipes. Where is Tim Thomas? And, for that matter, where are Antii Niemi and Sergei Bobrovsky? Take a look:
I figured that there’s only so many seasons in a row that the San Jose Sharks could completely choke in the playoffs (hence my pick of Marleau) and since Niemi took the Hawks to the Cup… maybe they were due. The series with the Kings is tied at one so I’m not going to totally discount these players but with stats like these… it ain’t lookin’ good.
Who I Should Have Picked
Carey Price and Michael Neuvirth:
Since he’s with the Kings, he might not make it all the way to the Cup final but at least he’d be getting me more points than both Steven Stamkos, Patrick Marleau and Milan Lucic combined… all three players sporting a giant goose-egg for points thus far.
I could have also gone with Martin St. Louis or Ryan Getzlaf of Brian Gionta… all of which would have given me more points. I mean, it’s still really early in the playoffs and there’s a long way to go but I’m feeling a little dumb at this point. And I’ll feel incredibly stupid if Sidney Crosby doesn’t come back at all.
That’s what time it is for the Prince of Stanley’s hockey team. Tomorrow night, they play a crucial game that will not only decide their path toward a gold medal but will also, more importantly, decide whether or not I have to wake up at an ungodly hour on Saturday morning.
If they win tomorrow night, then they will play in a game on Friday night to decide if they head to the gold medal game. If they lose tomorrow night, then they play at 7:45 am at the arena on the opposite side of the city, in the heart of Downs’ Castle.
I’m going to do the math on this one; if the game starts at 7:45 am, he needs to be there a half an hour earlier as a minimum… at 7:15 am. I’m going to have to give the standard one hour of travel time, meaning that we have to leave the house at 6:15 am. Providing an allowance for how much time I need to get the Prince awake and fed, tack on getting a coffee in there… multiply it by the crab factor (which is basically how cranky the Prince is going to be getting up that early) and you have a crazy early morning.
Hence why it’s a ‘do-or-die’ scenario. Because if he doesn’t win… I’m going to die.