It snuck up on me. I have been so busy with those meaningless things I do in between hockey games I completely forgot that tonight is it. Wednesday. Wednesday the 9th. The first night of the NHL Playoffs. It's tonight. Enough to make any fan excited. But more than excited, nervous. Nervous as hell. Where's the Pepto-Bismol?
Whether your showing off that Bruins jacket autographed by the entire 71-72 Stanley Cup winning roster* or contemplating just how to inconspicuously get an 8 pound octopus into your local arena, it means one glorious thing. Playoffs hockey. To hell with shootouts. Everyone bid adieu to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the other dozen teams that will get getting an early start on their golf game.
Every hockey fans first stop on the interwebs, TSN.ca, even unleashed a new site design for the playoffs. According to an email I received from them it's both bold and fresh. Just like a newly opened bottle of BBQ sauce. However our crack team couldn't help but notice the similiarity to TSN's American affiliate, ESPN.com. Though to be fair the video player doesn't autostart when you visit the page, and it's almost guaranteed to never assault you with videos of either Woody Paige or Skip Bayless. Gotta love that.
And with the new TSN design is a whole section devote to, of course, the playoff prognostication. If you even utter a sentence about hockey all season long, making playoff picks is a must. I mean, come on, everyone's doing it. Melrose is doing, and so is Melrose Rocks. John Buccigross might even mention something about his picks if he's got any free time with his full time job impersonating an indie music hipster**.
Here at EFotG it's no different. Well, it's very different, but at least in this fashion its not. I haven't updated in a couple months, but I believe I'm legally obligated to post playoff predictions. It was in the small print of the NHL Center Ice TV package contract I think. I'm also gonna try to keep a close eye on the picks of everyone else. Mostly because my March Madness bracket was torn to hell by the Sweet 16 and Kevin over at Melrose Rocks eliminated me from our fantasy hockey leagues Semi-Finals thanks to me not meeting the minimum requirement for goaltender starts [FRICK!]. As soon as I compile everyone's picks I throw together some sort of chart or something.
Tonight I'll be weighing the odds, closely dissecting each playoff team's strengthens and weaknesses, and flipping some coins. All in all the predictions will be forthcoming. Four series are kicking off tonight. The Penguins v. Sabres and Rangers v. Devils at 7. The Avalanche v. Wild at 9. Flames v. Sharks at 10. Sit back, enjoy, and if you have a team in the running, have some tums within reach.
*Amazingly YouTube let me down here, I just couldn't find it, but you know what I'm talking about.
**Seriously, I finish his column and I can't even remember what it had to do with the Shark post-season chances, I just know that he really wants me to listen to The Editors.