NHL Playoff First Round Predictions

Ahhh. Spring. All baseball teams still have hope. The NBA, well that is dead to me until the Sonics come back. Most importantly the NHL playoffs! This is arguably the most intense and entertaining part of all sports. The end of the season was intense for a few of us West Coasters. There was playoff hockey for the last three weeks. The Eastern Conference had a mini race down the stretch as well. Both conferences look to be wide open but some one has to win so, I will tell you who. To be honest I would have had this out last night but, I spent the night Face Timing with Geoff Buchanan.


1 Vancouver Canucks versus 8 Los Angeles Kings

The Kings come in to this match up after crapping away the Pacific Division over the last week. Vancouver is coming in hot, winning 8 of 9 to close the season and claimed the Presidents’ Cup. The Kings have a great defense and guys that can put the puck in the net at any time. However, the Canucks have a great defense and put the puck in the net frequently.  Canucks in 6.

2 St. Louis Blues versus 7 San Jose Sharks

The Blues are young, fast and have great goldtending. They would be a problem for any team in a playoff series. However, the Sharks are my favorite team and I am picking them to win. This is strictly a biased pick. Sharks in 6.

3 Phoenix Coyotes versus 6 Chicago Blackhawks

Phoenix closed out winning games that had to and proved they can win with the pressure on. Mike Smith played out of his mind down the stretch. A hot goaltender can carry any team a long way in the playoffs. That being said the Blackhawks goaltending has been suspect and inconsistant all season. Chicago is going to have to rely on Hossa, Sharp, Kane and Toews to score a bunch. I don’t see that happening against a stingy Coyotes team. Coyotes in 5.

4 Nashville Predators versus Detroit Red Wings

Let me say this now, I hate the Red Wings, but in order to be the best, you have to beat the best. Nashville has a great goaltender in Pekka Rinne and good defense. They will need both to beat the best. Detroit makes the playoffs every year with thousand year old players who are extremely smart and skillful. This might be the best playoff series of the first round. I think the Preds get over the hump in a grueling series that has a few overtime games. Predators in 7.


1 New York Rangers versus 8 Ottawa Senators

I see this as the biggest mismatch of the playoffs. The Rangers are deep and talented with great goaltending. Ottawa held on a playoff spot but has been inconsistant all season. I expect Henrik Lundqvist to shut down the Senators. I will give Ottawa one game but that’s because I am feeling nice. Rangers in 5.

2 Boston Bruins versus 7 Washington Capitals

Boston is one of the most balanced teams in the NHL and the defending champs. Tim Thomas turns up his game this time of year and that is scary for anyone. The Capitals come in with almost no pressure compared to the last couple years. Ovechkin can turn any game and series. I can see the Caps giving the Bruins some real trouble but won’t have enough. Bruins in 6.

3 Florida Panthers versus 6 New Jersey Devils

Florida backed into a division championship but ended a decade long playoff drought. The Devils are here every year and the experience is going to prove to be the difference.  Panthers are just happy to be in. Devils will take advantage of that fact and dominate this series. Devils in 5.

4 Pittsburgh Penguins versus 5 Philadelphia Flyers

Everyone thinks this is going seven games. I think if Sid the Kid played the whole year, the Penguins would be the number one seed. The Flyers are going to have to step up huge on defense and slow down the incredible offense of Pittsburgh. Philly can win games in the series but don’t have enough fire
power to hang. Penguins in 6.

See you next round!

Bubba Watson: Just Like Magic – Hook Shot For the Win

If you missed this year’s Masters finish, you probably missed one of the best finishes since Tiger Woods was a double-digit handicap.  If you don’t know what a handicap is, insert “since Tiger was a baby.”

After missing two great opportunities close the books on his first Major, Bubba Watson snapped his drive right into the trees on the 10th hole, which was the second playoff hole between him and Louie Oosthuizen.  Luckily for Watson, he had no choice but to play a 30-yard hook over a large bunker, up the hill, around several trees, branches, patrons, and a camera tower to a green sloping away from him in the waning sunlight (to Grandmother’s house we go…) to keep his hopes alive.  A shot of this difficulty, let alone the magnitude, would make most golfers soil themselves in fear and hopelessness.  But Bubba is not most golfers.  In fact, Bubba is now a Masters champion – largely due to the fact he hit that improbable shot from roughly 160 yards to 12 feet.

