Wednesday, April 11, 2012

East/West How We Did and Playoff Preditions...

A regular season has come and gone, and there have been no words on this blog. I am sad for that. But I will make no promises to correct this right now. I have, however, said I will try to be more active on twitter for the playoffs, so check out @NHTProductions there! But you don't think I'd let the NHL playoffs begin without predictions now, do you?!

Okay, first things first. How we did, all those many months ago....
* Correct Pick
+ Correct Seeding

Western Conference:
San Jose
Los Angeles
St. Louis

St. Louis*
San Jose*
Los Angeles*

In direct contrast to most years, I got 7/8 picks correct in the West and 3 slotted in correctly. I'll take it! (Super ironically the one team I did not include was my Western favorite Coyotes, who made a run and took the division. Very happy I was wrong there!)

And now the East...

Eastern Conference:
Tampa Bay

New Jersey

And in direct contrast to the norm, I bombed the East, going only 5/8 and getting only 1 pick in slot. I mean of course I am thrilled I was wrong with the Rangers. (First place!) It's ironic that the first year in a long time that I don't put Florida to squeak in, they win the division, although barely. And Montreal could not have been much worse. I thought this would be the year NJ finally fell, and it seemed it for a bit. Who knows.

Anyway - Congratulations Rangers and Coyotes - both Division Champs!

And now, playoff predictions, with no fuss, because I really have no clue how things will shake out this time! As if I ever am.

Vancouver (over Los Angeles) in 6
St. Louis (over San Jose) in 5
Phoenix (over Chicago) in 6
Nashville (over Detroit) in 7

Rangers (over Ottawa) in 6
Boston (over Washington) in 7
Philadelphia (over Pittsburgh) in 7
New Jersey (over Florida) in 6

I think if any series is a sweep it will be St. Louis/San Jose, but I am not picking any sweeps. Series I'm most scared of - New York/Ottawa for obvious reasons. Series I am most excited for - Philly/Pittsburgh - that is going to be amazing! Series I am most confused over who will win - Washington/Boston.

As for our boys in blue, I think they have their hands full, but they are rested, they are mostly healthy, and they have destiny in their own hands. It was nice not to have to push to make the playoffs. But in some ways that made them ready to fight from the start. They'll have to rely on their heart and their spunk and get off to a fast start in this one. Smart hockey. And I believe they can win. Anything can happen, but I believe they hold their fate in their own hands. Best of luck Rangers! Continue to make us proud.

Everyone enjoy the 2012 NHL Playoffs! Best time of the year...


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Most Random Last Minute Predictions You Will Ever See. . .

Happy Hockey Season! Well hockey season has snuck up on me, perhaps us all. It was not my best summer on a personal level, but I'm going to do everything in my power to make it a better hockey season than last one - at least in terms of keeping up to date with the blog and checking in with readers - if I still have any. (And seriously, I don't blame you if you've all moved on, but I hope to happier places! So many amazing Rangers blogs on the net and people who have actually figured out how to use new twitter!)

But it would not be a hockey season without predictions. There will be no fuss, because, let's face it, no time today and I'm not even sure what to expect this year... but HERE WE GO - - -

Western Conference:
San Jose
Los Angeles
St. Louis

Eastern Conference:
Tampa Bay

I feel confident baring anything crazy the Rangers will be a playoff team. I just refuse to think they'll win the division. If they do - I'm buying a t-shirt. Seriously. Mark it down. I think they'll net out 4-8 and make the playoffs. But if Hank can be Hank and the Rangers score consistently, they can be as good as, if not better than, the rest of the teams in the East. A lot will fall into place soon enough. But I just don't trust them enough (love them, don't trust them) enough to make a more bold prediction. We all know how the last few years have gone. Plus Jagr is back, and I'm making this prediction. If healthy - he scores a ton - and especially against us. He's going to make us wish we never let him go. Oh wait - I seriously wish they never let him go. Drury and Gomez deserved the money SOOO much more, right? Please. With that said, thank you Jaromir and best of luck. As long as you didn't become a Penguin, I wish you many, many goals. Just hopefully not against the boys in blue.

And Phoenix, my poor babies out West. I don't even know your team anymore. I hope you prove my lousy predictions wrong-wrong-wrong and make the playoffs and kick butt. I'll always be rooting for you!

