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Lock of the Century: Stanley Cup Finals Game 1

June 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Boston Bruins +175 @ Vancouver Canucks -210

Over/Under Total Goals 5.5

I am so excited for the Stanley Cup Finals I can hardly contain myself.  I am definitely pulling for the Bruins and I feel like they may just have enough horses to pull off the upset.  I have no clue on a winner tonight.  Tim Thomas is going to steal a game at some point, but that night isn’t tonight.  I do think both teams will get up and down and are capable of lighting the lamp.  I would definitely take the over in total goals.  I am feeling an exciting shootout of a game. 

NHL Finals Preview

May 31, 2011 1 comment

The Stanley Cup Finals are almost here.  The Vancouver Canucks haven’t won the Stanley Cup in their 40 years of being an NHL franchise and the Boston Bruins haven’t won the Cup since Bobby Orr lifted it in 1972.  One of these teams will end a long draught, and the Vancouver Canucks are the heavy favorite.  The series will ultimately come down a few key matchups and situations. 

Chara vs The Sedins

Both the Sedins and Chara have had their fair share of playoff woes.  This year has been different for Chara though.  Since recovering from an illness against the Montreal Canadiens, Chara has been in Norris Trophy form.  He has been the anchor of the Boston Bruins defense and did an admirable job against the Tampa Bay Lightning’s top scorers St. Louis, Lecavalier, and Stamkos.  The Sedins have largely struggled in the playoffs again this season.  Dave Bolland’s return mid way through round one caused a scoring draught that lasted through the second round series against Nashville.  Once the Sedins were clear of players like Bolland, Keith, Seabrook, Shea Weber, and Ryan Suter, they enjoyed more success.  Chara is on top of his game right now and an absolute beast of a man.  He will punish the Sedin Sisters and shut them down for the majority of the series. Advantage: Boston

Tim Thomas vs Roberto Luongo

One is an all-american underdog success story.  The other is a mentally weak, french Canadian grease ball.  Luongo has a history of epic collapses in the post-season and was even benched for Game 6 in the Chicago series after getting lit up in games 4 and 5.  Luongo will most likely have at least one game where he is shaky and that could be the difference in a tightly contested series.  Tim Thomas had arguably the greatest season ever by a goalie and should a unanimous selection for the Vezina Trophy.  He must out play Luongo for the Bruins to win the series.  Advantage: Boston

Special Teams:

This could be the deciding factor for the series.  The Vancouver Canucks power-play and penalty kill have had great success throughout the regular season and playoffs. The Bruins special teams have been awful.  Their penalty kill rate should probably have been better, but Tim Thomas has let in the occasional ill-timed soft goal.  The Bruins’ powerplay is converting at a horrendous 8% in the playoffs.  They are so desperate that have moved Chara in front of the net.  While I am not an advocate of taking Chara’s bomb of a slapshot off out of the equation, Luongo has had difficulty in the past dealing with over-sized bodies at the top of his crease. Advantage: Vancouver

X-Factors

Ryan Kesler is the key to the series for the Canucks.  I can easily envision Kesler exploding offensively against Boston, much the same way he did against Nashville. He won’t have as difficult of a task in this series.  Boston has great depth, but they don’t possess an elite offensive player like Toews or Joe Thornton that will occupy Kesler’s attention.  Given more freedom, Kesler could be a force at both ends and win the Conn Smythe Trophy

Tyler Seguin.  Seguin needs to make plays in this series for Boston to win.  The Canucks like to play a more open style which could create opportunities for Boston’s most talented player.  Seguin is the only Bruin capable of creating an opportunity out of thin air, and if Claude Julien allows him to get more than 5 minutes a game, Seguin could make enough special plays to give Boston an edge.

Final Analysis:

My heart says Bruins, my head says Canucks, and my balls say Bruins.  Usually when my balls and heart agree it’s a recipe for disaster…but I don’t care.  Bruins in 7. Suck it Canada.

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NHL Finals: “If I can change, and you can change, EVERYBODY CAN CHANGE!!!”

May 29, 2011 2 comments

Boston +200 vs Vancouver -240

Full disclosure, I have been rooting against the Boston Bruins all season, and all playoffs long.  Most of my hockey friends are die-hard Boston Bruin fans and I just don’t want to give them the satisfaction of winning the Stanley Cup.  Its going to be a miserable year if they talk half as much shit as I did after the Chicago Blackhawks won the Cup.  I also never really respected the Bruins.  I see them as a team devoid of high-end skill and superstar players. Chara is their best player, other than goalie Tim Thomas, and its hard to root for the NHL equivalent of Ivan Drago. Chara always seems to wilt in big moments, and I think that Tim Thomas covers a lot of their defensive deficiencies.  However, after watching these playoffs, I have grown to respect the Boston Bruins. They are so deep, especially at the center position.  Bergeron, Krejci, Kelly, and Campbell is as good of a group of centers as there is in the league. Then they also have Peverly and young phenom Tyler Seguin who are natural centers, but play the wing for Boston.  They are real blue-collar team who just tries to get in and out work the opposition with their fore-check.

Now that they have disposed of yet another team that I thought was more talented than the Bruins, I am left in a position of pulling for a “likeable” team against the team I hate most in the league.  Chicago needs Boston to save us from a Vancouver Stanley Cup.  So, here I am Boston, ready to apologize for hating and ready to jump on the bandwagon.  “If I can change, and you can change…EVERYBODY CAN CHANGE!!!” Go Bruins!

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PS: If Boston loses to Vancouver I will hate them forever for allowing that to happen.

PPS: The Blackhawks are really better than both of these teams. One more game out of Bolland and the Hawks probably beat Vancouver in 6 games and continue on to win the Stanley Cup.

Lock of the Century: NHL Edition

May 26, 2011 1 comment

Tampa Bay +130 @ Boston -150

 

Thank you JC Penney.  I was already to go back on my original claim of picking the Tampa Bay Lightning(especially because I picked them in 6), but thanks to the wicked jinx JC Penney put on the Boston Bruins I get to stick with my original prediction. 

Nice full-page ad in the Lowell Sun.  Guess they didn’t watch Game 6.  Or maybe they are going for the double jinx because they clearly bought this ad space before today.  Double jinx=me doubling down.  Tampa Bay is winning this game.  No questions asked.  The only question left is whether or not Tampa Bay can save humanity from the ginger twins lifting the Stanley Cup.  I pray yes.

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