Now that you have your playoff beards and your Molson, you should be ready for some NHL Stanley Cup Playoff action. One of the reasons we love the NHL Playoffs is that it's possible for games to last eight hours. At the end, everyone dies. Fun to watch.
Because our hockey knowledge is scant, we've asked Mark Copyranter, of copyranter and the Lies Well Disguised column at Gawker, to preview each conference's playoff slate for us. After the jump, he walks us through, and if you're into the predictions business, let's hear yours in the comments.
Deadspin's first choice to preview the NHL playoffs was Christie Brinkley, but she was snapped up by NHL.com. And no wonder, with descriptive passages like this:
"These giants that become so graceful on the ice, they're all pure macho grace - amazing speed, lightning turns, and their size is amazing."
Take that 5'-5" Piano Man!
But you got me, copyranter, author of Gawker's weekly ad column Lies Well Disguised. My qualifications? I played hockey at a northeastern college...well, a shitty New Jersey club team. Also, I just spent Easter Eve with my MacBook on my lap listening to ex-Hab Murray Wilson's nearly incomprehensible radio color commentary of the Canadiens choke loss to the Maple Leafs. The Best power play in the league and 17 shorthanded goals...and they didn't make the playoffs. Fucking fuckups. Useless listless Kovalev, immobile Souray...
Here's your Habs-less Eastern Conference preview.
Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins. I'm rooting for the Kid and the Pens, because American hockey needs Sydney Crosby if it hopes to raise TV ratings from nothing to next to nothing. So, the series. I see no reason why the Senators will reverse their now trademark weak playoff legacy. Those red and black sweaters seem to give off an almost visible aura of vulnerability, don't they?
Pens in 6.
Atlanta Thrashers vs. New York Rangers. I hate the Rangers. I've been to scores of games at the Garden and their fans are the most idiotic mooks this side of Yankee Stadium. That said, the Rangers will beat the Thrashers and their very attractive emblem. New York plays defense. Mention "back check" to Marian Hossa, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Slava Kozlov and they're lifting up their jerseys. Talented and hot Blueshirts goalie Henrik Lundqvist will badly outplay Kari Lehtonen. Rangers in 6.
New Jersey Devils vs. Tampa Bay Lightning. Martin Brodeur is still only 34. And much like Patrick Roy did twice with the Canadiens, he can win a Cup all by himself. BUT, if he falters, even a bit, Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier are both electrifying and hard-working forwards. And the Devils again have to deal with a late-season coaching change. Any speculation here is moot. Brodeur hot, Devils win. Brodeur not, Lightning win. Added point: The Meadowlands arena, excepting when the Rangers are visiting, is the deadest venue in the league.
Buffalo Sabres vs. New York Islanders. Buffalo. Easily. This is the most mismatched series in the first round, so of course we'll all probably be wrong. Third-string goalie Wade Dubielewicz will stand on his head and Carol Alt playtoy Alexei Yashin will come flying out of his mock turtleneck and skate possessed. No. Buffalo has the best lineup of forwards in the league, a solid goalkeeper, and lots of motivation. Added note: If you've never heard him, legendary Sabre play-by-play man Rick Jeanneret calls every Buffalo goal like he's experiencing The Rapture.