Posts Tagged ‘Stanley Cup Playoffs’

Jay Feaster’s Playoff-Bound Calgary Flames?

October 9th, 2011

As I sat watching the Calgary Flames home opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night, I kept asking myself what the hell Jay Feaster was talking about. Context: Earlier this summer Feaster was quoted saying his Flames will make the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Several. Times.

“We’ll make the playoffs this year”
Jay Feaster, Calgary Flames General Manager | Source

Yeah, for realz.

Look, no one’s putting a gun to the man’s head. Maybe Feaster is trying to light a fire under the asses of the entire Flames roster. Or maybe he truly believes what he’s saying. Frankly it doesn’t matter. He’s wrong.

» Read more: Jay Feaster’s Playoff-Bound Calgary Flames?

Dany Heatley’s Decline Reminds Us We’re All Human

July 4th, 2011

Michael Russo from the Star Tribune wrote a terrific article earlier concerning Dany Heatley, his trade to the Minnesota Wild, and his time with the San Jose Sharks.

As fans it’s easy to get caught up in liking/disliking athletes. Dany Heatley’s “heal turn” in the summer of 2009 represents that better than virtually any other example I can think of.  His departure from Ottawa was well documented here, and by pretty much every other blog and sports outlet in North America.

As Russo points out, Heatley’s time in San Jose will largely be viewed as failure. The Sharks didn’t win any Stanley Cups and twice lost in the Western Conference finals (both times fairly convincingly too). Heatley’s playoff numbers aren’t amazing either. In fact, the former 50-goal scorer managed just 22 points in 32 games over his two post-seasons with the Sharks. Frankly, those stats are somewhat flattering too. Only five of Heatley’s 22 points were goals.

Disappointing stats? Absolutely, but it’s not that simple. While it’s clear the new NHL – the way the game is played, the younger and faster players, and the new rules – don’t bode well for Heatley and his style, he’s still an elite goal scorer at this level. Consecutive injury plagued seasons have certainly played a significant role in Heatley’s decline. From torn groins to broken hands, Heatley has probably seen more trainers and medical rooms in the last two years than most nurses.

» Read more: Dany Heatley’s Decline Reminds Us We’re All Human

Revisiting the NHL’s “What If” TV commercials

June 29th, 2010

Remember the “What If” TV commercials the NHL ran during this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs? That was a great campaign. Well, the classic ones with Gretzky, Orr and Lemieux. Some of the newer ones – like that Mike Cammalleri one – weren’t as good. For what it’s worth, I still thought the campaign was great.

As part of my ongoing effort to help grow the sport and aid the NHL’s marketing department, I wanted to share a few of the “What If” commercials that never made it past the cutting room floor. Did you know the original campaign was supposed to cover the entire Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Entry Draft and past the beginning of Unrestricted Free Agency (July 1st)?

True story… So without further delay, here are some of the lesser known “What If” commercials that didn’t quite make it onto your TV’s:

What If… Peter Chiarelli was more ‘savvy’ about signing long term contracts?

What If… Bryan Murray turned over Jason Spezza?

What If… Tomas Kaberle wasn’t available every draft, deadline and free agency period?

What If… The 2nd overall pick in 1993′s NHL Entry Draft remembered Alexandre Daigle?

What If… The Toronto Maple Leafs didn’t believe in drafting?

What If… A star player remained a star player after being drafted by the Islanders?

What If… Darryl Sutter and Lou Lamiorello each had plans for the Flames and Devils?

What If… Peter Chiarelli knew he didn’t need to include No Trade Clauses in every contract?

What If… The Lightning hadn’t gambled on naming Rich Tocchet their head coach?

What If… Most of the hockey blogosphere actually knew who the kids drafted last weekend were?

What If… People believed Brian Burke actually had 4 or 5 “hard offers” for Kaberle?

What If… The Canucks didn’t give such generous contracts to checking wingers?

What If… Daniel Alfredsson’s guarantees resembled those of Mark Messier’s… even just a bit?

Stay classy, NHL TV commercials.

Found! Actual transcript between Jason Spezza and Bryan Murray

June 6th, 2010

You are in luck. A third Stayclassy post in three days. I guess I am feeling creative or something… (that something might be Justin from the Hockeycardshow suggesting I do this, but whatever…).

