I don’t know anything about the NHL in 2014. I grew up around the game and worked in the NHL for 3 seasons, but my career took me to greener pastures in 2010. It was the first time in my life I had no ties to the game, and it was a little liberating. I got roped back in two years later when the Devils crushed the Rangers’ championship dreams on Adam Henrique’s back-breaking, nut-cracking, series-clinching goal against Henrik “Overrated” Lundqvist and went on to Finals, only to get smoked by the white-hot Los Angeles Kings.
They ALMOST got me back for good, but then there was ANOTHER lockout, the FOURTH work stoppage since I was 10, and I was so pissed off, I’ve watched about 3 games in the last 18 months. Starting a family and making a baby have also been good distractions.
That said, I still think it’s time to make some predictions.
Boston Bruins vs Detroit Red Wings: I guess the Red Wings have had the Bruins number this year, but this is the playoffs, and there are more good players still playing for Boston from when I watched regularly than there are on the Wings. Bruins in six.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs Montreal Canadiens: I’ve had a soft spot for the Canadiens since I was a kid, when the Devils inherited some of Montreal’s decent players (Tom Chorske), great players and coaches (Claude Lemieux, Stephane Richer, Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson, Jacques Caron) and Lyle Odelein. Tampa Bay is going to play at least four road games in a row, because Canadiens fans are gonna PACK the Lightning arena. And that’s really annoying. So annoying that the Lightning will be too motivated to lose, and that’s a shame. Because I like the Habs. Lightning in five.
Pittsburgh Penguins vs Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets sound like a scrappy team with a stupid name, and after every year since forever of being terrible, I guess they finally have a shot at winning a playoff game. Like Canadiens fans invading Tampa Bay, those goddamn Pens fans are going to occupy Columbus, and while the Jackets are in no way going to win this series, maybe they can break someone’s leg on the other side. Pens in five.
New York Rangers vs Philadelphia Flyers: Both teams fall into a hole in the ground and forfeit, allowing the Bruins a bye to the Conference Finals.
Colorado Avalanche vs Minnesota Wild: Colorado’s good again? Okay. Avs in six. Because I’m still sick of the 2012 media coverage of Suter-and-Parise-to-Minnesota.
St. Louis Blues vs Chicago Blackhawks: A guy at the gym with spaghetti stains all over his shirt told me this is the Blues’ year. He was an idiot savant and knew every player, coach, GM and director of marketing in the NHL, so I will take his word for it. Blues in six.
Anaheim Ducks vs Dallas Stars: I have to base this on the tried and true method of sports betting perfected by every airhead woman in America. Who has nicer clothes? The Ducks’ jerseys, colors and logo are way better than Dallas. Ducks in six.
San Jose Sharks vs Los Angeles Kings: That serial killer from the gym picked the Sharks as his back-up winner for the Cup, so… Sharks in seven.