Conference Finals Start Today – Pens vs. Bruins, Hawks vs. Kings

Next round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are set to start today with the number one and number five teams from each conference squaring off for a trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

Our Hockey Playoffs Pool gets back in the action too, after a two-day layoff. Kartin has a huge 23 points lead thanks to going perfect through not only the opening round but now round two as well. That is damn impressive.

However, with 15 points earned for each of the Conference Finals series, and 20 points up for grabs for picking the Stanley Cup Final winner, it isn’t carved in stone he’s going to win this thing. We have some entries backing Chicago to hoist the Cup, and one Kings and one Bruins entry within striking distance of the top three.

In the East, Pittsburgh Penguins host the Boston Bruins. Where I live in central Ontario, and in close proximity to southern Ontario, some less than scientific polling found on one side people are pulling for the Bruins because it shows well for the Toronto Maple Leafs that the team that barely edged them out made it all the way to the finals. On the flip side, some people are just pulling for the dastardly Bruins to finally get the boot out of the playoffs. I’m in the latter camp by a wide margin. This will be a tough series though, so Penguins in 7 is my pick.

Over in the West, Chicago Blackhawks host the Los Angeles Kings. Did you realize the last four Stanley Cup winners are the last four teams standing in this tournament? And of course you know the Kings are the reigning champs, and with good reason. Jonathan Quick is nothing short of amazing. The Blackhawks fought back hard to get past the Detroit Red Wings after more or less cruising through Round 1 (although Minnesota Wild did give them a run for their money on a game-to-game basis).

I picked the other series to go seven games and yet, I find this one a much tougher one to call. Lets go with Chicago, in 7. If the Kings had home ice one would almost have to take them and their perfect record in L.A., but Jonathan Toews seemed to light a spark in that Detroit series and they’ve got more scoring power overall.

As predictable as it sounds, lets see the two #1 regular season teams in the finals. Should be some great hockey – no matter what Damien Cox says – leading up to that.

Maple Leafs Roller Coaster Ride Over, Stanley Cup Playoffs Carry On

Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs wrapped up last night. The Toronto Maple Leafs had our expectations on an extreme roller coaster ride from being down three games to one to the Boston Bruins, and up, up, up the expectations went winning the next two, taking a 4-1 lead in Game 7, before it all came crashing down. A solid season and series by all accounts for the Buds, but still a bitter pill to swallow at the end.

Over in the other Game 7, between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, it was anything but a dramatic finish. The Rangers steamrolled the Caps 5-0 for the win to advance after being down most of the series.

Our Hockey Playoffs Pool is updated, and congrats to Kartin who holds down first place after going eight-for-eight picking the Round 1 series winners. knuckle_pucks is the lone other entry that went perfect in Round 1, and sits in second place, while markymark2281 is in third place.

There are still a lot of people who can make a run at this thing given we have a lot of different combinations of final four teams within striking distance of the top three spots in the pool. Although there are not many Ottawa Senators picks, so personally, Go Ottawa! I’ll definitely be pulling for the upset over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And I don’t have to wait long to see how that series might shape up. Wasting no time at all, the NHL kicks off Round 2 tonight with two games: Ottawa at Pittsburgh, and San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings. Detroit Red Wings play at Chicago Blackhawks Wednesday to start their series, while the must be tired Rangers and Bruins being Thursday in Boston.

Good luck to all of you still in the running in the pool, and enjoy the rest of the playoffs!

Hockey Playoffs Pool Coming Soon

Oi! I fell deathly ill yesterday. That is the first time in a long time I can remember taking a full sick day where I didn’t touch a bit of work. I was in no condition. Thankfully, I’m feeling much better today, even if my energy is not at its peak.

The Hockey Playoffs Pool! That is what we are eagerly waiting for. I’m a day behind plan but very close to releasing the pool for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The playoffs are scheduled to start next Tuesday, April 30th (tax deadline day!).

The last regular season game is Sunday, Ottawa Senators vs. Boston Bruins, which doesn’t give much time from the end of the regular season to the start of the playoffs, but once the pool is up you can enter whenever you like, and come back and edit your picks all the way up to the pool deadline.

Plus, the deadline will very likely be extended to Thursday, May 2nd, after each series is one game old. I need to see the full schedule to make a final determination, but go on that assumption. We’ve done it the last two years and it worked well… except for the fact I can’t help but overreact to the result of the first game!

I just updated my “if the playoffs started today” post from last week. Detroit Red Wings are in as of now, overtaking Columbus Blue Jackets, and I’m sure the Chicago Blackhawks would prefer it the other way around. No changes in the Eastern Conference since my last update.

Okay, Hockey Playoffs Pool will be up soon, perhaps later today. An email newsletter will go out to people who played last year.