Saturday, April 14, 2007

2007 NHL Playoffs Recap and Predictions - Apr 14th

So much for last nights predictions. The only one I got right was Nashville over San Jose.

Each day during the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs I will write a recap of each game from a fantasy perspective and make some predictions for the games to be played that day. I will also link to the official game recaps at

Tonights Games:

New York Rangers at Atlanta Thrashers, game begins at 3:00 PM EST
Tough call but I expect the Thrashers to pull this one out at home. Preview
Pittsburgh Penguins at Ottawa Senators, game begins at 3:00 PM EST
Another tough call, originally I thought that Pittsburgh would split these games but after the pasting they got in game 1 I have to go with Ottawa tonight Preview
Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils, game begins at 7:00 PM EST
Brodeur again, the Devils win. Preview
New York Islanders at Buffalo Sabres, game begins at 7:30 PM EST
The Sabres take game 2 in grand fashion Preview

Recaps Day 3:

Nashville Predators 5 (1) San Jose Sharks 2 (1) : The Sharks came out looking for revenge on the Hartnell knee on knee collision with Cheechoo and things got worse from their. Alexander Radulov was ejected from the game in the second period as he elbowed Steve Bernier into the boards. The Sharks were unable to score during the 5 minute major. The Preds made a statement and took game 2 of the series to even things up.

Dallas Stars 2 (1) Vancouver Canucks 0 (1) : Who knew? Marty Turco put some ghosts to rest as he pitched shutout last night to even up the series with the Canucks. Good news for Vancouver as Dman Brent Sopel returned to the lineup after missing game one because he hurt his back picking up a cracker. Insert your own redneck joke here, I'm not going to risk pulling an Imus.

Minnesota Wild 2 (0) Anaheim Ducks 3 (2) : The Ducks win at home again but this game was much closer. Look for the Wild to come out swinging in game 3. Teemu Selanne notches another point and Francois Beauchemin gets two power play goals to win this one.

Past playoff posts:

Round 1 Predictions and Hot Players
Complete Playoff Predictions

Friday, April 13, 2007

2007 NHL Playoffs Recap and Predictions - Apr 13th

I forgot to mention that Alexei Yashin would be invisible during the Islanders playoff series versus the Sabres. Why? Quite simply because I didn't notice he was even on their roster. After last night I wonder if he knows that he was supposed to show up?

Each day during the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs I will write a recap of each game from a fantasy perspective and make some predictions for the games to be played that day. I will also link to the official game recaps at

Tonights Games:

Nashville Predators defeat the San Jose Sharks, game begins at 8 PM EST - Preview
Forsberg takes control of this one
Vancouver Canucks defeat the Dallas Stars, game begins at 9:00 PM EST - Preview
Luongo again, the Sedin twins provide the offense
Minnesota Wild defeat the Anaheim Ducks, game begins at 10:30 PM EST - Preview
Backstrom stays solid and Marian Gaborik shows his face

Recaps Day 2:

New York Rangers 4 Atlanta Thrashers 3: As expected the Rangers get the upset. Keep an eye on this one as the Thrashers have enough forward talent to steal this. Kari Lehtonen was not sharp at all. Nylander exploded for 3 points between Jagr and Straka. I missed him in my previews and I shouldn't have. Sorry. If I thought that the Rangers would get out of Round 2 I would have put him on one of my rosters. Where were the big guns for the Thrashers last night? Hossa, Kozlov and Kovalchuk were all held pointless and looked overmatched at times by the Rangers D.

Detroit Red Wings 4 Calgary Flames 1: The Wings came out hard and took the physical game to the Flames. If that keeps up the Flames will be out in 5 games. Alex Tanguay showed up and ruined Hasek's shutout bid with 5:05 left in the game (BASTARD!). Lidstrom and Datsyuk each got a goal and an assist. Told you that Datsyuk would show up, that was his first point in 26 playoff games. Let's hope he keeps it up. Zetterberg skated well and had a few chances but didn't notch any points. Don't worry, he will.