Lately there have been some heavy rumors suggesting Jason Spezza might ask to be traded prior to his No Trade Clause kicking on July 1st. It’s been reported by several (read: not credible) sports outlets that this is a result of Senators fans booing Spezza during their 1st Round Playoff exit at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Both Bryan Murray and Jason Spezza have been fairly quiet on the matter (probably a good idea after last summer’s Heatley debachle). Murray has even indicated he hopes to sit down with Spezza prior to the NHL Entry draft to follow up on the previous conversation the two shared days after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs (read: weird post-season tournament where all the good teams lost early and screwed up hockey pools around the world).

What many don’t know is this follow up interview has already taken place! Luckily for you I have most of the interview transcribed. Here it is:

Bryan Murray: Thanksh for sitting down with me Jashon. There’sh a few things I’d like to follow up with…

Jason Spezza: Before getting into what I said a few months ago I have to ask. Why did you tell the media about my frustration with being booed? That was kind of a D-Bag move, man.

BM: Look I’m shaawwry about that. That was actually Eugene Melnyk’s fault. He told me to do that.

JS: Since when does he give you advice on running a pro hockey team?

BM: Well Jashon I won’t lie to you. He’s gotten very good at NHL10 on PlayStation. He told me he uses this tactic a lot when trying to make trades in franchise mode. His gamer score is pretty aweshome. I believe him.

JS: Is that the game with me on the cover?

BM: No. You are talking about NHL2k8. Totally different game.

JS: I’m starting to feel this organization doesn’t love me like I want to be loved! I helped design that game and my team owner is off playing another hockey game??? I even included my trademark behind-the-back pass moves!

BM: Yeah I know… that’sh actually a complaint of many players. They say it causes too many nearly-inshtant goals against. Anyways… We really want you to stay an Ottawa Senator. You are a leader of this team and frankly my career needs you to stay here and produce like everyone thinksh you can.

JS: You mean you can’t afford to trade another star player for “top 6 forwards” that are actually role players on 3rd/4th lines?

BM: Exshactly. It might discredit all future interviews I do when I talk about the team needing one final top 6 forward and top 4 defencemen to round out the solid group I have in place.

JS: * Giggles lots * Dude! I totally don’t believe you anymore when you say that — * Giggling increases *

* More giggling transpires… *

* Still going… *

BM: Jashon, you were saying?

* Still giggling… It’s like this giggling is being looped! *

BM: Schtop your damn giggling and get to the point!

JS: Right. OK. We keep getting sidetracked here. None of this conversation changes the fact that I don’t like being booed in my own building. I’m frustrated that the only thing this city shows emotion for is my ‘unlucky turnovers’ and tax season. I need to know what we’re prepared to do to stop the boo’s. It’s the only way I’ll stay in Ottawa.

BM: I have shome ideashs. I’ll call the City of Ottawa and have them indefinitely delay the Queensway expansion to tie up traffic getting to each home game. That way less people will be in the arena for game time. Less people equals less boo’s. It’s physhicshx.

JS: Nice. What else d’ya got?

BM: We could have the Shparta Cat blast hot dogs into the crowd every time you make a bad passh. Fans will never be able to boo because their mouths will be forever loaded with fake meat and bad shoe leather hot dogs! And we could make excuses for you like “Michalek needs another knee surgery”. We can probably get away with that excuse 2-3 times per season.

JS: *Nods in approval*

BM: We could also claim the dressing room lacks character players. I need to resign Nick Foligno soon. I don’t really know what the hell kind of offer to give him so we could make him the scape goat. That helps both of us.

JS: Nice! His nose freaks me out too. Oh! Can we get Mike Comrie back?

BM: Is he still playing hockey? I could probably offer our first round pick for next season. I’d have to check with Eugene but I’m pretty sure he’ll be cool with it. He’s probably already done this on NHL10 anyways. Anything else Jashon?

JS: One last thing. This is kind of random. When TSN and CBC show General Managers on TV in their Suites writing things down, what are you writing and doing?

