NHL Playoff Picks 2018

S.Samek

Here are my picks for the Stanly cup playoffs.

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Tampa Bay vs. WC New Jersey

No. 2 Boston vs. No. 3 Toronto

No. 1 Washington vs. WC Columbus

No. 2 Pittsburgh vs. No. 3 Philadelphia

Round two

TB-Bos

Wash-Pitt

Round three

TB-Pitt

Western Conference

No. 1 Nashville vs. WC Colorado

No. 2 Winnipeg vs. No. 3 Minnesota

No. 1 Las Vegas vs. WC Los Angeles

No. 2 Anaheim vs. No. 3 San Jose

Second round

LV– San
Nash-WIN

Third round

LV-Nash

Stanly Cup Finals

Pitt-LV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seattle in The NHL

S.Samek

Seattle looks to be the next entrant in the NHL. As much they have announced a short list of 13 potential names from the squad. However, this is pending the NHL grants them a franchise.

 
The names include both a mix of local and historical with a couple zany ones thrown in.
Cougars, Eagles. Sea Lions, Whales, Seals are the run of the mill offerings that aren’t great ideas.

 
Emeralds, Evergreens, Firebirds and Totems are the second tier of quality names higher than the first set.

 
Sockeyes, Rainiers, Renegades and Krakens are the final and best tier.

 

 

Though I must admit my favorite is the novelty Krakens. The one fan named jersey included in the article looks really cool. One could only imagine what they could do with a professional logo designer.

 
Though if the local flare is what you look for take the Rainer’s name, or even emeralds.
For now, though it’s just fun speculation until the team formally gets announced.

 

 

 

NHL Pick Your Fish.

No Nashville Catfish, or Detroit octopus, but things are changing in the NHL.

S. Samek

Recently the NBA milled over changing the playoffs.

 

 

So not to be left out why not the NHL may change play off proceedings.

 
The new offerings come in the form of finish number one and get your pick of any of the fifth through eight seeded teams. You can pick the team you just plan think you can beat.
Then the second seed gets the next pick and the third the last pick. The fourth seed gets the left-over team. Then after playing the first round you do a reseed based on regular season records.

 

The idea comes from the Southern Professional Hockey League. They call out potential playoff opponents and then reseed as a unique calling card.

 

It also comes to the United States from Australia and their Erste Bank Eishockey Liga.

 
I do see the merits in this format. It is pretty much think you can beat a team, call them out and do it. Its put your money where your mouth is. Its heads up in your face hockey, good stuff.

 
It also does offer a change from the traditional way of matching up with seeds. Though there isn’t anything to stop the one seed from going after the eight seed and creating the same matchup.

 
It also could lead to some epic implosions. Call out the wrong team and lose to them and you’re in for it. The ridicule will be endless. Could be rather entertaining.

 
Conversely, I think it’s more work to reseed after a round. Why not just create one bracket and advance the teams that win? Seems to be a good system.

 
The good thing about the playoffs is that aura of unpredictably. Just because your high seed doesn’t mean you are winning it all. Just because you’re an eighth seed wouldn’t mean you couldn’t be a champion either. Seeds are just numbers on paper for organizational purposes. Once you get in you all have a fair chance in the playoffs.

 
The focus should be to get into the playoffs, not against you have to face during them. Yes, try your best to win games and get a higher seed, but it shouldn’t be about the seeding. It should be about winning games.

 
Overall, I think it could be worth a try, especially at the lower levels of the minors, or independent leagues. If it works out there maybe the NHL could adopt it.

O and for the reference this idea of a fish comes from the Good Ol Uba. They held an event where players called each other out. They named it pick your fish.

It could be time for NHL teams to start picking fish in the playoffs.

To Be or not to Be

S.Samek

No doubt there was a lot of buzz surrounding the NHL’s latest team when it was announced. Then with the expansion draft fans were eager to see who would make up the roster of this new entrant.
Now the Los Vegas Golden Knights have begun play for their first season. They continue to make headlines.
The Los Vegas Golden Knights name is under trademark dispute with Army and the College of St. Rose. The dispute was first filed in December, but nothing came of it. Now within the past couple of weeks, both institutions have filled opposition requests.

The names Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Golden Knights being both called into question. The two schools now have three months to make a move.

 
Vegas has let two trademarks for other names expire. However, they did extend a domain name for sandknights.com.

 
Interesting that they may have to change their name to the Vegas Sand Knights. Why in the world would they do that though? It just sounds ridiculous.

 
Though there had to be a better name than the Knights for this team to begin with. Hoping they go back to the drawing board to pick something better. Better yet maybe just drop the suit and let the Golden Knights stay. Like if this was a problem why wasn’t this taken care of before the team name was announced.

 

Why would you do it after they begin play and have merchandise and the works in play. Hoping this gets fixed soon, hopefully just with a let it slide and move on.

NHL POPS

By S. Samek

As the weather turns colder the season changes from baseball to football. Add to the mix basketball and hockey. With the change in sports season comes additions. Football and basketball made additions. Now it’s the NHL’s turn.

