COLE’S NOTES: Round 2 Too Soon
Ok that's not why I have been away but it is a lot less personal then the actual reason.
Let's start with the great Canadian game of hockey. My first round picks were AWFUL! Plain and simple but it's why they play the game.
I'm not saying I should be right with all of my picks but the analysis was not off. Tampa Bay should not be able to win when a Top Three forward in the league is taken out of their line-up. No one should be able to knock off a team that features the likes of Toews, Kane, Hossa and Keith in the first round. Johnathon Quick should not be outplayed by Martin Jones.
But it all happened. And here we are in the second round.
I know I am a little late to the party but none of my predictions have changed since before the games got started.
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
It's the matchup we have all been waiting for... Ovechkin vs. Crosby! The "two best players in the league" up against each other once again. I use the quotations because Crosby hasn't played his best year and Ovechkin has yet to really prove he can lead his team deep in the playoffs.
Nonetheless, this will be the best series of the second round. Washington will win in seven and it will be because Brandon Holtby stands on his head. Pittsburgh did a lot for themselves in the off season in making themselves a deeper team but Washington already has that depth and the best goalie in the league this year.
New York Islanders vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
If you asked me to predict the first two outcomes of this series, which OLG did, I would have been right in saying that NYI would carry their momentum from beating the Panthers and win Game 1 and then Tampa would smarten up and not lose two at home to start this series.
John Tavares has been leading his team well so far and should be the front runner for the Conn Smythe. JT plus backup turned starting goalie Greiss will be the reason the Islanders outlast the Lightning in six games. Bishop isn't playing his best hockey right now and they sure could use a superstar. Unfortunately Stamkos is still not healthy enough.
St. Louis Blues vs. Dallas Stars
I like the Blues line-up way better than the Stars but it’s hard to not pick the #1 team in the conference. But not hard enough.
The Blues have a complete roster, a Hall of Fame coach in Ken Hitchcock and they have the confidence of having beaten the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Each game will be close but St. Louis will take the series in six.
Nashville Predators vs. San Jose Sharks
It wouldn't have mattered who the Sharks would have played because after the way they manhandled the Kings I have them going to the Conference Finals.
Nashville should be very proud of the franchise for making it to the second round but what they will realize after losing in five games is that they still aren't deep enough and talented enough on the offensive side of the game to bring Lord Stanley's Cup to Smashville.
I always like seeing the Sharks succeed because that core has been together for so long that it just seems like they deserve some good fate for no other reason than loyalty.
More ROUND 2 talk coming at you soon. But next time we will talk NBA
P.S. I'd like to congratulate the Toronto Maple Leafs! Your hard work at being awful finally paid off. You won the Auston Matthews lottery! In true Blue and White fashion the parade is once again being planned.
Does this draft help the Leafs? Yes. Does it have them winning a CUP soon? Not with those defensemen and goalies. But they have the management side in place and no longer have to deal with Phaneuf's contract. Should be an interesting off season.
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