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2012 NHL Playoff Preview, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bloodshed

April 9, 2012

Hockey

Any hockey fan worth his weight in stick tape knows what a special time of year is upon is. This is the time of year where we celebrate the 119th iteration of the tradition brought onto this earth by the grizzly bear riding, alcoholic womanizer known as Lord Stanley (full disclosure: I cannot verify the truth of these claims about Lord Stanley, but I hope people start repeating this enough to make it accepted fact).

After what can only be described as an interesting regular season, the NHL playoffs are finally set to begin, and what better way to celebrate then by breaking down each individual series in depth comparing each series and its predicted outcome to a film. We’ll start in the Eastern Conference, or, as Lord Stanley would have called it, the Bog-Trotter Conference. Horrible disdain for the Irish, that man.

New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators: The Ringer

If you haven’t seen The Ringer, the above trailer should adequately explain the entirety of the plot. Now, you’re probably asking yourself “are you calling the Ottawa Senators mentally challenged?” and I am obliged to answer yes. To be completely honest, I didn’t even know they were in a playoff hunt. I know so little about the Sens that I will give $20 to anyone who can tell me who their goaltender is in the comments section. Go ahead, I’m good for it. (Editor’s Note: he’s not good for it). So yes, Ottawa is… special, but not like any of the characters in the movie. See, this series is like The Ringer in the sense that teenagers are probably going to be the only demographic to get any joy out of it. I saw this movie when I was 16, and laughed my ass off. I re-watched it recently, and immediately decided 16 year old me was an idiot. And there’s a perfectly good reason for this: laughing at other people’s shortcomings stops being fun when you reach adulthood. Or at least its supposed to. The Senators could literally be replaced with any other team in the septic tank that is the bottom half of the Eastern Conference, and this series would look no different. The Rangers will take it in 4, people everywhere will laugh at Ottawa, and society will take one large step backwards for it.

Boston Bruins vs Washington Capitals: Batman  (not the good one)

There are two things that I am certain of: Michael Keaton is the worst actor ever to portray Batman, and everyone hates Boston sports fans. For many people, Boston has become the new New York (1000 pts for my first Futurama reference), the town that sports fans despise for throwing money around to gather up rings like they’re Sauron. Washington, on the other hand, is a team that everyone is tremendously disappointed in. Alex Ovechkin regressed this year, and not only did his teammates suffer for it, but none of them seemed willing to step up in a leadership position to fill the void, some even going as far as suffering severe injuries to avoid this responsibility. Its amazing that this team was competing for home ice in the first round just a few days ago. Essentially, this match comes down to the douchey, self absorbed Batman that nobody really likes (Boston) going toe to toe with the disappointing version of the Joker that everyone forgot about when The Dark Knight came out (Washington). We all know who wins this fight, even though everybody secretly roots for the Joker. Boston in 6, only because Washington plays dirty enough to win a couple

Florida Panthers vs New Jersey Devils: Rocky Balboa

That’s right folks, the Panthers are really the third best team in the East. Well, according to records anyways. But we all know, Rocky was never about the records. If you had told me in September that not only would Florida be the third best team in the Eastern Conference, but that New Jersey would have 102 points at season’s end, I would have pushed you in front of an oncoming bus to spare you the indignity of suffering through life with whatever mental illness plagued you. This match up doesn’t make sense, the Devils should be on their way out of relevance, and the Panthers should be 3 more years away from relevance. Yet somehow, this is happening. People tried to tell Rocky that he was past his prime, that he couldn’t do it anymore. They were wrong. I’ll take Martin “Rocky” Brodeur and the Devils in 5. Because we all know Rocky really won in the end.

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Philadelphia Flyers: A Serbian Film

Lock your doors. Go into the basement. Turn off all the lights. Because if your mother/girlfriend/shrink finds out what you’re about to watch, you’re going to be homeless/single/institutionalized. To say that there’s bad blood between the Flyers and the Penguins is the understatement of the century. These teams despise each other. What is going to happen on the ice between these two teams will make you squeamish, nauseated, uneasy, and feel bad about humanity. Anyone who has seen A Serbian Film will agree that its probably a good idea to start drinking an hour before viewing. This won’t be a war. War has rules. This is going to be pure, unadulterated anarchy on skates. Look for the Flyers to score early and often, and look for the Penguins to instigate and capitalize on power plays. Then, look for someone to attempt to murder Sidney Crosby on the ice. But whatever you do, please for the love of God do not look for a place to watch A Serbian Film. Penguins in 7. And may God have mercy on their souls

Now onto the Western Conference, or as I call it, The Only Good Conference Because This is Where the League Dumps All It’s Money.