And thus - here begins the 2011-2012 season. I'm hoping for a great year for all of you, personally and through hockey.

Probably going to miss the Montreal/Toronto game tonight! - Boo! But will be watching the Rangers tomorrow! Check in after the game.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Summer of Sadness. . .

In light of too many deaths in our hockey community in the last few months, what are we, as hockey fans, supposed to take out of these tragedies?

- For make no mistake, they are, indeed, all tragedies. All the more tragic each time we are given a reminder of one of them. All the more tragic when we think of all those that have been touched by them.

What do we make of it? What sense can possibly be made of things that are, let's be honest - seemingly without sense.

We can mourn. And we should. We can think. And we should. And can learn. And that we most definitely should.

Derek Boogaard died of a drug overdose, after battling demons of addictions. He is certainly not the first and he sadly, will probably not certainly be the last. What happened was tragic and I feel badly how easily and quickly something like that can happen. I want to remember him as the gentle giant his teammates spoke of him as, a charitable man with a big heart, who happened to find his role in the NHL as a fighter and protector. I wish we all would have had the chance to see him play more in New York. I don't know everything about hockey, or anything, for that matter, but I know I will look at those things as commendable. Being a good person, a good teammate. I will remember Derek Boogaard that way. The way his family, friends, and teammates would have wanted him to be remembered.

Rick Rypien died, and circumstances are still unsure surrounding his death. It was speculated it may have been suicide, although details are still not entirely clear. Regardless, it seemed to have been a case of a hockey player - a person, as hockey players are all people first and foremost - who struggled with a battle of depression. These things aren't easy, and it's easy to dismiss that we don't understand. I didn't know Rick Rypien very well as a hockey player, so instead, I will speak to the person that everyone spoke so well of, a respected teammate and player. I will remember Rick Rypien that way. The way his family, friends, and teammates would have wanted him to be remembered.

Wade Belak died, after committing suicide, another person suffering a battle with depression. This one grabbed me a little more, because to me, after years of following the Maple Leafs, Belak was the most well known name of the three, until obviously this last year in New York when Boogaard became a Ranger. Belak retired and seemed poised to start a broadcast career, as well as do Battle of the Blades, on the CBC. It raises questions, as does so much of life, and there are sometimes simply no answers. Another enforcer, he was spoken highly of, as a teammate and friend. The quotes I read from long time Leaf teammate Tie Domi, were especially poignant. I will remember Wade Belak that way. The way his family, friends, and teammates would have wanted him to be remembered.

Last week a plane carrying an entire KHL team - Lokomotiv Yaroslavl - crashed, taking with it the lives of 44 people, most hockey players, coaches, and staff, many of which were former NHL players. There are no answers, just lots of sadness from former teammates, friends, and family, countries and an entire hockey community. Three former Rangers - Jan Marek, Karel Rachunek, and 1994 Stanley Cup Champion Alexander Karpovtsev - were on that plane. Players like Ruslan Salei and Pavol Demitra were household hockey names to fans of the game. Countries were affected. An entire team is gone. The hockey community mourns, and rightfully so. I can't speak to all of them individually, but each loss is tragic. And each loss comes without warning or preparation. All we are left with is memories. Of them as players who have worn our jerseys, and the jerseys of their countries. They were hockey players. I will remember them that way. The way their families, friends, and teammates would have wanted them to be remembered.

So what sense can we make of these tragedies - all tragedies in their own right. It seems not much, but we owe it to each and every one of them to try.

On one level:
Don't assume you ever know the whole story.
Reach out to your friends. See how they are doing and let them know you are there.
Let people you love know how much you love them.
Assure them that they are not alone.
It may not prevent a tragedy, but you never know what a smile or a kind word can do for someone.
Be there.
Be kind.
Be a good person.
Try to let go and be a bigger person. A happier person. A more forgiving person.

On a second level:
Be thankful for today.
Don't put things off you want to do.
Live in the moment.
Try not to worry.
Tell people you love them.
Embrace life.
Embrace the good and the bad and all in-between.
Embrace everything.

