Friday, April 21, 2006

NHL/NBA Playoff Picks

The quest for the double-championship for the D begins tonight with game one of the Wings/Oilers. Tonight starts the best six weeks of the year (the pinnacle of which is next Saturday…NFL Draft all day, Wings at 3, Pistons at 8). I want to see a double parade, with Rasheed Wallace holding up the Stanley Cup, and Stevie Y wearing Sheed’s championship belt. Tonight starts the chance to salvage what has been the worst year of my sports-watching life.

The NHL Eastern Conference Retrospective will probably be up later today (as long as it stays quiet at work). This has to be done today though, so it got priority.

The picks, without a ton of analysis because frankly it’s too much work to do an NHL and NBA playoff preview. Let’s get the picks down on paper and the analysis will come later:

NHL Round One:
Detroit over Edmonton in 5—
Too much fire power, better goaltending.
Dallas over Colorado in 4—Colorado is the weakest team in the tournament, Dallas is solid all around.
Calgary over Anaheim in 7—Battle of the 2 best goalies in the conference, Kipper is a little bit better.
San Jose over Nashville in 6—With Vokoun, this is the premier matchup in the first round, without him I don’t expect SJ to have a ton of trouble getting by the Preds.
Ottawa over Tampa in 7—With Hasek they breeze through this series. I don’t think Tampa has the goaltending to pull the upset though. Too much Alfredsson/Heatley/Spezza.
Carolina over Montreal in 7—Huet makes this a better series than expected.
Devils over Rangers in 6—The Devils are rolling, the Rags are struggling, Brodeur is the only legit playoff goalie in the East with Hasek’s absence.
Sabres over Flyers in 6—I don’t trust Philly’s goaltending at all.

NHL Round Two:
Detroit over San Jose in 6—
Lidstrom and the Draper line shut down Thornton and Cheechoo. Not enough behind them for the Sharks.
Dallas over Calgary in 7—Great series ends in an overtime thriller (and I waffled about which team would win). Not enough scoring depth on the Flames.
Ottawa over Buffalo in 6—I hate Ryan Miller.
New Jersey over Carolina in 7—Should be an outstanding series. I like Brodeur over Gerber.

NHL Round Three:
Wings over Dallas in 6—
They still have Turco’s number, and the Stars won’t get the benefit of seeing Ozzie in net or having shootouts.
New Jersey over Ottawa in 6—I just don’t see Ray Emery in the Finals. If Hasek comes back, we might have to revisit this one.

Stanley Cup Finals:
Wings over New Jersey in 6—
Revenge for 1995. The Captain goes out on top.

NBA Round One:

Pistons over Bucks in 4—Get that train rolling right out of the gate.
Heat over Bulls in 6—Chicago is playing well, and Miami hasn’t been overly impressive as of late, but there’s still not enough to overcome a team that will probably have the two best players in any series they play in.
New Jersey over Indiana in 5—The Pacers aren’t a good team and New Jersey has been on a role lately.
Cleveland over Washington in 7—Lebron/Arenas should be a great matchup, and in the end James does the Pistons a favor and takes out the Wizards.
San Antonio over Sacramento in 5—Artest might get them a win, maybe two, but the Champs aren’t going down in Round 1.
Phoenix over LA in 6—I don’t think Kobe alone is enough to beat the Suns. He’ll make it fun though.
Nuggets over Clippers in 7—When in doubt, take the team with the best player.
Mavericks over Grizzlies in 5—Sets up the 2nd Round Conference Final matchup.

NBA Round Two:
Detroit over Cleveland in 5—
LeBron makes it interesting, but they ain’t winning in Detroit and I don’t think they take two in a row from the Pistons in Cleveland. It won’t go more than 6.
New Jersey over Miami in 6—Wade/Shaq vs. Jefferson/Kidd/Carter should be fun to watch. I’ll take 3 over 2.
San Antonio over Dallas in 7—Home court makes all the difference. Great series.
Phoenix over Denver in 5—PHX gets some time to rest while SA/Dallas slug it out.

NBA Round Three:
Detroit over New Jersey in 6—
I took 3 over 2, but I’ll take 5 over 3.
San Antonio over Phoenix in 7—Back to back slugfests for the defending Champions, setting up a rematch of last year’s Finals.

NBA Championship:
Detroit over San Antonio in 6—This year, the Pistons have home court, bitches. Detroit goes up 2-0, comes back home up 3-2 and takes care of business in Game 6. The rebounding edge Detroit had in both games this year isn’t going away. And Flip’s team is hungry.

Am I a homer? Sure! And I feel more confident in the Pistons than I do in the Wings. But at the same time, the Wings just went a quarter of the season without losing in regulation. Who is going to beat them four out of 7? If you answered “Mikka Kiprusoff” I might listen. It’s going to be a fun ride.


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