New Jersey Devils 5 Tampa Bay Lightning 3: The outcome was expected, the nature of it was not. Brodeur looked ordinary and Holmqvist gave it all away in a high-scoring (when Brodeur is involved an 8 goal game is huge!) affair. The EGG line of New Jersey put up 6 points and were involved in 3 of the Devils 5 goals. Check out Zach Parise with two goals and the game winner.

Buffalo Sabres 4 New York Islanders 1: The Sabres dominated this game from the get go, although the Isles did show some promise over the last half of the game. Dubie truly did get smoked last night in Buffalo. Not to many 4th line centers make an impact in fantasy hockey, but Tim Connolly proved that he is the exception to that rule. My excuse for not pointing him out prior to the start of this series is that he missed 80 games due to the concussion he suffered in last years playoffs and I quite simply forgot how effective he was quarterbacking the Buffalo power play. Campbell scored two goals and the PP unit of Chris Drury, Dainus Zubrus, Daniel Briere, Brian Campbell and Tim Connolly look positively frightening.

2007 NHL Playoffs Recap and Predictions - Apr 12th

I wrote this post yesterday but had some unexpected technical difficulties trying to get it online. To top it all off my cable box to my big screen crapped out as well and I was unable to watch anything but the end of the Nashville vs San Jose game. At least I was able to get to sleep instead of watching the Vancouver - Dallas marathon.

Each day during the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs I will write a recap of each game from a fantasy perspective and make some predictions for the games to be played that day. Below are the recaps from Day 1 of the quest for the cup, I cut out the predictions for Day 2 since those games have already occured (I picked all 4 winners but was surprised a little by Atlanta's performance).

Day 1:

Ottawa Senators 6 Penguins 3: As expected the Sens roll over top of the Pens and the shaky youth of Pittsburgh shows through. Looking at the back-end I predicted that Redden would be a disappointment and that Preissing would step up, they are even at the moment but look at Joe Corvo with 2 assists. Who new?

San Jose Sharks 5 Nashville Predators 4 in OT: Uh oh, the Sharks lost Jonathan Cheechoo just minutes into the 2nd period, tough loss for the Sharks, even tougher for your playoff fantasy team. Thank god I advised you to stay away from anyone in this series. You did stay away didn't you? Except for Shea Weber who put up 2 assists.

Vancouver Canucks 5 Dallas Stars 4: 4 overtime periods, wow. And of course they had to put up 9 goals between them. Some very spread out scoring here, only the Sedin twins, Naslund and Ohlund managed a multi point effort.

Anaheim Ducks 2 Minnesota Wild 1: Close game, I expected Backstrom to play well and he did, the front lines of Anaheim are just to talented. Selanne gets a goal for the Ducks and Demitra decided to show up for game 1, let's see if he is there for game 2. I do have one question though, where is Marian Gaborik?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

NHL Playoffs - Round 1 Players to Watch

The 2007 Stanley Cup Playoffs are under way this evening with 4 games on tap.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Ottawa Senators @ 7:00 pm
San Jose Sharks vs Nashville Predators @ 8:00 pm
Dallas Stars vs Vancouver Canucks @ 10:00 pm
Minnesota Wild vs Anaheim Ducks @ 10:30 pm

In round 1 of the NHL playoffs there are several tough matchup's which should produce some great games and some great scoring. I already went over my 1st round predictions here, today I will take a look at who I think will be the top 5 performers at each position as well as the disappointments, surprises and players/teams to stay away from in round 1.

Centers: I see the Penguins and Senators series as the one which will produce the most points. Sidney Crosby and Jason Spezza will probably lead all centers in scoring through round 1.

My top 5 Center Picks:
Sidney Crosby
Jason Spezza
Daniel Briere
Vincent Lecavalier
Chris Drury

Disapointments: Demitra almost completely disappeared through the last few weeks of the regular season, expect that to continue into the playoffs. Alexei Yashin will continue his lackluster play from past seasons as well.