Yep, new wave of hockey themed Funko pops coming at you. Brad Marchand, Brent Burns, Evgeni Malkin, Jeff Carter, Vladimir Tarasenko, Braden Holtby, Corey Crawford, Wayne Simmonds, and Devan Dubnyk suite up in-home sweater. There is also a wave of players from Canadian teams going to Grosnor as exclusives.
These look great as the prior wave is. I just hope it’s easier to find a Malkin pop than it is to find a Sidney Crosby.
The NHL is also getting pint sized heroes. They look cute, but I don’t like the idea. NHL players aren’t really known for being cute so why do it. Pick them up if you want, but the pops are still better. Grosnor will also carry exclusives in these.
Overall really good addition to the sports line. Should only leave MLB without another recent wave. I see that following in spring.

Steelers Happenings

By S. Samek

The Pittsburgh Steelers have been busy the past couple of days. Roster additions and honorees being the tasks at hand.
The first class of the new hall of honor was announced recently. 27 former members of the Black and Gold make up this team. The class is as follows. Jerome Bettis, Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, Jack Butler, Dermontti Dawson, Bill Dudley, Joe Greene, Kevin Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Jack Ham, Franco Harris, Dick Hoak, John Henry Johnson, Walt Keisling, Jack Lambert, Bobby Layne, John McNally, Chuck Noll, Arthur J. Rooney, Sr., Daniel M. Rooney, Andy Russell, Donnie Shell, John Stallworth, Ernie Stautner, Lynn Swann, Mike Webster, and Rod Woodson.

It’s an awesome idea and I can’t wait to see who all enters. My vote though is Heath Miller when he meets the requirement for retirement should. He was a great guy and a champion as a player. The impact Miller made was for sure notable.

As for roster moves, two went down. The first was trading for a new tight end. Vance McDonald comes over from San Francisco with a fifth-round pick for a 2018 fourth round pick. I must admit the move confused me at first, think they were set with Jesse James. Yet you didn’t give up much to get better. You get a former second round pick with 64 receptions, 866 yards and seven touchdowns in three seasons. I could see him benefitting from having a better quarterback at the helm.

The second is the signing of Joe Haden the corner back from Cleveland. Corner has been one of the deficiencies for the Steelers the past couple of years. Haden is a former pro bowler and annoys A.J Green, of the Cincinnati Bengals. This helps out against a division rival in games that could have playoff implications. Welcome addition for sure.

 

Stanley Cup Final 2017

By S. Samek

Here we go. From 16 teams, down to two in the NHL playoffs. It’s the surprise Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Penguins looking to go back to back in winning Stanley Cups, while the Predators look for their first.

Nashville stunned Chicago in round one, before beating St. Louis and Anaheim. Pittsburgh run to the cup went through Columbus, Washington and Ottawa.

This could be the most interring series yet. During the season, the Pens and Preds have split their two games. The home team took the victory in each game. Nashville outscored Pittsburgh seven five in those two meetings.

 

Though offense may be hard to come by in this series. Nashville is the top team in goals against average in the playoffs with a 1.81 mark. Having only surrendered 29 goals.

 

 Big reason for this is goaltender Pekka Rinne. Rinne has the top playoff marks for save percentage with .941 and wins with 12. Combine that with a 1.70 GAA and you have a brick wall.

The goalie tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray should also make it difficult for Nashville to score. Fleury has a 2.56 gaa and a .924 save percentage while picking up nine wins. Both Fleury and Rinne have posted two shutouts during the playoffs.

Though Rinne will be tested. The Penguins lead in goals per game with 3.05. This is highlighted by Jake Geuntzal’s nine playoff tallies. Evgeni Malkin is the playoffs leading scorer by points with 24.  Back him up with ESPN ranked number one player in this series Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel and there is no shortage of threats to light the lamp.

Nashville will look to Filip Forsberg to score with his team best eight goals and 15 points during the playoffs.

Though it may be close in goaltending it isn’t close in experience. The Penguins boast 156 games of Stanley Cup Experience, with 19 goals scored and 24 winners of the Stanley Cup. The Predators have no Stanley Cup winners, 2 goals scored and a mere five games played in the cup. Note that doesn’t include the injured Chris Letang for Pittsburgh.

 

This is the third time the Penguins have played in back to bac finals. The first in 1991 and 1992 in which they won both. Then in 2008 and 2009 they split two finals with Detroit, but won the second of the two.  On top of that the Penguins have been the dominant team in the playoffs the past 10 years ranking first or second in Stanley Cup finals appreances, wins and playoff wins.  Throw in the home ice advantage of gold standard mark 481 consecutive sell outs and Nashville is in for a brutal fight.

Nashville will take at least one game, maybe two. You don’t sweep a Chicago team, built very much like Pittsburgh in terms of star power, and not feel confident. I wouldn’t say it was luck as Nashville followed it up by beating St. Louis and Anaheim too, both times presumably as the underdog.

This could be a cause where if Pittsburgh underestimates them and comes out flat it could be in for a surprise. Much like the series against Ottawa that should on paper have been domination. Pittsburgh’s star power and experience has the ability to win this in quick fashion. They just need to play like it.

Bold prediction is Pens in 5. Realistic is Pens in 6. Though I would venture to say a game seven would be incredibly interesting and would be anyone’s to take.  This series is the rubber match from the regular season with so much more on the line. Looking for both teams to come out hungry and have this be an intense final. One that should end with Crosby hoisting his third cup and adding to his legacy.

Not even this viral video with catchy tune will stop Pittsburgh.