Final Four winnings have been paid out and erasers are being put to brackets – at least in those pond hockey towns throughout North America. “Next year” has finally arrived and Wings fans are hoping that the Cup will make its way back to Detroit for the fourth time since 2000. That is, of course, if you count visits from Bill Davidson’s Lightning (2004) and Peter Karmanos’ Hurricanes (2006). While fans in Detroit are waiting for the Tigers to actually “play” a game and for the Pistons to start somebody other than Amir Johnson, the Winged Wheelers are the latest city representatives to carry the Motown banner.
Here are my predictions from the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs…
(1) Montreal v. (8) Boston – In a year when the Celtics are the top team in the NBA, it is only fitting that the Canadiens are back to supremacy in the East. This should not be a cakewalk for them, but they have enough firepower to avoid any questions in net. Montreal in 6
(2) Pittsburgh v. (7) Ottawa – The young Pens are the real deal facing last year’s Cup runner-up. “The Igloo” should see a lot of games this spring. Pittsburgh in 5
(3) Washington v. (6) Philadelphia – The Capitals have been part to one of the most bizarre scenarios in sports, they played the last week needing to win the division or miss the playoffs. Their luck will continue in this series. Washington in 7
(4) New Jersey v. (5) New York Rangers – This series is a dream for Bettman and Co. Expect an all-out war as the series will go the distance. Normally I would take goaltending in this case, but I think the clock will strike 12 on Brodeur. Rangers in 7
(1) Detroit v. (8) Nashville – The Wings could not have been handed a tamer opponent in the Preds. They are also not going to be travelling on 5/6 hour flights which is a huge plus. Expect an initial feeling out process before the Wings go on auto-pilot. Detroit in 5
(2) San Jose v. (7) Calgary – The Sharks have been the media darling following the trade for Campbell. I think this team is more than capable of winning it all but may fall into a struggle with Kiprusoff. San Jose in 6
(3) Minnesota v. (6) Colorado – Much like DET-NAS and NJ-NYR, these teams know each other well. Look for really high scoring games and a Wild win. Minnesota in 7
(4) Anaheim v. (5) Dallas – A majority of Detroiters love Marty Turco from his UMich days. A majority of Detroiters also hate everything that the Ducks stand for. Get ready for Ducks-Wings the Sequel! Anaheim in 4
If these predictions fall into place its Montreal-NY Rangers; Pittsburgh-Washington and Detroit-Anaheim; San Jose-Minnesota. Enjoy the games!