We may never be able to make sense of what happened this summer to our teammates, our friends - our players. But we can make the most of their memories by honoring them as their families, friends, and teammates would want them to be honored. By showing respect. By being good people. And by living our lives to the fullest we possibly can.

Not every day we get a constant reminder in our daily routine that life is short.

This summer, we as hockey fans, as part of hockey's family - well we got simply too many.

Bless our players.
Bless our sport.
Hockey forever, in heart and in mind.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2011 Stanley Cup Final Prediction. . .

Wow...cannot believe it's time for the Stanley Cup Final already! Quickest year of hockey in memory. Going to be sad when it's over, but looking forward to a great round.

Before we predict, let's review Round 3.

Got both teams right advancing - Boston and Vancouver - and picked correct number of games for Vancouver. I don't mean to pat myself on the back, but I really am having a pretty stellar post season prediction run here.

That being said, I feel pretty good about this. Not sure on number of games and a good/bad goalie performance from either team could certainly turn the series, but let's go -

Stanley Cup Final:
Vancouver in 6

Everyone enjoy the Final!!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Round Three Predictions. . .

Before we look at tonight's Round 3 of the NHL playoffs, let's take a look how I did in Round 2.

Got the West perfect, and in the perfect number of games. Got the East half right, with no perfect games predicted. Giving myself a hearty pat on the back for going 3-4 and perfect in the West though. Pat.Pat. Pat. ;)

Round 3.

Going simple - going easy.

Eastern Conference:
Boston in 6.

Western Conference:
Vancouver in 6.

Everyone enjoy the Stanley Cup Playoffs 2011!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Round Two Predictions. . .

Round One is over!

In the East, I predicted 3 out of 4 series correctly - missing only our home town Rangers.

In the West, I predicted 3 out of 4 series correctly - missing only my adoptive team in the desert.

Now a very difficult task. Round 2 is going to have some great matchups, or so I think. So we'll make this very quick. I'm going with.

Eastern Conference:
Washington in 6
Boston in 7

Western Conference:
Vancouver in 6
San Jose in 7

Enjoy the games everyone. Best, best time of year!! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs - Round One Predictions. . .

Eastern Conference:

(1) Washington vs. (8) Rangers

Rangers in 6. I'm going Rangers here, because, well just because. I think Washington is ripe to be knocked off, until they can prove otherwise. I think if Hank can get hot, and if all the Rangers scoring doesn't disappear at once, they can take this. Washington is a good team, and Ovechkin can't be taken lightly, but they don't scare me that much.

(2) Philadelphia vs. (7) Buffalo

Philadelphia in 5. I don't think Philadelphia is as strong as last year, but I don't think they are going out in the first round either. Although if they did, Rangers fans wouldn't complain.

(3) Boston vs. (6) Montreal

Boston in 7. I really feel strongly that Boston will win, and it may be sooner, but I'm going on history and ugliness and grittiness and thinking this series will go the distance. This is the series, besides the NYRs, I'll be keeping my eyes on the most.

(4) Pittsburgh vs. (5) Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay in 6. I just don't think Pittsburgh has anything to threaten right now. Tampa Bay can fire on all cylinders when they want to (Thank you again, Tampa!) and have such a threat of scoring from so many different players. True, Fleury can get hot and can make this series last longer, but I just see it as an early exit for Pitt this year.

Western Conference:

(1) Vancouver vs. (8) Chicago

Vancouver in 5. I think it'll be an interesting series, due to rivalry reasons, but Chicago limped into the playoffs. Vancouver, perhaps more than ever, seems poised for a long run. I'm going to go with them until they prove me wrong.

(2) San Jose vs. (7) Los Angeles

San Jose in 6. I am not counting L.A. out, because San Jose has proven little over the long term, but I think I give the Sharks the benefit early in the playoffs. Injury to Kopitar did not affect L.A. as much as I expected in late games, but playoffs are a different story.

(3) Detroit vs. (6) Phoenix

Phoenix in 7. I think it'll be another long series, and I'm hoping the Coyotes can pull it off in this year's rematch. This is really just a hope/heart pick, I'll be honest.

(4) Anaheim vs. (5) Nashville

Nashville in 5. I think Nashville is an underrated team with a great goalie. If Rinne gets hot, Anaheim go home. It's that simple.