Surprises: Pavel Datsyuk is not known as a playoff performer, expect that to change this season as he feels he has something to prove. Also keep an eye on Daymond Langkow in Calgary.

Wingers: Back to the Sens vs Penguins series, I look for Dany Heatley to continue his dominance here closely followed by Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay.

Stay Away From: New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders, the Devils won’t score and the Islanders won’t last.

My top 5 Winger Picks:
Dany Heatley
Martin St. Louis
Marian Hossa
Jonathan Cheechoo
Henrik Zetterberg

Disappointments: Ryan Smith of the Islanders is a clutch performer, but I see the Sabres knocking out the Islanders in 5 games which limits his production in round 1. The Canucks Markus Naslund has had a let down season, expect it to continue into the playoffs.

Surprises: Thomas Vanek will likely play on the Sabres 3rd line but he will put up some good numbers as will Jason Pominville. Paul Kariya in Nashville will have a resurgence as the Predators prevail in 7 over the Sharks.

Defensemen: There are some obvious choices here, Niklas Lidstrom, Sergei Gonchar and Chris Pronger will be at the top of this list.

Stay Away From: Alex Tanguay may show up, he may not. Jaromir Jagr, he will probably show up but who can guess who else on the Rangers will join him.

My top 5 Defensemen Picks:
Niklas Lidstrom
Sergei Gonchar
Chris Pronger
Sergei Zubov
Scott Niedermayer

Disappointments: Wade Redden will perform, but not at the level you are looking for from him and the Senators and Marek Zidlicky will continue his subpar season on the blue line.

Surprises: Brian Campbell will push the Dman scoring leaders and Tom Preissing will step up for the Senators in place of Redden.

Stay Away From: Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo, the Canucks scoring issues make them a scary bet. Matt Carle, tough series to call, could be a barn burner or a low scoring affair. Don’t gamble on any defensmen from either San Jose or Nashville… except maybe Shea Weber.

Goaltenders: Domink Hasek will remain healthy and single handedly pull the Red Wings over the Flames in Round 1. Expect this series to be low scoring as Hasek and Kiprusoff combine for a healthy number of shutouts.

My top 5 Goaltender Picks:
Dominik Hasek
Miikka Kiprusoff
J.S. Giguere
Roberto Luongo
Ryan Miller

Disappointments: Kari Lehtonen will crack under the pressure of his first NHL Playoffs, as will the rest of the Thrashers team. Ray Emery, yes he will win 4 games but his GAA and Save % will be horrendous.

Surprises: Johan Holmqvist will put up some good numbers, especially GAA and Save %, but will eventually lose against Brodeur and only get two wins. Niklas Backstrom will continue his strong play but it is not enough against Giguere and the Ducks, he will get 3 wins and probably 1 shutout though.

Stay Away From: The Nashville vs San Jose series. I picked Nashville to win the west but it could just as easily be San Jose, add that to the uncertain goaltenders issues in both cities and you want to stay away from both teams. Also keep away from the New Jersey vs Tampa Bay series, this is also a tough one to call and with the firepower up front for Tampa you could see Brodeur get shelled a few times.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sports Blogs go to War with ESPN Radio Host

In case you missed it an ESPN radio host named Colin Cowherd (is that really his name or a description of his dating preferences?) may have made a wee mistake in the past week.

Colin Nerfherder apparently stole a story idea from a wee little sports blog. The Real Wonderlic Test was a comedic spoof written by the guys over at The M Zone that this ESPN Shrutebag (who the hell came up with that nickname?) passed off as his own on his radio show.

Bad enough eh? Nope, it gets worse.

Mr. "I am a respected Sports Broadcaster DAMMIT" Cowherd got upset when he was called on his blatant plagiarism and called for a DDOS attack on The Big Lead.

The Big Lead is a blog that occasionally regulary criticizes ESPN and other traditional Sports reports when they screw up a story and for some reason they took the brunt of Colin "I was in a hurry!" Cowherd's wrath.

