Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First Team Into Round 3: The Blackhawks

Nugman is smarter than I am.

At least about hockey.

You folks don't see the little backstage assists I get from Nugs on an almost daily basis. For example - he had to remind me early on, that I had mixed up the NFL's Carolina Panthers with the NHL's Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes. He hoped I was joking. I wasn't - I just forgot. And I not only had to fix the story - I had to redo this little logo picture I did to replace a large cat with a swirly wind thing. My bad.

He also had to let me know that Ovechkin was not a human puck vortex - but in fact one of the best players in hockey. I was looking at stats - and looking at all the shots he took and the low goals/shot ratio - without realizing that (1) Ovie is creating all those shots (2) Ovie is the focus of the entire defense whenever he's on the ice, and (3) Ovie gets a ton of assists because he draws coverage and then can make great passes to the open skater.

Like I said - Nugman is hockey-smart. Dave Pucks - not so much. So forgive me for tooting the home horn a little for a small advantage in the playoff series prognostication department. Keep in mind that Nugs was depressed from the Ranger's sudden departure, possibly hung-over, and his heart wasn't in those picks. Still...

Nugs had picked Vancouver in 6. I had Chicago in 6 as well. Early on it was all Nugs. The Canucks had a 2-1 series lead and OT in game four.

But my pick, the Blackhawks struck back - winning three straight, becoming the first team to reach the NHL's round three, and somehow, proving Dave Pucks a better prognosticator than the (usually smarter) Nugman in at least one playoff series. It should be noted, however that I said Boston in 5 and they are down 3-2 - while Nugman said Boston in 7 - which can still come true and is more correct that my pick no matter what happens from here.

While were talking about streaks, when the Caps have faced playoff elimination games - they have now won 4 consecutive times this year. And if you include last year they've won 6 of 7 elimination games. That's an odd and compelling stat. Teams can only face elimination games by falling behind in playoff series - so it's a dubious honor - but it does show how clutch they have been when they needed to.

Tonight the Hurricanes (that's Carolina - which I remember now) have another chance to oust the Boss-town Bruins. And the Red Wings can finish off the Ducks in 6 tonight (hitting Nug's and my prediction right on the duck-bill)

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