NHL Western Conference Playoff Pants Party

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OK, here's the second half of copyranter's NHL Playoff preview. We still haven't figured out what channel most of these games are on, by the way.

If you have your own predictions, or you just want to try out new ways to spell Russian names, try 'em in the comments. After the jump, the preview.



Nashville Predators vs. San Jose Sharks. First, off, neither of these cities should even have ice hockey rinks, let alone teams. But, this rematch from last year should be a tight battle of forwards. Nashville's got future hall-of-famers Peter Forsberg and Paul Kariya, plus the excellently named Czech Martin Erat. San Jose's got mighty Joe Thornton, Billy Guerin, Patrick Marleau and the excellently named Jonathan Cheechoo from the excellently named town of Moose Factory, Ontario. Two high-scoring teams means, I believe, it will come down to whose goalie is the shakiest. Pick: Sharks. Better sweaters.


Vancouver Canucks vs. Dallas Stars. Sedin brothers and yawn? I have very little to say about this series, other than the North Stars should've stayed in Minnesota. I've always liked Robert Luongo. On some awful Florida teams — night after night, year after year — he faced a shitload of rubber and hardly ever had a bad game. In this, his first playoff appearance, I think he will win the series for Vancouver nearly by himself, while Stars goalie Marty Turco's playoff demons will again be tap-dancing around in his head. Added note: Dallas's Sergei Zubov is a superb defensemen whom the Rangers should have never ever traded.

Anaheim Ducks vs. Minnesota Wild. The Wild is one the worst sports team names ever, maybe just behind the Vermont Frost Heaves. And Jacques Lemaire, one of the most exciting players ever, is the most boring coach in NHL history. Watching his teams obediently sit back, trap and lock the fuck out of opponents is excruciating. But with all the offensive talent the Ducks have, especially on D, maybe they can out-skate Lemaire's proletariat system. But I hate to say it...Wild in 7.

Detroit Red Wings vs. Calgary Flames. Ah, here's some intrigue. #1 vs. #8. The Motor City vs. oil-soaked Cowtown. Hasek vs. Kiprusoff between the pipes. At times, the Red Wings looked like the team that won the Stanley Cup three times between 1997 and 2002. But Flames captain Jarome Iginla is a playoff player, while Detroit's leader scorer, Pavel Datsyuk, has netted three goals in 42 post-season games. Look for 45-year-old Detroit backliner Chris Chelios to play 45 minutes a game. Somebody in 6-7. I can't call it.