The Big Lead was knocked out of service for approximately 48 hours but has come back online (after having to upgrade to a new hosting service). You can read up on their responses to the hot air heifer here:
Do it Again and the Kitten Dies
On Cowherd, Our Site, and the Ombudsman's Swift Response

Deadspin chimes in with a great synopsis of the brouhaha and Kissing Suzy Kolber has an interesting collection of new nicknames (Shrutebag may have originated here) for everyone's favourite bovine-like radio personality.

Perhaps my favorite of the day however is over at Girls Gone Sports where they have decided that the term 'Asshat' is a fitting addition to our everyday sports terminology. (Note to self, do not piss off the ladies at Girls Gone Sports... even if they can't tell ice hockey from field hockey)

Why am I writing about this? What does it have to do with Hockey?

Cuz, and it doesn't. So there.

But damn did it make me laugh today. Hat's off to all the sports bloggers out there who helped stand up to the man. Sorry I caught on to the message a little late but here's my two cents (unfortunately it's in Canadian currency so it's really only worth 1.5 cents US).

Stanley Cup Playoffs - My Predictions

Buffalo Sabres win the Stanley Cup Playoffs over the Nashville Predators in 6 games.

So today I am going to take a look at the Stanley Cup Playoffs and lay out my predictions for the outcome of every round and who will win the cup this year. Let's see how far off I can be.

Tomorrow I will review Round 1 of the playoff's and pick who I see as the top performers at each position in relation to their first round opponents. I will do the same thing as each round ends until the finals.

Western Conference Matchups

Round 1: one upset with Forsberg and the Predators ousting the Sharks in 7 games.
Detroit Red Wings vs Calgary Flames - Detroit in 6 games, Hasek outduels Kiprusoff
Anaheim Mighty Ducks vs Minnestota Wild - Ducks in 7 games, front lines from Anaheim wear down Backstrom
Vancouver Canucks vs Dallas Stars - Vancouver in 6, Luongo is just too good
Nashville Predators vs San Jose Sharks - Nashville in 7, Vokoun and Mason combine to pull this one out

Round 2: the Predators remind the Red Wings why they haven't smelled success in a few years in the playoffs.
Detroit Red Wings vs Nashville Predators - Nashville in 7, Detroit runs out of gas in round 2
Anaheim Might Ducks vs Vancouver Canucks - Ducks take it in 7, Luongo is good but Vancouver just doesn't have the firepower up front

Round 3: Predators move on to the final as the Ducks run out of gas.
Anaheim Mighty Ducks vs Nashville Predators - Preds in 6, the Ducks run out of gas after two 7 game series and Forsberg makes good on the Preds investment

Eastern Conference Matchups

Round 1: the Rangers upset the Thrashers, New York has the experience.
Buffalo Sabres vs New York Islanders - Sabres in 5, Dubie gets smoked in the playoffs
New Jersey Devils vs Tampa Bay Lightning - Devils in 6, don't bet against Brodeur
Atlanta Thrashers vs New York Rangers - Rangers in 7, IF Lundqvist stays hot and Jagr shows up
Ottawa Senators vs Pittsburgh Penguins - Sens in 7, tough battle but Emery trumps Fleury, barely

Round 2: Senators wash out against Brodeur
Buffalo Sabres vs New York Rangers - Sabres in 5, I'm bullish on the Sabres this year.
New Jersey Devils vs Ottawa Senators - Devils in 6, Brodeur is too good for Sens top guns

Round 3: Young and fast, the Sabres are too much for Brodeur and the Devils
Buffalo Sabres vs New Jersey Devils - Sabres in 6, sorry Brodeur, now is the time to bet against you

Stanley Cup Final

I can't see the old and fragile Predators (Kariya, Forsberg) being able to keep up with the youth and talent that Buffalo brings to the table this year. Thomas Vanek is the MVP of the playoffs for Buffalo.