BM: Well most guys do different schtuff. Personally I like crossword puzzles. And I know Burkie likes Sh… Shudsh… Shudokushs. That’s like the hardestsh word to say!! Anyways between me and you he really sucksh at them. He never uses the number 2… no clue why.

JS: Nice! OK. I have to go stop off at the bank and meet McGrattan and Emery for lunch. Apparently they need me to spot them a bunch of cash for something “fun”. Not sure what that means. See you in a few weeks.

I’m sure many fans of the Senators and Spezza will get mad and defensive over this “transcript”. If you are angered please lighten up. In all seriousness trading Jason Spezza would be the worst thing this organization could do for two reasons:

  1. There is no way the Senators can replace a #1 center like Spezza (via free agency or from within their organization).
  2. The Senators cannot afford the negative press that would come from losing another star player for nothing (they wouldn’t get anywhere near the value in return) in consecutive years. Season ticket sales would take an even bigger nose dive and the organization’s reputation would hurt the team for years to come.

Stay classy, Jason Schpezzsha.

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Other NHL haircuts

May 19th, 2010

It’s that time of year for beards, crazy hair and the occasional blowing of a 3-0 series lead. By now, everyone has seen Patrick Kane’s response to the Playoff beard (see right). That’s right, the mullet. As awesome as the mullet is, Kane has all but said he’s cutting it off as soon as the Playoffs end.

As disappointing as this might be to some, I’ve come to learn that many other NHL players sport interesting haircuts. So before we get teary-eyed about Kane soon chopping off the mullet, let’s take a closer look at other NHL haircuts:

  • The Scott Hartnell – This mess of a haircut is a wall of curls by nature. It’s like Carrot Top meets Hurley from Lost. I find it remarkable that Hartnell manages to stuff a helmet over that ‘do’ before every game. In saying that, I find it more remarkable that Alex Burrows hasn’t pulled Hartnell’s hair yet.
  • The Patrick Kane – What else can I say about Patrick Kane’s ‘Joe Dirt’ look? It’s tremendous that he’s kept the cut for more than a month now. I hope he doesn’t have a problem with change when cutting day comes.
  • The Jaromir Jagr – Similar to The Kane in style, but this haircut acts as more of a pheromone to some in the hockey world. At times, these pheromone’s draw out deadly Russian enemies (mostly in British Columbia), but such an occasion is rare. Most of the time Jagr’s scent attracts individuals desperate enough to think a 38 year old can save a hockey franchise from short term doom.
  • The Ilya Kovalchuk – Few know this, but Kovalchuk’s hair is a clever nod to the way he plays hockey. The parting in his hair represents himself on one side and whichever team he plays for (and their style) on the other. Yeah, I can’t see this haircut matching with red and green colored jerseys.
  • The Carey Price – Always immaculate, Carey Price’s hair is simply stunning. There’s never a hair out of place… largely because he rarely has to wear a helmet. I can hear it now, “Ha Ha ha Burgundy, that joke was a RIOT” – Habs fans everywhere.
  • The Thomas Vanek – This haircut features a ton of dazzle and flair at all times. However, the joints and body of hair in this ‘do’ are frequently damaged by as little as a small gust of wind. Due to the elusiveness of The Vanek haircut in action, I have no image to show for this ‘do’.
  • The Bruce Boudreau – The bald-cut requires a good sized scalp in order to be done correctly. The scalp needs to be adaptable to seasonal changes. In the winter, the scalp needs to be able to expand in accordance with one’s ego (generally between September and April). The scalp must act as  a defense mechanism by contracting and acting as a shield during the rough summer months when activity is low (generally between May and July).

Stay classy, other NHL haircuts.

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Saturday Chat Roulette Sessions (May 15 edition)

May 15th, 2010

Since last week’s Chat Roulette debut was an awesome success (kidding… more like nonsense…),  I’ve decided to keep my word and continue with this feature. But before getting to the new Chat images, a huge congratulations to the Philadelphia Flyers who staged a truly amazing come back against the Boston Bruins. For the Bruins, it’s going to be a painful summer… *PING* Sorry, but the Bruins hit so many posts/crossbar’s in game 7. It was ridiculous. I can just see this becoming the newest “History will be made” NHL commercial, “What if Philadelphia didn’t fly?”. I even predicted it last night around 8pm EST.