From here to there...

Probably the most interesting thing about Bubba Watson is his approach to the game.

First of all, take a look at his clubs.  They’re backwards!!

Aside from being left-handed, his driver is PINK.  Not kind of pink or it has pink on it – it is completely pink.  He was asked about it in an interview once – his answer was “because I don’t care what people think of me. [I just want to play golf.]”  Talk about a guy with a sense of rationality.

He also said, “There are other things I do in my life.  I’ve got my mom…I’ve got my wife…I’ve got my friends; Who cares if I shoot 80 or 60? My life is still going to keep going…I need to feel how lucky I am and how blessed I am to be healthy and play golf for a living…”

Secondly, guess how many golf lessons this guys has taken in his life.  Since this is a one-sided conversation, I’ll just give you the answer – ZERO.  He has no swing coach, only a caddie – who probably is the one person to give Bubba any type of advice.

This is why I love golf.  Anyone can win at any time.  The machine that is Tiger Woods can end up 15 strokes off the lead while a guy whose swing is worse than a lot of junior golfers’ can win by hitting that shot.  I think The Lord, himself, would need a few tries to put it that close from there.  I guess The Lord wouldn’t have hooked it into the trees to begin with, but you get my point.

Bubba Watson is exactly what golf needs – an eccentric guy with a pink driver who makes music videos with similarly eccentric personalities (click on this link).  He’s a guy who says “golf is boring” in press conferences.  He’s a guy you want to root for, not because he’s the underdog, but because he’s a refreshing character in an otherwise stale and musty sport.

Now – since it’s finally sunny in Seattle, I’m going to go see if I can hit that same 30-yard hook.  I might be there for a while…

No Fair Weather Fans #8 4-8-12

We hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and what better to come back to work on Monday (or if you are a night-owl on Sunday) your podcast fetcher finding another episode of No Fair Weather Fans.  We are up to episode #8, which is 2 podcasts away from the ever important 10 podcast milestone.  Why is that a milestone you ask?  Well, you need to set goals, and setting one that is only 2 spots away feels good to complete when it is easy!  BUCKETS!

Podcast topics this week -

  • Bountygate
  • Seahawks New Uniforms
  • Mariners off to the right start

Sit back and relax with the sounds of the Soundmen to take you in, and also take you out.

Make sure to subscribe on iTunes, Zune – or even with the handy-dandy feed in the top right of the site.  If you don’t do any of that, you can always…


Ochocinco Tweets, In Case You Missed Them

On Friday, I got Chad Ochocinco a little upset. Some of his 3.3 million followers voiced their opinions as well. Here are two tweets that came from my original tweet to Mr. Ochocinco. The first is his response and the second is him apparently being told to watch his mouth by the NFL.

Sorry they are a little small.

Bountygate is really Lawsuitgate

I will say right from the start that the New Orleans Saints should be punished for bountygate, only because they were told to stop and didn’t. Now that I got that out of the way, I also think the punishment is way over the top and there is a reason for that. The NFL is trying to avoid future lawsuits by showing that it is an advocate for player safety and trying to look good for the current lawsuits against them.

Roger Goodell works for the owners not for the players. Therefore, he is going to punish people who aren’t owners with great severity. Many former players and current players have said that bounties have been going on for years. All of a sudden its a big deal? Yeah, because players are suing the NFL for not taking proper precautions against concussions and other head injuries.  Being an employee of the owners, Goodell needs to protect the owners money from these lawsuits.

Have you noticed that with all previous suspensions the crime and punishment are released swiftly and at the same time. Take the fines for coaches and teams in the past. If a coach rips the referees on Sunday, he is fined Monday and everyone is told why he was fined. Now, look how long this fining and suspending took. First, the NFL says the Saints are in trouble. Then, a couple weeks later the suspensions and fines are handed out to the owner and staff. We are still waiting on the players to receive fines and suspensions. I know there is the NFLPA to go through but, this could have all been done behind the scenes and release all at once, just like they normally do. Instead, Goodell is keeping it in the news as much as possible. The more publicity that is given to bountygate, the better the NFL looks.