Buffalo Sabres vs Nashville Predators - Sabres in 6, Forsberg runs out of gas and Kariya is no where to be seen in the final

Monday, April 9, 2007

NHL Weekly Wrapup - Who's Hot and Who's Not

Well the regular season is over and the playoff match ups are set and now you are thinking about how to set your rosters for your upcoming Playoff Pool. So this weeks Hot or Not will only focus on the teams that made the playoffs. So what if Joe Sakic leads all centers with 2 goals, 7 assists and 2 game winners in the last week, the Avalanche missed the playoffs so we won't matter in your upcoming pool. In fact, of the top 3 scoring centers in the last week of the NHL regular season (Sakic, Koivu and Stastny) none of them will be going on to play in the post season.

Stanley Cup Final Prediction: Buffalo Sabres vs Nashville Predators

Centers: Derek Roy is on a 6 game point streak with 4 goals and 3 assists in that span including two game winners. The Sabres and Senators have to be favorites coming out of the Eastern conference and you might do well stocking up on a few of their roster players.

My top picks: Daniel Briere and Peter Forsberg

Derek Roy: 4 goals, 1 assist, 2 GWG
Joe Thornton: 1 goal, 4 assists
Stephan Yelle: 1 goal, 4 assists
David Legwand: 3 goals, 1 assist, 1 GWG
Jason Spezza: 3 goals, 1 assist

Who's Not: Evgeni Malkin. Not only is it unlikely that the Penguins will get past the first round but Malkin closed out the season with pointless games and only 4 shots over that stretch. Yes he is a future fantasy star, but not in this years playoffs.

Wingers: The hottest winger in the NHL last week was Thomas Vanek with 4 goals and 3 assists and considering that I predict the Sabres to reach the finals this year that also makes him my top pick at the wing for your playoff pool. In Vanek's last 6 games he managed 6 goals, 4 assists, 1 GWG and 4 multi point games. He is a rising star in the NHL and he should be high on your list of draft targets in this years playoffs. He could be a good middle round steal as the big names fly off the board early.

My Top Picks: Thomas Vanek and Dany Heatley

Thomas Vanek: 4 goals, 3 assists, 1 GWG
Mikael Samuelsson: 2 goals, 3 assists
Dany Heatley: 2 goals, 3 assist
Daniel Alfredsson: 2 goals, 3 assist
Marian Gaborik: 1 goal, 4 assists

Who's Not: Pavol Demitra has not tallied a point in 5 straight games and sat out the Wild's last contest with a strained leg muscle. Considering that the Wild would have to pull off a huge upset over the Ducks to get out of the first round I would stay away from just about anyone from their roster.

Defensemen: Tom Poti put up 1 goal and 4 assists last week as the Islanders squeaked into the playoffs with a shootout win over the New Jersey Devils. Don't get too excited, they won't make it out of the first round.

My Top Picks: Brian Campbell and Chris Pronger

Tom Poti: 1 goal, 4 assists
Sami Salo: 1 goal, 2 assists
Kurtis Foster: 1 goal, 2 assists
Marc-Andre Bergeron: 3 assists
Joe Corvo: 3 assists

Who's Not: Shea Weber is currently on a 5 game pointless streak, I might still recommend him as a later round pickup just because he is a key component of the Predators power play.

Goaltenders: Tough pick here actually. Niklas Backstrom posted three wins and two shutouts in the past week but Wade Dubielewicz single handedly dragged the Islanders into the playoffs with 4 wins. I gotta give it to Dubie just because he is the 3rd string goalie.

My Top Picks: Ryan Miller and Martin Brodeur (because you should never bet against Brodeur)

Wade Dubielewicz: 4 wins
Niklas Backstrom: 3 wins, 2 shutouts
Ryan Miller: 3 wins, 2 shutouts
Martin Brodeur: 2 wins
Tomas Vokoun: 2 wins

Who's Not: With 2 losses and 1 win last week Ray Emery was looking a little shaky. His only win came in a 6-3 drubbing of the Boston Bruins and he was out-dueled by Marc-Andre Fleury who he will face in the first round of the playoffs.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Leaf fans pray for Brodeur's swollen head

Last night I posted a story about the upcoming New York Islanders vs New Jersey Devils game today and the implications that it has for the continuation of the Toronto Maple Leafs season into the playoffs.