Anyways, we have Chat Roulette escapades of Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Zdeno Chara, Alex Ovechkin and the Boston Bruins this week. Enjoy.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with the Sedin twins.

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with Zdeno Chara and the Bruins bear

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with Alex Ovechkin and Lebron James

Stayclassy.net's Chat Roulette feature with the Boston Bruins

Stay classy, NHL Chat Rouletters.

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A few tips for your Stanley Cup Riot

May 13th, 2010

I suppose I can only get away with a blog like this if I first congratulate the Montreal Canadiens on their series clinching win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Congrats, Montreal). How hilarious would it be if the Philadelphia Flyers win tomorrow night, seeing the 7th and 8th seeds playing in the Eastern Conference Finals? Actually, I really want to see that happen now.

Anyways, in celebration of Montreal’s big win and the town riots that ensued after, I figured it would be somewhat appropriate to post a few tips for the next “celebration.” A celebration that will probably happen in less than two weeks when the Canadiens defeat the Flyers (or Bruins, but who knows??) in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Here are a few tips for your Stanley Cup Riot:

  • Only riot in cities that legitimately care about hockey. So cities like Montreal or Philadelphia… or Tampa Bay.
  • Wearing a Canadiens jersey when rioting is encouraged, however, crowds may turn on you if Bonk, Latendresse or Gainey nameplates are etched on said jersey.
  • Try to assemble the craziest group of people possible for optimum destruction. A few suggestions include John Muckler and Glen Sather (two crazy bastards), Mike Milbury (proficient in obscure violence with non-traditional weapons) and James Duthie (mostly because he was the only person crazy enough to bet on Montreal in the 2nd round of the Playoffs after they were down 3-1 in the series. And partly because he’s been known to talk/hang out with monkeys macaques).
  • If you are going to destroy local business property, make sure it’s a really bad business like that “Fleury’s School of Clutch Goaltending” on Expired Street.
  • If ever you are concerned with the quality of your rioting now or in the last 15 years, just refer to rioting successes from 30+ years ago.
  • You want to have a strong destruction percentage when rioting. Be selective and look for objects that can smash in one attempt or less to increase destruction percentage. By doing this, you’ll be feared for your lethal accuracy, just like Mike Cammalleri.
  • The city of Montreal might try to reduce rioting by inviting fans into the Bell Centre to watch the Canadiens road games. But it’s really an opportunity to strategize and get drunk for 3 hours before the party really starts.
  • If I’ve learned anything from Montreal, 2-1 odds are a good thing, so don’t worry if there are twice as many police as there are rioters. Just wear a Habs jersey and things will work out fine!
  • When picking a team leader for your riot squad, try to pick someone that won’t quit half way through the task. Chances are s/he will wipe their hands clean should failure occur. That or s/he’ll reappear months later to take credit if you succeed.
  • Finally, do your best to avoid damaging the sports stores that sell those Habs jerseys that when turned inside out are actually Leaf jerseys…

Stay classy, Montreal Canadiens.

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Signs you probably need to invest in goaltending

May 6th, 2010

As we move forward in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s apparent that some teams have better goaltending than others. Whether it’s through trading, drafting or both, it’s clear some teams place a higher priority on developing goalies.

To be fair, some teams focus on developing star forwards or solid NHL defencemen instead. But in saying that, there come times when plans need to change because you haven’t had a decent goalie in 10+ years (or something like that…). Here are some signs that you probably need to invest in goaltending:

