The Silver Bullet

An opinion in popular sports

and just in time for the postseason

After a seven month hiatus from the Bullet, It is time again for some Hockey World banter and analysis. In this playoff preview, we’ll break down the Sharks chances against the Calgary Flames and make predictions on the rest of the Conference Quarterfinal series’

A Personal Update as to my hiatus: not that anyone reads this. I have graduated from San Jose State University and am working as a news anchor on 1590-KLIV AM in San Jose. I also work as a Photog/Reporter/Writer for Cal-Hi Sports Bay Area. Adjusting to this transition over the past weeks has definitely hindered my ability to write in here.

But I’m Back! And it’s Time for the Annual Silver Bullet Wouldn’t Bet on it Western Conference Quarterfinal picks.

Let’s Start in the Eastern Conference and work our way to the good stuff.

Eastern Conference

Let’s face it. I don’t know nearly as much about the Eastern Conference as I should, but here are my thoughts as we head into the first round:

#1 Montreal vs. #8 Boston:   Well, Joe’s old team is back in the postseason, but they’ve got a tall order. The Montreal Canadiens are playing like the days of old and have a tough young group that’s ready to rumble. Only problem for the Bruins is, they haven’t beat Montreal all season (0-8), and it doesn’t look like they will have anything to compete with the Habs young studs. Prediction: Boston will continue to “fly under the radar”, to a 4-1 series loss. Canadiens in 5.

#2 Pittsburgh vs. #7 Ottawa: Oh, how the might have fallen. It seems as if the Ottawa Senators have been a fixture atop the Eastern Conference in recent years, but now the likes of Sid the Kid, and Mr. Malkin have taken that step. The Penguins have been slowly maturing since Crosby’s entrance into the league and its hard not to believe. The Pens have it all going for them and should blow through a Ottawa team that is banged up and not expected to make a run this year. Prediction: Pittsburgh in a sweep.

#3 Washington vs. #6 Philadelphia: This may be the most interesting matchup in the East. You’ve got the possible league MVP in Ovechkin and a balanced re-tooled Philly lineup with a nice blend of veterans and youngsters. Both teams will hit this series in stride, coming off decent finishes to the regular season. This one will go the distance as both teams are quick and rough, and will beat each other up through seven games. Ovechkin has a little too much on his shoulders, though.  Prediction: Philly in Seven.

#4 New Jersey vs. #5 New York Rangers:  While the shut-down mode of hockey has faded in the memory of a cancelled season and lockout, so too were the hopes of the gritty Devils. For some reason, though, they stick around. The Rangers, however, look like the much better team having been formulated for a gritty playoff run and Devils team that just isn’t what it used to be. While the Rangers aren’t that good on the road, and they lost home ice advantage two days ago… they are the better team. Win one for Jagr… better yet win four. Prediction: Rangers in Six.

Western Conference

#1 Detroit vs. #8 Nashville:  It’s just a shame these two division rivals will face each other in the postseason. Though, it was hardly a possibility at the beginning of the season. Somehow, those pesky Nashville Predators always get in. It will be a nice moment for a team that was for sale in the offseason and had potential moving vans lined up. How can you not acknowledged the best scoring team with the best special teams in the league. It’s not hard to see the Red Wings are far superior here. Cheers to the Preds for pulling it together. Prediction: Red Wings in Five.

#3 Minnesota vs. #6 Colorado: The Avs have a nice blend of youth and vets here, with a couple of dinosaurs but seem like they could put something together in the right conditions. Luckily for them, they drew the six-slot which matches them up with a division foe in The Wild. Though, Gaborik on his stuff, and the rest of the team’s balanced scoring may be enough to defeat Colorado. This one is pretty close. Prediction: Feels like old times Colorado wins in Seven.

#4 Anaheim vs. #5 Dallas: This will be the bets series of the First Round. Mark My Words! The Ducks are obviously a threat coming off their postseason success last year. With Teemu and Neidermeyer returning Clemens-like to the lineup,  this group should be feared. The Stars behind Long Time (North)star Mike Madano and Pain-in-the ass Marty Turco, may give the quackers a hard time. This Stars time stumbled down the stretch and it won’t surprise me if they stumble in this postseason. I say they take an early series lead, but crumble to the Ducks late. Prediction: Ducks in Six.

 And now the biggie…

#2 San Jose vs. #7 Calgary: I’m going to be totally honest here, and let my pessimism ring through. I wish we hadn’t drawn the flames. Were we not the two seed when we lost the last time? Were we not favored by many to win the Stanley Cup? The San Jose Sharks have been the best team in hockey these past months, and I can attribute it to anything in particular. It seems this is a trend with the Sharks and their potential late season successes. Last year they put together a similar streak and finished with 107 points and a four seed. So What’s the difference this year? We don’t get the Nashville Predators who we seemingly have a number for in the postseason. No we get the San Jose Sharks.

Wait! What? Huh. No we get the San Jose Sharks from the early 2000s. Nolan, Primeau, Smith, Sutter, Kipper. Jesus, its good old fanshioned San Jose Family Reunion. But not as much as the media might make it appear. Only 5 current Sharks were around when these guys were in Teal and the team says it doesn’t matter to them. Yet, this was a card I would have preferred not to draw. There’s something about those flames(3-1 against the Sharks this season). There’s something about this series that makes me uneasy. While writers everywhere are picking the Sharks to put away the flamed relatively quickly I see it differently. The Flames are going to make something of this. Jerome Iginla will come alive. Kipper will stand tall. The Saddledome will rage once again.

The Sharks just might be too good, though. Prediction: The Sharks may have to scramble to save this series but they will move on. Sharks in Seven.

I will try to keep myself involved as the Sharks run through the postseason, and as the Warriors struggle to stay afloat.

-DAN.

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April 9, 2008 - Posted by | danharris, Hockey, NHL, San Jose Sharks, Sharks, Sports, thesilverbullet

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