I had heard and read hints that the New Jersey Devils were planning to sit many of their star players today in order to give them some extra rest prior to the playoffs since the game against the Islanders meant nothing in respect to either the regular or post season.

Well, things have changed.

Martin Brodeur holds the record for the most goaltender wins in a single season at 48, but as of last night he holds that record in tandem with Roberto Luongo. Who incidentally grew up a mere stones throw from the Brodeur home in St-Leonard, Quebec. Luongo and the Canucks play Phoenix tonight and I am sure that everyone is willing to bet that Vancouver will get Luongo the win.

That means Brodeur will lose his record to Luongo later today.

So Leaf fans, pray today and pray hard that Marty Brodeur's ego gets the best of him and he wants to play, and win, against the New York Islanders today in order to keep ahold of this NHL record. If he does, and they do, the Leafs make the playoffs. God help us all.

On a side note, this Leafs fan is pulling for the New York Islanders, the sooner we realize that this team will never be good enough to win the Stanley Cup and gut it in order to rebuild the better.

Why? Three words. 2009, Julian Tavares (Editors Note: His name is John Tavares, not Julian! Julian Tavarez is a relief pitcher for the Boston Redsox). By 2009 we need to be one of the worst teams in the League so that we have a chance at Tavares. Probably the most exciting prospect in the NHL since some guy named Sidney Crosby (or Evgeni Malkin, or Jordan Staal, or Alexander Ovechkin).

So, GO Isles GO!

Starting Goalies in the NHL tonight Sunday, April 8

Below are the reported starters for Sunday night:

(Bold is my predicted winner, Italic is an uncertain starter)

Tonight is a tough night as few teams are left with meaningful games. The Islanders are trying to bull their way into the playoffs and both Roberto Luongo and Martin Brodeur have chances to singlehandedly own the record for most wins in a season (they are currently tied at 48). Bad news for the Islanders.

Blackhawks - Nikolai Khabibulin vs Stars - Mike Smith
Sabres - Ty Conklin vs Flyers - Martin Biron
Islanders - Wade Dubielewicz vs Devils - Martin Biron
Canucks - Roberto Luongo vs Coyotes - Mikael Tellqvist
Flames - Jamie McLennan vs Avalanche - Jose Theodore

How did I do last night?
20-28 for starters, 10-14 on winners

Ouch, horrible night on starters, it is tough to figure out who starts at the end of the year as players get rested for the playoffs.

Islanders - Wade Dubielewicz vs Flyers - Martin Biron Antero Niittymaki
Blackhawks - Nikola Khabibulin Patrick Lalime vs Red Wings - Domink Hasek Chris Osgood
Sabres - Ryan Miller vs Capitals - Olaf Kolzig
Coyotes - Curtis Joseph vs Kings - Mathieu Garon
Canucks - Roberto Luongo vs Sharks - Evgeni Nabokov
Lightning - Marc Denis Johan Holmqvist vs Thrashers - Kari Lehtonen
Panthers - Mikael Tellqvist Craig Anderson vs Hurricanes - John Grahame
Canadiens - Jaroslav Halak Cristobal Huet vs Maple Leafs - Andrew Raycroft
Senators - Ray Emery vs Bruins - Tim Thomas
Ducks - J.S. Giguere Ilya Bryzgalov vs Blue Jackets - Frederik Norrena
Rangers - Henrik Lundqvist vs Penguins - Marc-Andre Fleury
Blues - Jason Bacashihua Curtis Sanford vs Wild - Niklas Backstrom
Predators - Tomas Vokoun vs Avalanche - Peter Budaj
Oilers - Dwayne Roloson vs Flames - Miikka Kiprusoff