Before we get going today, it's time for another edition of international roll. Here's a big welcome to the old blog to (in no particular order): Cyprus, Bulgaria, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
The Cubs did win yesterday, but that came after the bullpen blew the first two games. I didn't have a good feeling about how this year is going to go. But, I'm sure most Cubs fans are kind of used to that.
In better news, the Blackhawks will kick off the playoffs on Thursday against the Coyotes. I think the Blackhawks can win that series, which was that advantage of being a six as opposed to a five. I totally understand the reason why the NHL guarantees a top three seed for the division winners, and I would probably make the same decision if I were in their shoes. But, after a few years of seeing that it usually gives a weak division a position they don't deserve, I probably wouldn't continue with that model. Divisions in hockey and basketball seem pretty meaningless to me, so I would just go away from them entirely at this point.
Anyway, here is my big NHL Playoff Preview now that the seeding is set.
Before the season started, the Kings were a trendy pick to go deep into the playoffs. Then the season started, and they turned out to be pretty terrible. Their play has picked up as of late (obviously), but as good as Jonathan Quick is, I think the Canucks will prove to be far too much for the Kings to handle. Vancouver in 5.
The Sharks, on the other hand, well, you could pretty much carbon copy what I wrote for the Kings. Trendy pick, collapsed early, spent the rest of the season fighting back to relevance, and snuck into the playoffs. Again, I think the Blues will be way too much for the Sharks to handle. St. Louis in 5.
But, all this is nice news for the Blackhawks. They won't have home ice, but I think they have superior talent to get out of the first round. Especially since Toews seems to think he'll be back for this series. He should be a pretty huge stabilizing factor if he is anything like this usual self. I'll take Chicago in 6.
You might remember the Red Wings set a record for their home winning streak this year. They are a very good team. The Predators, while they didn't set any records, are also a very good team, and did finish a point better than Detroit.
I really don't know who to pick here, but I'll take the fearful Chicago Blackhawk fan and pick the Red Wings in 7.
The Rangers are also a bit of a surprise. Not that they are in the playoffs or anything, but I don't think anybody thought they would challenge for the Presidents' Trophy this year. This might be a tougher series than you would expect out of a 1-8 match up, but I think the Rangers will end the Senators' surprise. Rangers in 6.
So there we go, the first round all picked and everything. I was going to do all the rounds, but this took a little while to write, so maybe I'll do the later rounds (based on how I picked this round) tomorrow. And since I worked in the Cubs and Blackhawks, let me also throw out that the (still) third place Pacers are in action tonight against the Raptors. A game they should be able to handle. I think they would have handled Boston if not for a big emotional win over the Thunder the day before. Ten games to go for the Pacers, so that preview will be coming soon.