TCL Flyers 1st Round Picks; Plus An Outsider's Perpective of the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Another regular season is in the books and it's time for your Flyers to prepare the road to the Stanl... oh, sorry. I used the wrong lede. Let me just dust off this lede from a 2007 Stanley Cup Playoff preview...
The Philadelphia Flyers find themselves in unfamiliar waters currently: outsiders looking in on the
2007 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The retirement of Keith Primeau and Eric Desjardins Ian Laperriere and Chris Pronger came back to haunt the Flyers as they miss the playoffs for the first second time since the 1993-94 season.
Okay, all kidding aside (and a failed attempt at being as funny as Down Goes Brown), this was a nightmare season for the Flyers and their fans. They saw former goalie Sergei Bobrovsky turn into a Vezina candidate (he missed the playoffs too), future star winger James van Riemsdyk help lead the Maple Leafs to their first playoff berth in a decade (though Luke Schenn had a great season), and had more stories about sleeping goalies and media complaints (at least four) than actual winning streaks (two).
The Flyers finished 23-22-3, on a four-game winning streak and winners of six of their last seven games. At the 48-game mark in a regular season, it would look like they are getting hot at the right time to get back into the playoff picture with 34 games to go. But that wasn't the case in a shortened season and the Flyers fell short of being in the big dance.
Injuries, no back-up goaltending and an inconsistent offense did this team in. Clearly those are all viable excuses because no one else went through something like that... Wait, Ottawa made the playoffs? Well shoot.
Anyway, with our writers and fanbase in an unfamiliar position, here is an outsider's-looking-in look at this off season. For those who aren't boycotting post season hockey alltogether while coddling their Claude Giroux bleacher creature and sobbing uncontrollably for two months, here are the 16 teams in the playoffs, why you should root for them and the picks from the TCL Flyers staff.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals
No. 8 New York Islanders vs No. 1 Pittsburgh Penguins
Why New York?: The Islanders, though being Atlantic Division foes, are a young and upcoming team with a lot of exciting players like Jonathan Tavares, Michael Grabner, and Kyle Okposo. And look who they're going up against. Haven't the Penguins won enough?
Why Pittsburgh?: .... Seriously got nothing here. Moving along then...
Predictions: John (Pens in 5), Alicia (Pens in 5), Mark (Pens in 5), Jordan (Pens in 5), Chris (Pens in 5)
No. 7 Ottawa Senators vs No. 2 Montreal Canadiens
Why Ottawa?: This team has gone through a lot of adversity this season. No Jason Spezza. No Erik Karlsson and Craig Anderson for an extended period of time. Yet they still made the post season despite the injuries, a feat deemed impossible by the Flyers front office.
Why Canadiens?: Montreal has finally figured things out. They have a great goalie in Carey Price, some excellent young talent which include rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk (two of Jordan Kuhns' favorite Habs!), and a fervent fanbase that has waited patiently for two decades to have a championship parade without Patrick Roy in net.
Predictions: John (Sens in 6), Alicia (Habs in 6), Mark (Habs in 6), Jordan (Habs in 6), Chris (Habs in 7)
No. 6 New York Rangers vs No. 3 Washington Capitals
Why New York?: Just look into the eyes of Henrik Lundqvist and tell me you still don't want him to raise the Cup. Do it, I dare you!
Why Washington?: They are arguably the hottest team heading into the post season in the Eastern Conference. Alex Ovechkin just won the Maurice Richard Trophy and is poised to lead the Caps to their first Cup Finals in 15 years. Also, crow is delicious.
Predictions: John (Rangers in 7), Alicia (Caps in 6), Mark (Caps in 7), Jordan (Caps in 6), Chris (Caps in 7)
No. 5 Toronto Maple Leafs vs No. 4 Boston Bruins
Why Toronto?: Former Flyers James van Riemsdyk and Joffrey Lupul can be this year's Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.
Why Boston?: Seriously, was I the only one laughing hysterically when Zdeno Chara hoisted the Cup two years ago, prompting Lord Stanley's challace to suffer from a nose bleed?
Predictions: John (Bruins in 5), Alicia (Bruins in 6), Mark (Bruins in 6), Jordan (Leafs in 7), Chris (Bruins in 6)
Western Conference Quarterfinals
No. 8 Minnesota Wild vs No. 1 Chicago Blackhawks
Why Minnesota?: The Wild spent a lot of money on forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Sutter. This would really help prove the point to those delirious that money wins championships.
Why Chicago?: When Ray Emery hoists the Cup it will prompt Flyers fans to say, "We should have held onto him too!"
Predictions: John (Hawks in 4), Alicia (Hawks in 5), Mark (Hawks in 5), Jordan (Hawks in 5), Chris (Hawks in 5)
No. 7 Detroit Red Wings vs No. 2 Anaheim Ducks
Why Detroit?: The Wings had a difficult time managing this season without retired and future Hall of Fame defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom. Let's all pity the Red Wings.
Why Anaheim?: I hope the Ducks sweep and embarrass the Wings and Pavel Datsyuk gets inj.... Hey, Ron Hextall, get away from my computer!
Predictions: John (Ducks in 5), Alicia (Ducks in 7), Mark (Ducks in 6), Jordan (Ducks in 6), Chris (Wings in 7)
No. 6 San Jose Sharks vs No. 3 Vancouver Canucks
Why San Jose?: At least this time Sharks fans don't have high expectations for their team, only to have them dashed away in the first round. Kind of ironic facing the Canucks, isn't it?
Why Vancouver?: If it's Roberto Luongo leading the Nucks to the finals, it will cause an uproar around the hockey world that he could get the job done. And some goalies just wanna watch the hockey world burn.
Predictions: John (Canucks in 6), Alicia (Canucks in 4), Mark (Canucks in 7), Jordan (Sharks in 6), Chris (Sharks in 6)
No. 5 Los Angeles Kings vs No. 4 St. Louis Blues
Why Los Angeles?: It's been a long time since someone repeated as Stanley Cup champions. Then again, I don't think I want to go another offseason of Richards and Carter complaints from Philly's "favorite" blogger.
Why St. Louis?: Because it will be a pleasant surprise to casual fans when they see St. Louis in the playoffs a second straight season.
Predictions: John (Kings in 5), Alicia (Blues in 7), Mark (Kings in 7), Jordan (Blues in 7), Chris (Kings in 6)