  • You’ve started to correlate the cool masks of Evgeni Nabokov, Marty Turco and Patrick Lalime with skill.
  • Accusing every opponent of crease crashing is a clever method to divert attention away from the fact that your goaltending hasn’t been very good either.
  • Tuukka Rask is better than your last great goalie and has already had a better meltdown/flip-out at the age of 23.
  • You’ve already traded for Chris Pronger.
  • You’ve asked Brian Burke if he’d be interested in trading any of the 20 free agent goalies he’s recently signed.
  • The last time you selected a goalie in the 1st or 2nd round of the NHL Entry Draft, Zarley Zalapski was playing in his final season (as a Flyer, no less).
  • You are considering giving next year’s starting goalie job to Anton Volchenkov.
  • In an effort to mirror the way goalies like Jaroslav Halak and Henrik Lundqvist play the lower half of the net so well, you try to recruit Ben Roethlisberger into playing nets by telling him the crease is “easy”.
  • Ray Emery is still in your long term plans.
  • You aren’t concerned about Dustin Byfuglien because his presence in front of your goalie is a better excuse than “our goalie couldn’t save it”.
  • Daniel Carcillo is scoring hat tricks during warm ups… and he’s not even bragging about it!
  • Your team merch department starts selling # 13 Voorhees jerseys.
  • Sadly, you are very interested when Dominik Hasek makes his annual NHL comeback attempt.
  • Your scouts have looked into an older goalie prospect named Casey Jones.

Stay classy, certain NHL teams who need to invest in goaltending, for once.

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The Good UFAs

May 4th, 2010

Close to 1 million search results come up when you Google “Worst NHL contracts“. I know – ouch.

Upon clicking through the first few links (Puck Daddy has a good one, as does NHL Snipers… and so does a little site named Stayclassy.net), it’s apparent a fair chunk of these so called “worst contracts, ever” were signed on July 1st. I know – ouch, again.

I’m not all that surprised, and I’m guessing you aren’t either. For all the crappy (and I mean really crappy) contracts July 1st seems to breed, there are some good ones, too (I stress some). Today, I want to look at two UFA signings from last summer that are fair in length and dollars that have made a very big impact on their respective teams.

Mikael Samuelsson - one of the good UFA signings in 2009!

Mikael Samuelsson – Vancouver Canucks
For whatever reason, Mike Gillis seems to have a knack for getting Swedish born players to put on a Canucks jersey (Sedins, Mats Sundin, Samuelsson and others). Gillis has signed some great deals for Vancouver, but perhaps none better than Mikael Samuelsson’s 3-year $7.5 Million contract last summer. That’s a cap hit of $2.5 Million per season for a player who scored 30 goals and registered 53 points in 74 games this year. $2.5 Million for a top 6 forward who brings leadership, a Stanley Cup ring and the ability to score clutch goals is an absolute steal. Money and contract aside, this was a great signing because Samuelsson gives the Canucks different options on line combo’s and is very responsible defensively – a nice trait many Canuck forwards have. He’s a great fit with the team and an excellent UFA signing by the Vancouver Canucks.

Mike Cammalleri - one of the good UFA signings 2009!

Mike Cammalleri – Montreal Canadiens
In my opinion, the biggest reason the Calgary Flames missed the 2010 Playoffs was due to a lack of goal scoring from an underrated forward named Mike Cammalleri. Essentially, the Flames chose Jay Bouwmeester over Cammalleri last summer and are now paying the price. Meanwhile, Cammalleri has been one of the Canadien’s top goal scorers, hitting the back of the net 26 times in a shortened 65 game season. Cammalleri is more than capable of being a consistent 40 goal scorer in the NHL if healthy. People have said a lot about Bob Gainey this year, but this was one the better signings he’s made in years. Cammalleri will be a Montreal Canadien for at least 4 seasons and carries a cap hit of $6 Million (the same cap hit Alex Sem0n carries…). Cammalleri is helping lead the Canadiens on and off the ice in a somewhat surprising Playoff run this year. Cammalleri is a dynamic forward, very versatile and doesn’t give up on plays. It’s also worth noting Cammalleri’s willingness and availability for interviews (good ones – not crusty Scott Gomez interviews) and the way he’s embraced the city of Montreal by tweeting everything in French and English. A solid signing last summer by the Montreal Canadiens.

Aside from Cammalleri and Samuelsson, players like Brian Gionta, Taylor Pyatt, Todd Bertuzzi and Craig Anderson have been key signings from last summer as well. Who are your top UFA signings from 2009?

Stay classy, Mikael Samuelsson and Mike Cammalleri. There are such things as good UFA signings… sometimes.

