The ASD did not adopt a hockey team this year as it did last year with the Buffalo Sabres. It has not stopped us from taking in the playoff action. Watching the final game ever in Mellon Arena was exciting. However, my best memory of is not for anything the Pens accomplished, it is the splendor of Jean-Claude Van Damme. The 1995 movie Sudden Death was filmed around a game 7 Stanley Cup game between Pittsburgh and Chicago, only terrorists have take the vice president hostage! As you can see from this trailer, JCVD must use his expert wit and high kicks to undue the plan of an evil mastermind played by the incomparable Powers Booth. Like the trailer says, "Terror goes into overtime!" My what a awesomely bad action movie; Van Damme at the height of his mid-90s powers. So that is what I thought of as the last seconds ticked away in Mellon the other night and the Penguins were eliminated.
The ECF have yet to be determined but another exciting game 7 tonight between Philly and Boston will decide who plays Montreal. Over in the west, game 1 of the conference finals start Sunday with Chicago facing off against San Jose. Since we are slightly inept at practical hockey analysis (but only slightly) we turn once again to our resident EPA administrator, Walter Peck. Ensuring maximum cultural insensitivity and proper air quality freshness, his preview of the WCF is after the jump.
The NHL Western Conference Championship with less F-Bombs and more shoot from the hip analysis.
The Western Conference Finals are a tale of two polar opposite teams. One has been a constant leader in the Western conference only to choke in the playoffs (much like a midget chokes on a normal person’s junk). The other franchise has been God awful since the late nineties similar to the Simpsons. Below is a half ass recap of the two organizations and how I see the WCF playing out.
The Blackhawks have been irrelevant in the Hockey world for the last 10+ years. From 1997 to the 2007/08 season the Blackhawks made the playoffs once and were bounced from the 1st round in 5 games by the Blues. They routinely traded their talent or let their free agents leave thanks to their penny pinching president Wirtz. Wirtz was so despised by the fans that when he died the Blackhawk fans booed during a moment of silence for Wirtz at the arena. It was a classless move even the Philly fans tip their hat too.
Since then the Blackhawks have been rebuilding through smart drafting and development of their talent. The primary players in their young core are Kane, Toews, and Seabrook. Kane and Toews performed really well in the 08/09 season and carried the team to the conference finals until they were knocked out by the Red Wings. The Blackhawks added some good veteran players to round out the roster including defensive forward John Madden (greatest hockey name ever?), Marian Hossa, and blue liner Campell. This unit is young, dangerous, and have looked great this post season. While I admit there were a couple of hiccup games this team is poised to get to the finals.
The other side of the coin has the Sharks. Gay ass uniforms aside this team has been an absolute monster for years… until the playoffs came. Then they folded faster than a Chinese woman at a laundromat. While the Blackhawks have used drafting to build a roster, the Sharks have acquired free agent talent namely, Thornton, Heatley, Blake, and Boyle. While that formula hadn’t produced much in the past the addition of youngster Setoguchi and the phenomenal play of Pavelski helped the Sharks get over the proverbial hump. It also helps that Thornton and Marleau have possibly shaken off their usual dreadful playoff performances. And when I say dreadful I mean more dreadful than a Lybian airline pilot (too soon?).
As for the series itself I see it going the full seven if the Sharks of this year show up and not the duds of years past. As for deciding a winner my personal bias comes in. I don’t care for Chicago, its denizens, and its teams. If Michael Jordan was on fire I wouldn’t cross the street to piss on him. Speaking of getting pissed on thank God Kim Kardashian has nothing to do with the NHL. Not enough brothers I suppose. Random tangent aside I pick the Sharks in seven. The Blackhawks are on the cusp but their youth will bite them in the end (see their two losses to the Canucks).
Of course my prediction could be wrong. But then again looking back at Cleet’s picks during the NCAAs I can’t possibly do worse.