I think think the whole thing is ridiculous. If the Saints are going to have players suspended, suspend them and let the Saints move on with their season. The NFL needs to stop going over the top to protect themselves and dragging this process out for their own self interest. The NFL should just do what it has to do and get on with the season.

The Quick AL West Preview

Spring training has restarted after the Mariners split a series in Japan last week with the Oakland A’s. Restarted? So, the Mariners have played games that mean something and a grand total of 5 people knew about it? Yes.

So is doing this preview technically not a preview, considering that the M’s and A’s now have games in hand (NHL term) on the Angels and the Rangers? No, it still is – but these are the only days that the M’s or the A’s will be positioned higher against either of these teams in the standings. If anything, I think Oakland and Seattle are onto something. Just start playing baseball games that count before anyone else does and build the biggest lead you can.

Either way – here’s how this is going to shake down (and yes, I am stating this as fact)

End of season order of finish (in reverse order) -

Photo of Coco Crisp's afro

Afro puffs.

4th – Oakland A’s. Guess what, Moneyball is now basically the basis in which every team builds their team unless they have more money than God. With that being said, the A’s need to find a new way to find talent. It appears that signing dudes from Cuba is the new Moneyball for them, landing Yoenis Cespedes to take over in CF for Coco Crisp. They clearly aren’t statting hair, because Coco was worth +2 WAR when he had a bangin’ fro coming out of the sides of his kelly green hat in CF. Looks like he will have to take his hair-game to left. Besides Yoenis, they didn’t really add anyone of note. Well, there is Manny. But he is missing the first 50 games for a violation of the MLB substance abuse/drugs/roids/too much pine tar rule.

Jesus Montero in Catcher's Gear

This stuff will probably never fit right.

3rd – Seattle Mariners. Hey! It isn’t last, which I guess is good, right? The M’s trot out a new young player they added via trade in the middle of that impotent lineup named Jesus Montero. He is billed to be the next hitting savior of the franchise. Let’s just hope it isn’t by name alone. He now slots in with Dustin Ackley, Mike Carp, a Guti that can finally eat and Justin Smoak. The Mariners can go one of two ways. One, the young talent plays well enough, win Felix 15+ games and they win about 75-80 games. That’s the best. The worst? Last season. Felix will still probably win 15+ games though, as he will just pitch shutouts and then pinch hit for himself, and go oppo for a 1-0 win.

Pujols with Blue Steel

It's pretty sunny here.

2nd – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California – USA. Pujols. Good rotation. Snagged CJ Wilson. They had trouble scoring runs last year, but this rotation is so insane it might not be that big of a deal. Everyone knows that their offense isn’t Mariners inept, so scoring 3-4 should win them a lot of games. Plus pitching wins championships. Just not the AL West over the course of an entire season. They would be dangerous in a 7 game though.

Derek Holland does the weather

I didn't vanish from Texas folks.

1st – Texas Rangers – Insane lineup, OK rotation. They still have Derek Holland who, depending on who you ask is the funniest pitcher ever or the most annoying. I guess it can go either way, but I just want to see something else besides the Haray Caray impersonation. It’s good, just not Will Ferrell good. He tries though, and I like that. Hitting wise, these guys are like the 1997-ish Seattle Mariners. Bombs up and down the lineup. Hitting in a hot-ass place that suits them well. Pitching is good enough, and for the long run of a season, they will out score most people. This will lead to wins because they get to launch off of the M’s with the exception of Felix and whatever 19-year old the A’s march out. In a short series though, the hitters need to stay hot.

The AL West is beginning to look a little like the AL East, with 2 teams that print money and everyone else trying to scrap together a team without spending $100 million bucks. Only the Rays at this point can get away with a team like they have due to how they have been put together over all these years. Is this a development I like as a Mariners fan? Hell no. The M’s don’t open the pocketbooks all that often, so unless they out-scout everyone and out-international everyone (which they have done in the past, this just takes time), it’s going to be another fairly long season at Safeco. At least they serve hard alcohol in center field now, and that’s kinda cool. Touchdowns every time the M’s score!


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