Vancouver Canucks vs Los Angeles Kings: Rio Bravo

What’s that you say? You’ve never seen Rio Bravo? Well go watch it right now you uncultured buffoon. Then come back and read the rest of the article. Those of you still with me will understand that Vancouver vs LA is much more interesting then it seems on paper. The Kings were battling for home ice over the past week, which is a slightly dubious distinction given that they come from the garbage can that is the Pacific division, and posses the best young goaltender in hockey, Jonathan Quick. The Canucks, on the other hand, cruised to the top of the West without their top goal scorer, Daniel Sedin, over the home stretch, and possess the most schizophrenic goaltender in the league, Roberto Luongo. To the untrained eye, Vancouver doesn’t ever present much of a threat, as they aren’t flashy or particularly good looking, much like the Duke. But the thing about the Duke, is that HE’S THE GODDAMN DUKE. Even with the prospect of their top player sitting out (represented in Rio Bravo by the surly drunk Dean Martin), the Canucks are still an efficient, highly skilled task force, ready to take on anything the Kings throw at them (represented in Rio Bravo by the Burdette gang, and alcoholism, and the crushing inability to maintain a relationship in the Old West without sacrificing the machismo that allows you to survive in such a harsh environment). Canucks in 6.

St. Louis Blues vs San Jose Sharks: Wes Craven’s New Nightmare

Feel like you’ve seen this before? The Sharks about to curb stomp another Central Division team out of the first round, only to be bested by another Central Division team in the later rounds? How wrong you are my friend. See, Blues vs Sharks, much like Wes Craven’s New Nightmare is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Are the Sharks the same as always? Sure, at least on paper. But the environment has changed. No longer are the Sharks luring their prey to the Shark Tank, oh no, now they’re coming to meet their prey out in the real world. The Blues, well they’re something else entirely. And goddamn are they good. Remember the number one rule of horror, never bet on the monster, because no matter how strong they may look, they always bite the dust in the end (but expect a sequel). Blues in 6.

Phoenix Coyotes vs Chicago Blackhawks: High Fidelity

Talk about a franchise that just can’t seem to get over the hump. If I had a dollar for every time that Phoenix looked ready to compete with the big boys, but failed to get the job done, I’d have $6. The problem with Phoenix, much like John Cusack in High Fidelity is that the team isn’t really committed to winning (or in John Cusack’s case, having a functional relationship with another human being). Granted, this is mostly due to horrific financial insolvency (or in John Cusack’s case, horrific insecurity issues), but I digress. If Phoenix takes the time to look a back at its past failures, maybe it can find a way to fix its problems and get the job done. The Blackhawks are Jack Black. Everyone recognizes them, but nobody really likes them that much, and they don’t contribute anything to the story here other then adding non-essential entertainment value. This is finally the year for Phoenix. Coyotes in 7.

Nashville Predators vs Detroit Red Wings: Watchmen

This has everything it needs to be amazing. The kind of series that should go down among the all time greats. There’s a budding rivalry. There’s a young, hungry talent taking on the old guard, the team many people are predicting are beginning their fall from grace. The problem here, is that no matter how great things wind up, a large group of people are going to wind up unhappy. Its exactly what happened with Watchmen. If Zack Snyder had been unflinching, uncompromising in his presentation of Watchmen, the studio would have flipped out. But if he made too many and changes, fans would have been equally enraged. No matter how this series goes down, somebody is going to be furious. Its either Preds fans, new and old, who know, deep down in the cockles of their hearts that this is the year for Barry Trotz and his boys, or Wings fans who have equally unflinching belief in their squad. In the end, I truly believe this series will be a battle of wills. Can the Wings shake off their dreadful end of season slump and return the form? Can the Preds finally stand up and say “we’re just as good as you, and we’re going to prove it!”? It will undoubtedly make for riveting action on the ice. But somebody has to end up with a sour taste in their mouths. Sorry Wings fans. Time to retool. Preds in 7.

If you made it to the end of this, you should probably follow me on Twitter, @30CarPileup, and be on the lookout for my Second Round NHL Playoff preview, where each series will be likened to a US Presidential election.

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3 Comments on “2012 NHL Playoff Preview, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bloodshed”

  1. 30carpileup Says:

    Dualy noted, however, the average Yahoo sports article has about as many tags, the only real difference being their tag list comes at the end of their posts, making them less intrusive.

    Reply

  2. JaVale McGee Says:

    I feel like you guys should chill on the tags a bit. I’m pretty sure if I clicked one, all of your articles would show up, and that is sort of detrimental to the entire concept of tags.

    Reply

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