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Burgundy’s 2nd round NHL playoff predictions

April 29th, 2010

Stayclassy.net's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

With no real break between rounds, tonight marks the beginning of the Stanley Cup Conference Semi-Finals! The 1st round was a blast and featured the elimination of the top 3 seeded teams in the Eastern Conference. The way the Washington Capitals were eliminated was surprising to many, while the defeats of the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils was predicted by a number of people. The Western Conference saw some interesting developments – the Phoenix Coyotes and Los Angeles Kings gave the Red Wings and Canucks a few scares but ultimately couldn’t hold on. And oh yeah, the San Jose Sharks are through to the next round, no thanks to Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau.

For those of you wondering, I went 5 for 8 in my 1st round predictions. Here are my 2nd round predictions:

Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs Montreal Canadiens (8)
The Montreal Canadiens shocked the entire hockey world with their amazing series come-back against the Washington Capitals. I don’t care what the truest of Habs fans say: no one saw them coming back after going down 3-1. Having said that, and as well as Jaroslav Halak has played, there’s no way the Pittsburgh Penguins will fall victim to the Canadiens the way the Capitals did. The Penguins are proven winners and have Russian stars that actually know how to show up in the post-season. Sidney Crosby is on another level in this year’s Playoffs and I don’t think the Hal Gill-Josh Gorges tandem will be able to contain him, despite their tremendous play so far. Pittsburgh will figure out within minutes of the first game how to not shoot directly at the two or three Habs defencemen who are trying to block shots…
Verdict: Pittsburgh in 6 games.

Boston Bruins (6) vs Philadelphia Flyers (7)
I’m not sure how many of us figured we’d see the Boston Bruins playing the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2nd round of the Playoffs, but this should be an interesting series. I really liked how Tuukka Rask played in the 1st round and I felt like the Bruins got stronger as their series with Buffalo went on. Milan Lucic seemed to wake up towards the end of the series and key players like Michael Ryder, Miroslav Satan and Mark Recchi stepped up in the big moments of each game. The highly anticipated return of Marc Savard should provide the Bruins with a nice emotional boost and perhaps a bit of additional scoring. Looking at the Flyers, although they are rested, they will be without the services of three very valuable players: Simon Gagne, Jeff Carter and Ian Laperriere. I’m not convinced Brian Boucher is for real, nor do I believe he can outplay Rask. It’s a shame we can’t see each game of this series played at Fenway Park… or can we? No, nevermind. We can’t.
Verdict: Boston in 6 games.

San Jose Sharks (1) vs Detroit Red Wings (5)
The San Jose Sharks are now at the critical point of their season. Let’s be honest: the 1st round was a formality. While the Colorado Avalanche gave them a quick scare, it was a foregone conclusion the Sharks would/should easily win that round. For the most part, the Avalanche were badly outplayed. Evgeni Nabokov played very well too – something we can’t say has always been the case in the post-season for the Sharks. Devin Setoguchi and Joe Pavelski really elevated their play in the 1st round, and yet again, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau continue to fight the Playoff pressure. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings enjoyed a scare of their own from the Phoenix Coyotes. Detroit’s leaders got stronger as the series wore on and stepped it up when it mattered most. I really liked Jimmy Howard’s play and attitude (for the most part) against the Coyotes too. My gut feeling lies with the experience of the Wings and I’m still not sold San Jose are the real deal. Still.
Verdict: Detroit in 6 games.

Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs Vancouver Canucks (3)
This is easily the best series of the 2nd round. A rematch from last year’s Conference Semi-Finals, with a slight reversal. Last year, I’d say the Chicago Blackhawks were the stronger team. This year, I’d have to say the Vancouver Canucks are the stronger team. I believe the Canucks may have the most complete forward roster of any team in the Playoffs. All the lines are firing well and appear to be healthy. While the Blackhawks offense is more lethal and battle-tested than the young Los Angeles Kings, I still give the advantage to the Canucks. Both team’s have some injuries on defence, but I think this is a series that will see Roberto Luongo will steal a game or two for Vancouver. And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much I’m looking forward to Byfuglien & Luongo’s battle royale rematch. I can’t wait for this series to start!
Verdict: Vancouver in 7 games.

There you have it. These are my 2nd round predictions. What are your predictions?

Stay classy, NHL Conference Semi-Finals.

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