Friday, April 21, 2006


Pre-Playoff Odds and Ends

A string of random topics before the NHL Playoffs get under way

Egy - Maggie the Monkey and a bunch of 'experts' who wish they were as good as her made their playoff predictions on TSN last night. (Linkage). Darren Pang picked the exact same winnahs as I did, while Maggie picked the Lightning to upset the Senators.

Still, I'd be wary of trusting Maggie this time around. IIRC, she used to stop the wheel herself on the team she wanted to pick. This time around, the wheel is like the one on The Price is Right, and it keeps spinning until it stops under its own power. Methinks the heads at TSN don't want Maggie to make them look bad, so they are screwing the process and denying us the true psychic abilities of Maggie.

Kettõ - Some good news for St. Louis Blues fans as the Blues won the NHL draft lottery and will pick 1st overall in Vancouver. Considering how the Penguins won the Crosby sweepstakes, it's only fitting that the Blues get a bit of luck as they try and rebuild from scratch.

The Top 14 picks:

1. St. Louis Blues
2. Pittsburgh Penguins
3. Chicago Blackhawks
4. Washington Capitals
5. Boston Bruins
6. Columbus Blue Jackets
7. New York Islanders
8. Phoenix Coyotes
9. Minnesota Wild
10. Florida Panthers
11. Los Angeles Kings
12. Atlanta Thrashers
13. Toronto Maple Leafs
14. Vancouver Canucks

Három - More good news for the Blues as they exercised the option on Keith Tkachuk, who doesn't exercise all that much himself. Tkachunk will get $3.8mil next season, which is a relative bargain for the Blues. This makes it a lot easier to sign some other free agents (if they wish) and even trade the lunk.

Négy - Big Daddy Eric @ Off Wing Opinion is holding a contest for us bloggers to predict the eventual Stanley Cup winner.

It's time to consult my brain and make my pick.


Hello? Brain?

"Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold for the next available representative"

Oh, for the love of Pavol!

I believe the winner will come out of the West, because we are the best. It's between Calgary, Detroit, and San Jose.
Calgary? Sucky offence
Detroit? Soft forwards and too many Swedes
San Jose? That's my choice. They'll beat the Ottawa Senators in the finals to bring the cup out to the West Coast for once.

Hat - Jeff, a reader and café manager from Vancouver, asks the following:
"Does Bertuzzi get an invite to the World Championships, and does he take

Bertuzzi does not get an invite to the World Championships if Jes Gõlbez runs the team, for obvious reasons. On the other hand, the officials running Team Canada aren't always the smoothest jars of peanut butter.

Still, I can't see Bertuzzi getting an invite after the awful season he's had and the crappiness he showed in Torino. The Canadians are often conscious of the 'team' concept, and a guy like Bertuzzi was Gretzky's pet pick more than anything.

"If he says no, does he ever get another invite from Gretzky?"

Plenty of players say NO to the WCs and get invited to future tournaments. If Bertuzzi somehow becomes the dominant player he once was, you can bet future Team Canada GMs would want to invite him. I don't think they'll even bother asking Bertuzzi, knowing what his answer would be and that Bertuzzi probably just wants a break from it all.

I believe that it's pretty much a guarantee that any player who was in Torinto will not go to Riga. Traveling quite far around the world twice in one year for an international tournament, especially the 'minor' WCs (in the eyes of most Canadians) is not something you'd expect the Canadian players to do. Even Captain Canada himself (Ryan Smyth) may decline the WCs once his Oilers are swept by the Red Wings.

I'd expect a very young team, full of players like Sidney Crosby who are enthusiastic about the process and the chance to play for Team Canada's senior team for the first or second time. Already, we have the following players confirmed:

Goaltenders Alex Auld of the Vancouver Canucks and Marc Denis of the Dinner Jackets.
Forwards Patrice Bergeron and Brad Boyes of the Boston Bruins, Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kyle Calder of the Chicago Blackhawks and Mike Comrie of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Also, defensemen Brad Stuart and Nick Schultz are expected to join the squad in the near future.

Hopefully Rick Nash will be able to join the club, but he might have to decline due to injury.

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