Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Playoff Preview - Round 1 Sharks vs. Calgary

My expertise in hockey is not so much in trying to make predictions about how teams match-up against each other. The problem with using paper to make predictions is that paper never ends up playing hockey games. Emotional players who remember past games and hold grudges and can make amazing plays in the clutch play these games. Those men make making predictions so difficult and so very often wrong.

On paper, the Sharks look vastly superior to the Flames in almost every that counts. But as any Sharks fan will tell you, they remember how quickly Jerome Iginla can kick you in the crotch and make you cry. There are a handful of players on that team that can make the difference between winning and losing in the matter of moments. And of the teams the Sharks could have faced, there is no team that I would hate losing to than the Flames (there are others in the conference but we'd have to wait till later to face the Wings and the Ducks etc.). With all the former Sharks and Darryl Sutter (who I've held a grudge against for a long time), if this were to be a first round upset, it would be worse than making it deep and losing.

And yet, the performance of the Sharks in the last few weeks and the addition of Brian Campbell comfort me greatly. I have confidence that the Sharks will win this series, but I would be stupid to say it will be a walk in the park. While I would perfer a sweep, if you held twisted my arm, I think the Sharks will win the series in 5 games (I think that a short series coupled with other long series will hurt the momentum). But those will be 5 stress-filled, pillow cluthching games of internal terror.

In an act of put up or shut up, here are my first round predictions for the playoffs (I'll make predcitions each round in the effort not to upset the sports karma gods):

Detroit over Nashville in 5
San Jose over Calgary in 5
Minnesota over Colorado in 7
Anaheim over Dallas in 6
Montreal over Boston in 5
Pittsburgh over Ottawa in 6
Washington over Philadelphia in 6
New Jersey over New York in 7

I realize that taking all the top seeds looks like a cop-out, but none of the lower seeds have reall done anything to give me a great deal of confidence in them. Though I did give some serious thought to New York over the Devils, it was too hard not to pick Bordeur and co (but reall just Brodeur). Still, I would love to see a first round upset......provided it isn't the Sharks losing.

Sharks win kkthnxbai.

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